Wed, Sep 19, 2012 - Page 4 News List

New support plan for immigrants and children is launched

Staff writer, with CNA

The government launched a project on Monday aimed at providing better care and education for the children of new immigrants to Taiwan.

The NT$200 million (US$6.8 million) “Torch Project,” to be carried out at more than 300 schools during its first year, is to include classes teaching the mother tongues of immigrant children, parent-child camps for families of new immigrants and culinary contests for new immigrants, the Ministry of the Interior said.

Many of the nation’s 460,000 new immigrants are from China and Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

The project is to be implemented at elementary schools in which 100 or more children of new immigrants are enrolled or where such students account for more than 10 percent of the total student body, the ministry said.

Children of new immigrants have the advantage of having two countries, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said. For example, he said, South Korean immigrants and their children could help Taiwan establish better ties with their motherland and even help Taiwan to tap into that market.

“The more there are, the more effective they can be,” he added.

Chinese-Indonesian Sung Tsui-hsin (宋翠欣), who married a Taiwanese man three years ago and now lives in New Taipei City (新北市), said the city government subsidizes births and Mandarin lessons to help new immigrants adapt to life there.

“I feel the government really cares for us,” she said.

The city, which has the nation’s biggest population, has 120,000 new immigrants, as well as 60,000 immigrant workers, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said.

Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said that the increase in the number of children born to new immigrant parents “is both a crisis and a turning point.”

“If we guide them well and help them to assimilate ... and at the same time Taiwanese respect and learn from their cultures, Taiwan can become more ... culturally rich,” he said.

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