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Thousands gather from across Taiwan to raise their voice and help the needy at World Vision’s 21st 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally (08/08/10)

Today, 13,000 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally participants from around Taiwan congregated at Linkou Gymnasium to learn about global issues and advocate for the world’s needy. The Hero Rally kicked off yesterday at noon when participants committed to going without food for 30 hours. 

Today’s event got off to a roaring start with the drum beats of Tongmen Elementary School accompanied by 30 Hour Famine Ambassadors Elva Hsiao and Stanley Huang.

“Through the 30 Hour Famine we call on the public to take action to help people suffering from hunger, war, diseases, and natural disasters all over the world,” said World Vision Board Chairperson Tiffany Huang.

“We know challenge is big and it is impossible to reach our goal immediately, but if we work together we can make a difference,” she said. 

As co-sponsor of the 30 Hour Famine, Gordon Wang, 7-ELEVEN’s Deputy Vice President, announced that for over the past 19 years 7-ELEVEN has raised NT$424, 99 million to support the 30 Hour Famine.

This year’s 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally program placed a special emphasis on climate change as its impact is increasingly being felt worldwide.  

“Climate change has worsened in recent decades. The number of climate refugees has risen to 26 million, most of whom are living in impoverished countries, pushing them into deeper poverty than before,” said Hank Du, Executive Director of World Vision Taiwan.  

“We can change the world by changing our lifestyles and tell our government what policies we need,” said Lee Wei-Wen, Honorary Chair of the Society of Wilderness.

“We can choose what we buy to do less harm to our environment. We can also tell our government, by supporting environmental campaigns, that we are willing to sacrifice our personal benefits to save the Earth,” he said.    
 
Ms. Hsiao later gave her firsthand account of how climate change has triggered erratic rainfall patterns and aggravated hunger in Kenya over the past decades.

Ms. Hsiao reported that the people of Moyale district in Northern Kenya is suffering from a serious drought; without food to eat, the people there have to forage for food in the wilderness.

“When we are enjoying a comfortable life that technology brings us, people in underdeveloped countries are being affected by the side-effects of technology,” she said.

“If we who live in developed countries can use our resources more wisely, we can help decrease the effects of climate change on the less fortunate,” added Ms. Hsiao.

Mr. Huang shared about his trip to areas affected by Typhoon Morakot where he had spent time with children displaced by Taiwan’s worst flood in 50 years.

“The road condition was so bad that at some points we had to pass through temporary roads on foot because the damaged roads had not yet been repaired,” he said.

Mr. Huang shared about helping typhoon survivors rebuild their homes. “I only spent a few hours working there, but they had been working for months. Rebuilding really takes long time.”

“What you saw in the video is just a small part of the recovery work, but the affected people’s entire lives have been reshaped,” said Mr. Huang referring a short film documenting his visit to Pingtung and Taitung last month.

“It will take much longer for them to get on their own feet again. Don’t just give for one day. Please continue to give, and if possible, volunteer,” he said. 

Last year at the Hero Rally, a member of the Taiwan Children’s Choir voiced his dream, “Our friends living in Ali Mountain couldn’t come today because Typhoon Morakot destroyed their home and the road leading down the mountain. My dream is to sing with them again.”

At today’s rally, the choir members from Ali Mountain made the trip and sang with the Taiwan Children’s Choir. First Lady Chow Mei-Ching also made a surprise appearance and joined them to sing “The Sun Above Clouds.”

“These children, despite all the hardships they have experienced, have never given up on their dreams. They are so brave, positive, and not afraid of difficulties,” said First Lady Chow.

She added, “I hope our love for the affected children will never cease, and they will always stay hopeful.”

Mike Ho and Joseph Cheng, World Vision Child Health Now spokespersons, urged the audience to remember that food and health go together. Without adequate food and nutrition, children around the world will die from easily preventable diseases. 

Dr. Solomon Chen, a pediatrician at Pingtung Christian Hospital, shared how he became a primary health expert working in underdeveloped world as former Resident Representative of the Department of Health to Africa.

Dr. Chen was a participant at the first 30 Hour Famine in 1990. 

“I can say the 30 Hour Famine changed my life.”

“Donating money is important. But I challenge you to donate your person. Equip yourself in all ways you can, so someday you will be able to contribute your money, your time, and your talent to make a greater impact on the needy,” said Dr. Chen.

The Hero Rally will conclude with a Sunset Concert featuring pop artists who have actively supported World Vision for many years, including Elva Hsiao, Stanley Huang, Harlem Yu, Christine Fan Wei-Qi, Ocean Spray Brothers, Claire Kuo, Yoga Lin, and Rachel Liang.

Frangiparni Jessica Chandler from Taichung, like many of her friends, came to the rally in anticipation of the singers and entertainers, however, she ended up learning much more.

“We saw the video showing African children impoverished and hungry, and that made me realize how lucky we were,” said Frangi, “It is unfair for kids our age to have so much less than we do.”

Given the chance, Frangi would like to encourage all young people her age to join the campaign and raise awareness on what is happening on the other side of the world.

“I’m never going to be picky with food again,” said Alexander Jan Jenseu, 16, from Kaohsiung. He responded with enthusiasm to his friends’ invitation to join this year’s 30 Hour Famine. Yesterday Alex and his friends went to Sizihwan for World Vision’s community service activity where they successfully raised more than NT$2000 for the 30 Hour Famine.

Admitting he is a little bit hungry after sleeping on an empty stomach, Alex is still excited about coming next year.

“Last night we couldn’t sleep at all because of hunger. It really enlightened us to the pain that those in hunger are feeling,” said Mandy Liang a student from Malaysian.

The 30 Hour Famine campaign is World Vision Taiwan’s response to humanitarian crisis in Taiwan and around the world.  This year, the international aid organization aims to raise NT$172 million (US$5.3 million) to support emergency relief projects in 32 countries, including Typhoon Morakot reconstruction in Taiwan, food aid in Kenya, Typhoon Ketsana responses in Philippines and Vietnam, and earthquake responses in Haiti and China.

From July 1 through September 31, donations can be made at 7-ELEVEN’s 4,717 stores island wide or online through World Vision Taiwan’s website at any time.
 
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