Fri, Nov 21, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Garden of Hope helps battered women to dream

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eighteen-year-old Shao-yu (小佑) used to be locked up at home with an ankle chain. Her father is a junkie who would bring a different woman home every day and beat Shao-yu. Her mother remarried long ago, but her father told her that her mother was dead.

Shao-yu made friends with dropouts and outcasts and she had been labeled as a problematic student.

Then, when a teacher discovered what was happening and informed social-welfare authorities, she was taken away from her father and sent to the Garden of Hope Foundation.

"At the foundation I finally found a home," Shao-yu said.

She said that the foundation made her feel secure and provides a stable environment, which has enabled her to take charge of her life.

She is studying at a vocational school and is planning to work part-time during the winter and summer breaks.

Shao-yu is only one of the young people who have been helped by the foundation, which was established in 1988 and focuses on helping girls and women affected by domestic violence.

The foundation offers in-depth services such as shelters, psychological therapy, temporary custody and a variety of related social services.

This year alone the foundation has worked with over 2,000 new cases nationwide. Last year about 1,900 people benefited from its help.

But, due to its heavy workload, the foundation is facing a shortage of funds.

"With the economic recession and SARS outbreak, we have suffered from cuts in donations," said Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容), the foundation's director.

Chi said that as of the end of last month, the foundation was NT$9 million in the red.

Chi said that it requires comprehensive efforts for the foundation to help abused women and teenage girls to realize their dreams, and a lack of funds would hamper these efforts.

For more information about the Garden of Hope Foundation, visit http://www.goh.org.tw (English version available).

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