Mon, Jan 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Children's charity calls for guest farm project donations

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Children Are Us Foundation yesterday announced plans to open a guest farm to provide long-term care-giving for the mentally disabled and called for contributions to help fund the project.

The foundation, established in 1995 by parents of children with mental disabilities, helps to educate mentally disabled people above the age of 16 and assist them in finding jobs, said Tina Wu (武庭芳), executive director of the foundation.

The foundation's current project is to establish a guest farm which will be open to the public and provide recreational activities, restaurants and lodging, Wu said.

The mentally disabled will undergo training at the farm before being put to work in its restaurants, lodges and gardens, she said.

The farm will also serve as a care facility for aging mentally disabled people, Wu added.

As these mentally disabled people grow older, their parents will have aged as well, and will therefore be unable to provide sufficient care for their children, Wu said.

Wu said that the farm will care for mentally disabled people who are over the age of 40.

Disabled people whose parents are over 65 years old and those from single-parent or low-income families will be given priority, Wu said.

Currently, the foundation trains mentally disabled people in 20 of its own bakeries and restaurants in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hsinchu.

After undergoing training, some of these people are able to begin looking for jobs with the help of foundation career counselors, Wu said.

With the establishment of the guest farm, they will now have the option of working in restaurants there, Wu added.

The foundation began fundraising for the project yesterday and hopes to persuade at least 10,000 people to donate NT$1,200 (US$37.50) each. Wu said that the estimated budget for the farm was NT$40 million, including government subsidies of NT$10 million.

The 2,000 ping (6,612m2) piece of land that will be used for the farm is currently being developed and the foundation hopes to launch the project next year, Wu said.

The exact number of mentally disabled people in Taiwan is unknown, but according to WHO figures, on average, 2.2 people out of every hundred are mentally disabled, Wu added.

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