Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Taiwanese civic groups have sponsored 330,000 poor children, over 230,000 of whom are foreigners, indicating that every 100 Taiwanese people have been supporting a foreign child, President Ma Ying-jeou said Sunday.
"This is an achievement that we can be proud of," Ma said while attending national event in Tainan to honor volunteers and others who have made exemplary contributions to assisting needy children.
Among those cited were sponsors, some of the beneficiaries of sponsorship and model volunteers for supporting or protecting poor children.
During the occasion, Ma also met a junior high school girl who he himself has been sponsoring through financial support.
With so many people willing to commit a long-term financial support for the poor, Ma said, Taiwan stands a chance to become a love-exporting country.
He said the Republic of China should play the roles of peace maker and humanitarian aid provider, roles that do not cost much but could win "unimaginable" popularity among the country's diplomatic allies.
He called on more people to sponsor foreign children in need to strengthen Taiwan's soft power -- efforts that he said could make this country a model of contributing to the world community.
(By Yang Sze-jui and S.C. Chang)