Charity collects sports goods for children

COOPED UP::Lanyu’s grocery stores do not sell sports equipment, leaving the children with no choice other than playing with their cellphones, a planner said

By Chang Tsun-wei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Jan 03, 2016 - Page 3

The Lan An Cultural and Educational Foundation and online charity platform Give and Take are collecting sports equipment for schoolchildren on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) for the Lunar New Year.

There is an endemic shortage of sports equipment at the four Aboriginal communities and four elementary schools in Lanyu, said Chang Chin-wei (張晉煒), a planner at the Lan An foundation.

Chang said his organization collected “more than enough” books, toys, clothes and necessities through its charity drives, but Lanyu’s Aborigine communities continue to lack basic sports equipment for the schoolchildren.

A local inhabitant by the surname Hsieh (謝) said that although Lanyu’s schools have more than 600 students between elementary and high-school grades, the island’s grocery stores sell no sports equipment at all, and all bicycles, basketballs, volleyballs and slides must be shipped in from Taiwan proper.

“In summer, the kids can still exercise by the sea or the rivers, but in winter, when it is too cold outside, most end up staying at home, playing with cellphones,” he added.

Chang said that Lanyu’s children love doing sports, but the lack of stores that carry sports equipment means that each Aborigine community had to rely on its own dwindling stocks, without the ability to replace or repair items, which the Lan An foundation intends to remedy in cooperation with Give and Take.

“Give and Take is a platform built to help direct resources to people who need it most,” project manager Huang Chih-yang (黃之揚) said.

“Lan An foundation launched many projects in Lanyu before, such as the ‘one more kilometer’ initiative to get backpackers and tourists to bring necessities to the island. Lanyu now has all the basic resources it needs,” Huang said.

“Our aim this time is to have a charity drive for sports equipment until mid-January and send the material to Lanyu before the Lunar New Year,” he added.

Chang said that more than 100 people have so far responded to the drive, but more equipment, such as balls, jerseys, surf boards, rackets, skates, protective equipment, socks, backpacks and ping pong tables are needed.