Tue, Jun 28, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lee urges Aborigine youth to help their home villages

CNA , TAIPEI

Former president Lee Teng-hui, right, shakes hands with recipients of a scholarship for outstanding Aboriginal students offered by the Lee Lien Educational Foundation yesterday.

PHOTO: FANG BIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday exhorted a group of Aboriginal students to return to their home villages after graduation to help lift the development of their communities.

Lee, one of the key donors to the Aboriginal Scholarship established by the Lee Lien Educational Foundation, conferred scholarships on students who were selected by the foundation this year. The scholarships total NT$1.02 million (US$32,903).

Addressing the ceremony held at National Taipei Teachers' College, Lee said that he wanted the Aboriginal student elite to return to their home towns after graduation to serve or teach there, taking up their historical responsibilities by playing roles as "enlighteners" in their communities.

Noting that most of the Aboriginal villages suffer not only from poor living conditions but also from a lack of confidence spiritually, Lee exhorted the students to help boost the indigenous people's psychological rehabilitation and in turn rebuild their confidence in themselves.

Development of Aboriginal society will accelerate only when living environments are noticeably improved and the people regain their confidence in themselves, Lee said.

A total of 80 students received the 2005 Aboriginal Scholarship, the third of its kind, with scholarship amounts ranging from NT$20,000 for graduate students, to NT$15,000 for college students and NT$10,000 for senior-high school and vocational-school students.

According to Huang Kun-hui (黃昆輝), chairman of the foundation, Lee donated all of the government subsidies from his campaign funds to establish the foundation in 1996 after he won the country's first popular presidential election.

With interest rates continuing to fall in recent years, Huang said, the foundation had found it increasingly difficult to maintain the same levels of scholarship funds every year.

He urged all sectors of the country to contribute to the project aimed at helping young Aboriginal people.

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