The head of the district government of the Indonesian island of Nias has expressed his gratitude for Taiwan's decision to sponsor 3,000 children in Nias, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in March after being hit by tsunamis last December.
The Bupati of Nias expressed his heartfelt thanks to Taiwan while meeting with a delegation of aid workers headed by Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), a former Government Information Office chief who now leads a "10,000 Hopes" project to help 10,000 children orphaned in the tsunami disaster caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26 last year.
Lin said the "10,000 Hopes" commission will cooperate with World Vision International, a Christian relief organization, to assist victims on Nias.
Under the World Vision arrangement, Lin's mission inspected disaster zones on Nias' east and west coasts and in mountainous regions on Sunday and Monday to get first-hand information about the devastation and the needs of children and their families.
Lin said the "10,000 Hopes" commission will earmark NT$108 million (US$3.43 million) over the next three years to help 3,000 children on Nias to complete basic school education. The fund will also be used to build 20 schools and finance vocational training programs for the schoolchildren's parents to improve their living conditions.
Lin said the first installment of the financial aid will be remitted to World Vision's Nias chapter after his return to Taiwan in line with an agreement with the charitable organization. According to World Vision officials, 80 percent of the funding for relief projects on Nias has come from Taiwan.
Taiwan has spent or committed to spend a total of US$87.8 million on relief aid for countries affected by the tsunami disaster of last December.