A junior-high school student in Taoyuan is working toward her dream of becoming a police officer with the help of World Vision Taiwan.
Originally from Hualien County, the eighth-grade student, whose name was changed to Hsiao-hsuan (小萱) to protect her identity, had been living with her mother after her parents’ divorce.
Her memory of that period consists mostly of running around with the other children in her neighborhood, Hsiao-hsuan said.
Her mother was often away and she often did not have enough to eat, she said, adding that she had felt lonely.
When she was five, her aunt brought her to Taoyuan to live with her and her three children, who were many years older than her, Hsiao-hsuan said.
Although they were not well-off, because of her aunt’s love and selflessness she felt like she had a real family, she said.
Her aunt was granted legal custody of her while she was in elementary school, after which they lost contact with Hsiao-hsuan’s mother, she said, adding that her father passed away a few years later.
While she enjoys living with her aunt, she hopes to one day see her mother, she said.
Her aunt, now 60, continues to support herself and Hsiao-hsuan through money she receives from her daughter for taking care of her grandchild, as well as low-income subsidies from the government, she said.
However, she is often unable to cover their living expenses, especially at the start of the school year, when it is time to pay tuition, Hsiao-hsuan said.
One year ago, World Vision Taiwan began to sponsor Hsiao-hsuan with regular donations from the public.
Apart from a NT$7,500 financial grant each semester, Hsiao-hsuan also receives gifts for the Lunar New Year and is regularly visited by social workers.
Hsiao-hsuan said she began wanting to be a police officer in the sixth grade, when her aunt suggested that her personality would be suitable for the job.
She said she hopes to help others and give back to society.
In the letters she regularly writes to her sponsor, she shares details of her life, as well as her dreams, she said.
Although being a police officer would not be easy, she would work hard, she said.
Hsiao-hsuan won a recitation contest in Taoyuan three years in a row.
Last year, she competed at the National Language Contest in Chiayi County, placing fourth in the junior-high-school division for Truku Aborigines.
World Vision Taiwan helps disadvantaged students by giving them access to educational resources through financial aid, said Liao Chien-chun (廖健鈞), the director of the organization’s regional branch office in Hsinchu.
More individuals and businesses should join the organization’s sponsorship programs, Liao said.
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