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Taiwanese volunteers leave St. Lucia with full hearts

2012/07/19 18:15:53

Taipei, July 19 (CNA) Two Taiwanese volunteers about to leaveSt. Lucia Wednesday talked about their work in environmentaleducation and public health during their two-year stay in theCaribbean country.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of their volunteerwork in August there, Tsai Te-hsin and Lin Yu-shan said they gaineda great deal from the experience, while officials from both Taiwanand St. Lucia said volunteering work tightens relations between the two countries.

The two embarked on their overseas volunteering stint as part of a project organized by the government-funded InternationalCooperation Development Fund, a Taiwan-based humanitarian aidorganization, in August 2010.

Tsai worked for St. Lucia's Forestry Department Environmental Education Unit, where her job mainly consisted of developing and promoting environmental education programs.

She focused on the renovation and reopening of the Union Trail Interpretive Center in the hope that it will provide education and promote eco-knowledge for locals and visitors alike, according to a review she posted on the organization's official website.

Tsai said she learned a lot from volunteering overseas, such as management skills, as well as additional knowledge in her chosen field.

Lin served in St. Lucia's Ministry of Health, and mostly stayed in southern rural parts of the small island nation, where she carriedout hygiene promotion in communities there.

During the experience, Lin established friendships with locals and gained opportunities to interact with different cultures, according to a presentation she gave prior to her departure.

Taiwan signed a volunteer cooperation pact with St. Lucia in 2009, making Taiwan the third nation to send long-term volunteers to the country after the United States and Japan.

Taiwan has sent nine long-term volunteers to St. Lucia since the mutual agreement took effect.

The pact is part of a series of efforts to strengthen relations between Taiwan and St. Lucia after the two sides re-established diplomatic ties in 2007.

St. Lucian Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Hubert Emmanuel expressed gratitude for the work of the Taiwanese volunteers,adding that he looks forward to future collaboration.

Taiwan's newly stationed ambassador to St. Lucia, James Chang, also said that volunteer work of the kind Taiwan provides canfurther strengthen bonds between the two countries.

(By Liu Shih-chun)