Called “grandma” by 34 kids from dysfunctional families, Liao Mei-fang (廖梅芳), founder of the Yong-an Children’s Home, is asking the public for help in building a new home for her “grandchildren.”
Seven years ago, Liao, then aged 60, took in four orphans from a shelter in Hualien back to her home in Daliao Township (大寮), Kaohsiung County.
“The kids were living in very bad conditions, and I felt that I could make their lives better, so I took them home,” she said.
Having found new meaning in her life, Liao decided to use her savings of NT$3 million (US$98,000) to register and turn her home into a children’s shelter.
As the number of children grew, Liao rented a small abandoned factory building as the shelter site.
“Now that the kids are growing up, the small factory building is no longer suitable and big enough to house them. We need to build a new home for them,” Liao told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
Most of the kids living in Liao’s shelter are either from dysfunctional families or are victims of child abuse.
The youngest of the 34 kids is only a little over three years old, while the oldest is 18 years old, Liao said.
Funding, however, is a big obstacle to Liao’s plan to build a home for her “grandchildren.”
“Right now, we’re still NT$20 million short of the total needed to build a new children’s home,” she said.
The Wan Hai Charity Foundation was the first organization to answer Liao’s call for help by hosting a fundraising concert featuring the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in October.
“All ticket revenues will go to Yong-an Children’s Home,” the foundation’s deputy executive director Chen Hsin-hui (陳欣惠) said. “We will not even deduct the costs of organizing the concert.”