The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York has donated US$230,000 to help schoolchildren in Burkina Faso, a charity based in the city said on Wednesday, two days before President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) embarks on a trip to diplomatic allies in Africa.
Including the recent donation, Taiwan has given a total of US$1.8 million to a school program in Burkina Faso since 2004, said Kathy Spahn, president of Helen Keller International (HKI), a charity founded in 1915 by Helen Keller.
The project educates children about nutrition and the eye disease trachoma, introduces them to better hygiene practices and provides vitamin supplements to families, Spahn said at a press conference, which was attended by Der Kogda, Burkina Faso’s permanent representative to the UN.
HKI also helps schools plant vegetable gardens and fruit orchards.
Trachoma is an eye disease caused by a bacterial infection that leads to scarring of the eyelids, which, if left untreated, can damage the cornea through the mere act of blinking, HKI said.
Kogda thanked Taiwan for the donation and said that a strong friendship has been built up between the two countries, despite great differences in language and culture.
“The two countries have had a very good relationship for many years, which is why Taiwan’s president will be visiting Burkina Faso in the next couple of days,” Kogda said.