The New Taipei City branch of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families is calling for donations of NT$500 or NT$1,000 to help children from disadvantaged families pay for their stationery or additional cram school fees.
According to the fund’s database, more than 90 percent of college students from disadvantaged families have to work part-time while studying, while 30 percent of high-school and vocational high-school students also have to work part-time to help cover their tuition.
Of that 30 percent, 70 percent have to work part-time to cover family expenses, the fund said.
In terms of education resources, 43 percent of children and teens have no one at home to help with their homework, while another 61 percent of families have difficulty providing funds for cram schools, it said.
Citing the Executive Yuan’s statistics, the fund said the number of families comprised of just grandparents and grandchildren has increased by 40 percent over the past 10 years.
The fund’s New Taipei Office director Chen Mei-chun (陳美君) said that these families make up 10 percent of disadvantaged families.
As grandparents are unable to work full time due to their age, they boost their income by collecting recyclables, Chen said, adding that about 20 percent of grandparents in these families pass their days working odd jobs, while 40 percent have no income at all.
One such case involves a seven-year-old child, known as Hsiao-en (小恩), and her younger sister. Their grandparents are raising the two children by doing odd jobs, collecting recyclables and relying on social welfare grants, the fund said.
Hsiao-en was unable to regularly attend kindergarten and, as there is no one to help with homework, she is still unable to spell or count, the fund said, adding that she only recognizes a few characters in Mandarin Chinese.
Her grandmother is worried that she will not be able to keep up with other students in the future, the fund said.
The fund hopes the project will help children like these turn their lives around, it said.
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