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Old school uniforms from Taiwan adored by Cambodian children

2012/06/29 14:18:00

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Members of a volunteer team from Chung Yuan Christian University in Jhongli, northern Taiwan, recounted Wednesday the joy they witnessed from a Cambodian boy who was the recipient of a recycled school uniform donated by a Taiwanese school.

Speaking at a presentation ceremony in the university's service learning center to mark the end of the school year, the students, who returned in February from 14-day volunteer teaching stints in Cambodia, said they were particularly touched by the little boy, who said the old winter school uniform was his favorite outfit and who wore it day in, day out.

Chang Yu-ting, one of the eight students who took part in the mission, organized by the university and Cambodia's Khmer Akphiwat Khmer Organization (KAKO), said the 12-year-old, who lives at a care center, could hardly bear to be parted from the long-sleeved sportswear donated by Xinggu Elementary School in New Taipei, even during the hottest of days.

"Although recycling old clothes is a simple act, it can transcend borders and help people in need in many different place," said Chang, who took part in the volunteer service for the first time.

Seeing how much the boy adored his old uniform reminded the student volunteers that everyone in the world is closely connected and that every single action can affect someone else, said Lu Ying-hui, director of the service learning center.

The volunteers said that upon their return, they also recounted the story of the boy to the Xinggu students to encourage them to get involved in charity work.

During their two-week stay in the Southeast Asian country, the volunteers also painted animals and sea creatures on the walls of libraries in several villages to help the local children learn about the world through pictures.

Resources there are so scarce that the libraries, which have few books, are sometimes no more than refurbished thatch-covered hen houses, said Tsai Cheng-han, another of the volunteers.

Hsu Ching-wen, who led the team, said they have launched charity events at the university to raise funds to help build cement walls for libraries in Cambodia so that children there can enjoy reading without worrying about the weather.

(By Wei Yun-ling and Maia Huang)