Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 4 News List

EPA collecting books for students in Indonesia

TSUNAMI Officials urged the public to donate unused books to help fill a library in Banda Aceh

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Employees of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) have collected more than 300 used books that will be donated to students in Medan, Indonesia, after the devastating tsunami last December.

EPA officials yesterday called on the public to donate more books, saying that national cleanup day next week offers an ideal opportunity to put unwanted books to good use.

In Taiwan, the first Saturday of every month has been designated "national cleanup day." The EPA has urged people around the nation to use the day to clean up the environment in their communities and destroy possible breeding sites for mosquitoes, but this month officials have changed their focus.

"If people just get rid of unwanted books anyway, why don't we send the books to places where people nee them?" said Yuan Shaw-ying (袁紹英), the deputy director-general of the Bureau of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Chemical Control.

Early last month, Yuan led a team to the tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh province to assist with disinfection operations. While visiting a group of 150 students temporarily being sheltered at Perguruam Budhis Bodhicitta, a school run by Chinese Buddhists in Medan for children and teenagers, Yuan became aware of the scarcity of resources for students.

About 75 percent of the 1,500 students at the school are from families of Chinese origin. Once banned in Indonesia, the Chinese language is now gradually being revived in certain communities.

After returning to Taiwan, Yuan called on EPA employees to donate books for the students. The books will be used to create a library at the school in Medan.

EPA officials said yesterday that donors should send books directly to Tdafine Association (梵音公益協會) at No. 179, Peita Road, Hsinchu City.

"We will accept all kinds of good books, not only for students, but also for adults in tsunami-affected areas. We also welcome donations of stationery," said Huang Shing-chuan (黃幸娟), who is in charge of transfering books to the school.

Huang said that the books have to be sent to Indonesia via a third country, as customs regulations in Indonesia remain unfriendly to Chinese-language books, Huang said.

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