The Ministry of Education plans to use the Education Fund to help students with handicaps or from disadvantaged backgrounds, by providing funding subsidies to allow them to pursue special skills or forge their own path.
At a recent event, the ministry showcased Wang Tzu-chia (王子嘉), a winner of multiple Latin dance competitions, who also received a permit to teach Latin dance, and Yang Pei-jung (楊佩蓉), a boxer in training, as examples of how the program could help young students in special situations.
Wang said she had never thought it possible that she would come so far because before she started attending college she had been completely unable to participate in any physical education classes.
“In my second year of elementary school, my glaucoma was complicated by cataracts, causing the pressure inside my eyes to rise,” Wang said, adding that she was hospitalized for an entire week and underwent four surgeries to bring her condition under control.
Though her condition stabilized, her eyesight was still very poor after the surgeries and she was unable to go anywhere without custom-made glasses, Wang said.
“I was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch everybody else was run around on the ball court,” Wang said, adding that her stamina was poor due to lack of exercise.
After starting her studies, Wang decided to join the Latin Dance Club and discovered that the club matched her needs very well because she had a partner who would guide her step by step.
Although she was not used to the increased physical exertion and needed more practice than others, she persevered, and within a few years started entering national competitions.
“The key was hard work,” Wang said, adding that she had to work twice as hard as everybody else.
The ministry subsidized Wang with NT$50,000 (US$1,670) so that she could afford to hire a one-on-one instructor for the past six months.
Wang recently obtained a class C Latin dance instructor permit from the Chinese Taipei Dance Sports Federation.
She will be working toward obtaining a license for the international standard style in the future, Wang said.
Yang came from a disadvantaged family in Pingtung County’s Fenggang Township (楓港), and used to spend her time in Internet cafes and was a member of a local gang.
Yang, currently studying at the Fenggang Junior High School, said that one of her teachers persuaded her to join the school’s boxing team, and the sense of accomplishment she gained from training helped her leave her former lifestyle behind.
Her hard work paid off as she has won second place at the county sports festival boxing competition.
Yang said that she would use the ministry’s subsidy to hire an instructor to teach her more boxing techniques, adding that the program takes her one step closer to realizing her dreams.