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Diageo marks decade of assisting local dreamers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Diageo (帝亞吉歐), the world's largest producer of spirits, yesterday celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Keep Walking Fund, an initiative that has over the past decade assisted the pursuit of countless dreamers in Taiwan.

Since 2003, the Keep Walking Fund has captured compelling stories of ordinary Taiwanese people as they strive in achieving extraordinary feats and dreams. The initiative has allocated more than NT$100 million in startup funds for 106 winning applicants selected from 6,000 fulfillment proposals. Notable participants selected for sponsorship in the past include Tommy Chen (陳彥博), the first Taiwanese extreme ultramarathon contestant that has run in grueling races across seven continents in five years, and Chi Po-lin (齊柏林), who directed last year's acclaimed "Beyond Beauty — Taiwan From Above" (看見台灣).

Honored guests at the event included Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who lauded the initiative during his address as a rare opportunity to highlight positive pursuits in Taiwan amid the myriad of pressing issues, while commending Diagio's commitment to social responsibility. “The winners this year are recognized for their significant contributions to art, humanities, agriculture and social care; their contributions inspire the society of Taiwan,” said Wang.

The Keep Walking Fund this year selected 13 winners from all corners of society whose dreams and pursuits range from providing food and necessities for underprivileged elderly people, developing a navigation app for the blind and traveling performance exhibitions to spread the joy of puppetry and science education to children residing in rural regions and patients at hospices, in addition to other organized efforts designed to benefit the disabled and foster preservation of aboriginal culture. Endeavors of other winners this year also include individuals striving toward promoting environmental conservation, addressing the plight of Taiwan's stray cats and dogs, providing medical care and educational resources for students of the remote Sichuan-Tibet area, a group of taxi drivers hoping greet foreign tourists with an elevated service standard, and a documentary project highlighting a Vietnamese woman's dedication to Taiwanese operas.

Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗), an Academia Sinica Academician who has served on the judge panel since the first Keep Walking Fund, stated that he is especially encouraged by the growing participation by the younger generation.

The event yesterday also unveiled a book published in collaboration with GlobalView Magazine (遠見). Titled "Flipped Life of Dream Fulfillment" (翻轉人生的築夢者), the book provides a detailed account of the decadelong journeys of 21 selected Keep Walking Fund winners since 2003 in painstakingly transforming their dreams into reality.

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Thirteen winners of the 10th Keep Walking Fund pose for a photo with the program's panel of judges during an awards ceremony in Taipei, yesterday. Organized by Diageo Taiwan, the Keep Walking Fund has allocated more than NT$100 million in startup funds in the past decade for 106 candidates who strive toward inspiring endeavors. (CNA)

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