Model and actress Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) hopes to follow the example of retired tennis player Andre Agassi and establish a charitable foundation to help needy children.
Lin drew inspiration for her ambition at a charity event in Taipei last month that she attended along with Agassi. At the event, which raised NT$1.5 million (US$51,670) for three social welfare groups, including the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders, Lin renewed her acquaintance with Wu I-hsin (巫以欣), an 18-year-old girl suffering from Niemann-Pick disease.
Having first met Wu at an event arranged by the foundation three years earlier, Lin was shocked to find that Wu’s condition had worsened and that her younger brother had also fallen ill with the disease.
Seeing the difficulties Wu and her brother had to deal with, Lin said she hoped she could do more to help children like them, including setting up her own foundation.
The top model is no stranger to charitable activities. She served as an ambassador for the “HIV/AIDS Hope Initiative” organized by World Vision Taiwan in 2006, when she went to Swaziland to visit orphans whose parents had died of AIDS.
“Through the visit to children, I gained the power to go forward. Charity shouldn’t just be talk, but be carried out as a part of our life,” Lin said.
As for her own future, the model said: “Looking ahead to 2011, I hope that I can have more time to be with my family, or go on a trip to study or take a vacation and think carefully about the next step of my life.”
One of her options, she said, would be to follow the example of Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf, and set up a charitable foundation.
Agassi set up the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in 1994 to help children and in 2001 established the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free charter school for at-risk children.