Bra drive is chance to integrate govt, private foreign aid efforts
The China Post news staffThis week, 20,000 bras donated by locals will be sent off in the first shipment of a charity drive looking to assist Mexico, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and El Salvador, under the auspices of a charity project sponsored by the philanthropic organization Free the Girls (FTG). Local participation has been effusive, with more than 70,000 items being donated from Taiwan and even Macau, according to the United Evening News. Some people donated brand new items.
September 23, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The FTG's donation drive seeks to help underprivileged women in a down-to-earth fashion. In addition to providing recipients who may not have the money to buy undergarments with usable pieces, the charity drive enables them to further sell what they receive for money, according to FTG. “Some of the girls in our program are making 3-5x the minimum wage in their community by selling bras!” according to the FTG website.
Achieving a livelihood is an antidote to horrible alternatives such as being forced into sexual slavery, the FTG points out, as economic power is a crucial pillar in giving women the wherewithal to fend for themselves.
At this juncture, it is appropriate to look back on Taiwan's storied and laudable history of foreign assistance over the last seven decades. Taiwan catapulted itself economically to become an East Asian tiger, with a combination of endowments and critical decisions: U.S. aid, colonial infrastructure and a government strategy of import substitution. All the while, the country has committed itself to the betterment of the livelihoods of the less economically successful in other corners of the globe.
Taiwan's efforts at international assistance were established in 1959, as the first of many “agricultural missions” (農耕隊) was dispatched to assist Vietnam. Thereafter, the teams were upgraded to “agricultural technical missions” (農技團) and later to “technical missions.” (技術團)
Operation Vanguard (先鋒案), the codename for the Taiwan government's international collaboration projects, was launched in 1961. The Committee of International Technical Cooperation (CITC, 海外技術合作委員會) was established in 1972. Then the CITC was merged into the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF, 國際合作發展基金會) in 1997. The ICDF provides funding, humanitarian assistance and technical exchanges with other countries.