The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Myanmar service organization speaks at TAS


Images of a water pipe flash on the screen in the Lecture Hall. In the background, thatched houses line a wide, muddy river. “Isn’t it good to live in a place with running water?” says Pastor Alex Yang in Mandarin, to the chuckles of the audience.
During flex today, the Myanmar Service and Culture Club hosted a presentation by the founders of the organization they work with. They spoke about the work of their organization, called the Good Christian Holistic Care Foundation International, which provides food, education, medical care, and work opportunities to the village of Wakema. A husband-and-wife pair of pastors, they began to do charity work in Myanmar in 2008 after they were sent there by their previous organization in response to a tsunami. The tsunami devastated the village of Wakema, where the buildings stand on stilts, and children row small boats to travel to school.
After years of service in the country, the pair founded their own organization in 2016 specifically dedicated to charity work in Myanmar. “Unlike international organizations, which come in to help when there is a disaster and then leave, we are there permanently,” says Pastor Yang. The most important thing is not just to build wells or feed children, but to teach them values that give them hope in their lives, so they know they can overcome the difficulties they encounter.”
“So many, so many,” Pastor Huang says, shaking her head, when I ask her about when she first began her work in Myanmar. “Life in Taiwan is too comfortable. Our bodies were not used to it.” Not only were they covered with mosquito bites, but they also faced a language and cultural barrier. “It’s hard to learn a language fluently when you’re old. Even though we can’t fully express what’s in our hearts, when language fails we can use our actions to express our love.”
The children she helps also express their gratitude through small acts of kindness. “So many, so many,” Pastor Huang says. She remembers how when a family was able to obtain some bananas, a five-year-old child asked his mother to gift one to her. “Every time a father catches fish, the family will gift us one fish. It is like we are part of the family,” she says.
The foundation plans to build twelve more student centers within a decade, in addition to the two it is building now. Each center allows 30-50 children to receive adequate food and education. “Our hope is that clubs like the one in TAS, will become more common, so that people will continue to help even after we retire,” says Pastor Yang.
Club president Aidan Chen (‘19) concurs. “I hope this speaker event will allow people to learn more about the harsh living conditions in Myanmar and what our club does,” he says. “And we hope that after people learn about these things, they will support our club or other organizations that help ultimately lift the people of Myanmar out of poverty.”
The Myanmar Service and Culture Club presentation recording is available here.

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