Sat, Sep 25, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chen lauds girls' charity

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

A local charity group's recent success in a regional competition for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has increased the exposure of Taiwan's NGOs on the international stage, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

The Garden of Hope, an advocacy group for abused and at-risk girls and mothers, set a tremendous example for Taiwanese NGOs after being named "NGO of the Year" at the inaugural Asia-Pacific NGO Awards in Manila on Sept.16, Chen and foundation representatives said during a press conference in Taipei.

The awards, organized by Citigroup and the British nonprofit group Resource Alliance, recognized outstanding regional philanthropic associations for quality of operations, delivery of service and transparency in administration. The Garden of Hope beat 75 other NGOs to take first place. It was the only Taiwanese NGO among the eight finalists.

"Winning this award is proof of everybody's efforts at the Garden of Hope. It means that the hard work of Taiwan's NGOs has received recognition in the international arena," Chen said.

"NGOs are a powerful instrument for change in Taiwan's society. A just society needs more cooperation between NGOs and the government to educate and guide people. Together, we can build a peaceful, healthy space where our youth can grow," he said.

The Garden of Hope said it was planning to share the US$10,000 prize money equally among five areas of concern: the work of the women's group Samaritana in the Philippines, the establishment of a Garden of Hope branch on Kinmen, the Hope Basketball Project in Nantou County, the New York branch of the Garden of Hope, and building a women's service center in Taitung.

"We hope the money can act as a base to multiply the benefits throughout the community," foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.

All organizations in the competition were singled out for their potential and worthiness, Chi said.

The foundation used yester-day's press conference to present its new logo and identify five goals for local NGOs in the coming five years.

These included increasing cooperation between NGOs to bring about social change and empowerment, increasing international exposure for local NGOs, establishing a common resource base for all organizations and promoting the ISO 9001 management system to increase the groups' efficiency.

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