Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Garden of Hope honors`Daughters of Taiwan'

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chen Hsin-yao (陳芯瑤) was diagnosed with eye cancer when she was just eight months old. She spent most of the next four years in hospital, during which time she began drawing to wile away the hours.

Now in her second year at senior high school, Chen has all but fully recovered, although she wears an eye patch, but she has continued drawing, submitting some of her work to drawing contests. She also draws to help cheer up children with cancer when she visits the hospital for check-ups.

"I have learned to face people's strange stares, and with the help of everyone I have gained strength. I want to continue on the road of art and to be myself," Chen said.

Her courage has now been recognized by the Garden of Hope Foundation (勵馨基金會), which yesterday presented its first Formosan Daughters Awards to encourage young Taiwanese women to break traditional gender boundaries and develop their abilities.

The award was divided into five categories: science and technology, courage, public service, athletics, and extraordinary arts, all of which were fields seldom considered as ones in which women could excel. The foundation picked 13 winners from about 70 applicants, all high-school girls.

Foundation director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said the awards were different from the usual teenager pageants that focused on the appearances of teenaged girls. Young women should instead be encouraged to develop their abilities, especially in the fields that traditionally belonged to men, Chi said.

"We want to create the `New Taiwanese Daughters,' and hope Taiwanese society will treat our daughters seriously and empower them, so the daughters can possess the qualities of knowledge, courage, confidence, vitality and responsibility," Chi said.

"From our long experience working with abused teenaged girls, we have found that most Taiwanese daughters have been educated or told to believe they are inferior to men when growing up.

"We want to encourage the young women to break loose from the traditional gender boundaries and expand their lives, so we have designed the award categories to be those usually not considered belonging to women," Chi said.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) presented the awards and commended the achievements of the young women. She encouraged Taiwanese women to take their lives in their own hands and not be defeated easily.

"The Taiwanese new daughters are the budding flowers in the spring. Taiwanese daughters, your names are glory and responsibility," Lu said.

The winner in the science and technology was Tseng Wan-lun (曾琬倫), who was the only one to enter this category.

Chen, Huang Chao-ning (黃昭寧) and Chang Hsiao-chi (張筱綺) won in the courage category.

Huang Ming-chun (黃酩淳), Huang Min-chen (黃敏媜), and Liu Yu-ching (劉育菁) won the public service award.

Lee Yi-ling (李怡玲), Huang Hsiao-shan (黃筱珊) and Lung Ching-yi (龍磬儀) won the athletics award.

Tsai Meng-ling (蔡孟凌), Chen Ming-chu (陳明珠), and Yang yu-mei (楊郁美) won in the extraordinary arts category.

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