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Taiwanese students volunteer at Swaziland orphanages

2012/07/05 15:32:58

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) A group of 25 student volunteers left Thursday for Swaziland, one of Taiwan's four diplomatic allies in Africa, where they will help out at orphanages for two weeks.

The students will help erect buildings, plant vegetables and clear uncultivated land at the orphanages, said Lu Hsing-chung, the chief librarian at Chunghua Senior High School in central Taiwan.

Most of student volunteers are from low-income or single parent families and have never traveled abroad, Lu said. In order to qualify for the program, they had to pass an English proficiency test, he said.

The overseas volunteer program, now in its fifth year, offers the students an opportunity to learn valuable lessons and cannot be used to obtain credits for college applications, Lu said.

One of the students, surnamed Yang, told CNA she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the poverty situation in the African country.

The group will also deliver an aid package consisting of 5,000 packets of Master Kong instant noodles, which were donated by Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp.-- a food company based in China run by Taiwanese entrepreneurs, 500 flashlights from Chunghua-based Benz Electronic Co. and 1,200 kilograms of clothing.

Over the past five years, more than 125 students have participated in the summer charity program, which is sponsored by Acer Inc. founder Stan Shih, FSP Group Chairman Cheng Ya-jen, and Sun Chin-chuan, chairman of trading company Ballerina Co., Lu said.

The students are scheduled to return home July 18.

(By Wu Jhe-hao and Hanna Liu)