TAIPEI, Taiwan – A group of students and members of a Nigerian organization, on Saturday – Christmas Eve – brought Christmas cheer to children affected by HIV/AIDS here.
The students presented 120 gifts to 36 children, in addition to donating NT$60,000 while the Nigerian contingent donated a further NT$10,000 to the residents and management of Harmony Home.
The students were mainly from Ming Chuan University International College’s (MCU) International Volunteers Group (IVG), which recently conducted a Call to Action on HIV/AIDS campaign at the university.
During the visit, the children were entertained with performances from the Nigerian group, in addition to staging their own performances for their guests and benefactors.
St. Lucian student Vina Frederick, coordinator of the Call to Action Campaign, said that the gifts were from students of MCU and other universities here, who participated in the “Give a gift, share some love” campaign that was intended to bring the spirit of Christmas to the children.
“Even though we are foreign students in Taiwan, we have a social responsibility to give back to the society. Some of us are scholarship students; Taiwan has given so much to us. It is only right that we give back to a society that has given so much to us,” Frederick said.
The IVG donated a check for NT$50,000 and NT$10,000 in red envelopes. The monies were raised during the Call to Action Campaign and also included donation from students, embassies and the African Taiwan Economic Forum, and monies from the sale of campaign paraphernalia.
J. Chidozie Okoye, president of the Nigerian Community in Taiwan, said that his association’s relationship with Harmony Home began when the Home cared for a Nigerian national who was stricken with tuberculosis last year.
His association, Okeye said, makes intermittent donation to the Home, and yesterday donated NT$10,000 in cash, in addition to staging a performance of traditional Nigerian music and dances.
“The principles of Harmony Home are the same as the goal of our community,” said Okeye, who lauded the foundation’s “humanitarian activities”.
Meanwhile, Nicole yang, secretary general and founder of Harmony Home, said it was “very warm and very nice” to be visited by the contingent.
She said that while the Home will hold three Christmas events this year – including one on Dec. 17 and on Christmas Day – the visit on Saturday was very special because of the performances by the African group.
Yang’s efforts at caring for persons infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS began 26 years ago when she cared for a friend who was so depressed after contracting the disease that he wanted to commit suicide.
Today, Harmony Home cares for 700 children orphaned or otherwise affected by the disease and a further 300 infected with it, in Taiwan and China.
It is also a hospice for foreigners during bouts of illness – mainly tuberculosis – and other expats who need a place to say during pregnancy and up to six months after delivery.
While the charity receives 5 percent of its funding from the government, the bulk of the other 95 percent comes from donations from the public, Yang said.