Moved by the actions of their classmate, first-year students at Taipei Huajiang High School are planning to send the children of Hualien County’s Jhuosi Township (卓溪) a surprise gift on Children’s Day.
Hsu Chun-wei (許均瑋), a Bunun Aborigine from the township studying in Taipei, came from a family that was not financially well-off.
Having experienced poverty first-hand — Hsu said that for two or three years, the family had been unable to even provide regular meals — he found his classmates’ habit of throwing still-serviceable stationery away wasteful and began picking it up so it could be reused.
“Children from the city are under the impression that if something is broken, they should just buy a new one. They do not know that in some parts of Taiwan, some children still find the concept of having warm clothes and a full belly hard to believe,” Hsu said, adding that some schoolchildren do not even have pens to write with.
Hsu said that some of the pencils or automatic pencils he found had simply been blunted or were missing a cap, adding that he often just resharpened the pencil and found a piece of eraser to plug into the hollow tube.
Hsu said he was able to collect between 10 and 20 pencils or automatic pencils a month, adding that while he kept some for his own use, he usually sent the rest off to the Taoyuan Presbytarian Church to be distributed to schoolchildren in need of them.
Hsu’s homeroom teacher and his classmates later noticed his actions and decided to make a gift to children in the Jhuosi area and to make Children’s Day on Thursday next week the best one that they had ever experienced.
One of Hsu’s classmates, surnamed Lin (林), said that he had not realized how wasteful he had been, adding that he would work hard to correct his wastefulness.
“For every pen I save, I will be able to help more children in need,” Lin said.
Every one of the students has prepared a shoebox, which they have filled with stationery, toys or clothing, and included a card — written personally — wishing the children who receive them to have a happy Children’s Day.
Hsu and his father said that they would help send the gifts to Jhuosi.