CTBC Charity Foundation holds all star ceremony, expands poverty alleviation
By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
May 14, 2014, 12:08 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The CTBC Charity Foundation (中國信託慈善基金會) yesterday hosted the Poverty Alleviation Program All Star ceremony in response to the expectations of program inspirer and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus.
Since its creation in September 2011, the foundation has dedicated its efforts to the support and education of various groups that are in need of a helping hand.
Inspired by the fundamental concept of microfinance pioneered by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank, a "banking for the poor" organization created by Yunus, the foundation established the Poverty Alleviation Program (信扶專案), tailored toward financially disadvantaged families in Taiwan.
Like the Grameen Bank, the program offers microloans without collateral to families in need, in order to aid them in the foundation of startup businesses. The program also grants loan applicants up to NT$500,000 for a repayment period of seven years without the need of a guarantor.
Entrepreneurial classes for loan seekers are also featured in the program, followed by guidance and aid from various CTBC group volunteers to those who are approved. The CTBC volunteers are individually equipped with specializations in their respective fields of finance.
Looking to the Future
According to foundation Vice Chairman Thomas KS Chen (陳國世), foundation Chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr. (辜仲諒) met with Yunus one month ago. During the meeting, said Chen, both parties acknowledged the existence of the problems created by poverty around the world. However, both parties also agreed that the simple provision of money does little to resolve the problems at their core, to which Yunus suggested that Kuo expand the scope of the program, utilizing the creativity of young people to aim toward a sustainable future, Chen said.
In response to the expectations of Yunus, the foundation hosted the Poverty Alleviation Program All Star ceremony in celebration of the successes the program has so far achieved, as well as to announce the expansion of the program's coverage this year.
During the annual ceremony, nine families that have since become financially independent and free of welfare support were celebrated as all stars. Thus far, the program has supported 120 individual cases, 44 of which qualified for microloans.
The updated program announced during the ceremony seeks to provide free entrepreneurial counseling courses to 200 financially disadvantaged families and a loan of NT$50 million. Student volunteers from Taipei University (國立臺北大學) will be utilized to support the families with Internet advertising, which aims to promote the startup businesses of qualified families more efficiently.