Student helps poor in Paraguay with aid from Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA, ASUNCION

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - Page 5

When Veronica Lima Pappaseit, a Paraguayan studying in Taiwan, was preparing for a visit home last year, she had an idea: Instead of taking just her personal luggage, she would bring back used clothing for disadvantaged Paraguayans in remote areas.

Unsure of how much clothing she could gather, Lima was surprised when she found the total donations of both used and unopened clothing came up to 200kg — 10 times the baggage limit per person on her flight.

Despite the hiccup, the boxes of clothing arrived in Paraguay one week after she did, thanks to help from her school, the National University of Kaohsiung, which contacted a logistics company that offered to cover the costs.

Once Lima had been reunited with the donated clothing, she and her parents distributed it to 380 residents around Filadelfia in Paraguay’s Boqueron Department, a 450km trip from the capital — and Lima’s hometown — Asuncion.

Although Paraguay is a country rich in natural resources, poverty remains a serious problem, Lima was quoted as saying by local media, adding that she was grateful for everyone in Taiwan who had helped.

After the success of last year’s initiative, Lima set out again this year to collect clothing for the poor, this time partnering with another Paraguayan student, Elias Martinez, who is enrolled at Feng Chia University.

Together, the two managed to collect 100kg to bring back to Martinez’s hometown of Caaguazu, about 160km from Asuncion.

Moved by their story, two Taiwanese students have joined in as well, following the pair to Paraguay to help out.