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35,000 people gather at 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally to bring hope to the hungry on February 11-12 at Kaohsiung National Stadium(02/12/12)

After one chilly night’s sleep at Kaohsiung National Stadium, the 35,000 participants of World Vision Taiwan’s 23rd 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally returned to the venue today to continue their second day of the famine event.
A coin-drive fundraiser hosted by the Uni-President Pro Baseball Team yesterday collected 641 kilograms of coins from the participants totaling NT$655,163, which will go toward World Vision’s emergency relief funds.
Today’s event program began with “A Beautiful Day” - a short drama performed by English teachers from the Studio Classroom, and Chinese and English hymns presented by gospel singer Zorina London and Christian music group “Heavenly Melody.”
The Studio Classroom teachers threw out questions such as “Are you hungry?,” “ What would you do right now for your favorite meal?” To which, most of the answers were “I’m starving” and “I want to eat anything!”
The teachers then demonstrated through a drama that they were actually not starving, but just hungry, and they should be thankful for having enough food to eat.
Environment advocate Lee Wei-Wen, who has dedicated two decades of his life to promote environmental awareness as a volunteer, challenged the participants to set high goals and not to undre-estimate one’s own potential to change the world.
“You would never know you have the potential to go without food for so many hours and to sleep outdoors until you participate in the 30 Hour Famine,” said Mr. Lee. “Remember, realizing your potential is not something that just happens. You will never live up to your full potential unless you put it into practice.”
He continued, “The higher your goal is, the greater your power is. A dream is like a baby who grows up by being nurtured. So set your goals and keep on doing and doing. The result is often far beyond your expectation.”
Last year the rally participants performed volunteer service by packing winter sets of warm hats and scarves and family reilef kits. Today World Vision Taiwan Executive Director Hank Du reported that by the end of 2011, a total of 2,000 and 7,400 winter sets had been distributed to children in Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina respectively. Another 5,000 relief kits have also been delivered to needy families in Taiwan. 
Mr. Du called on the participants to contribute financially or through other ways to help accomplish two new goals – to raise funds to cover the shipping and logistics costs for 4,300 metric tons of rice donated by the Taiwan Government to help feed the hungry in the Horn of Africa and to raise funds for sending LED solar lights made in Taiwan to developing countries to help promote education for children.
The 30 Hour Famine is a global youth movement that takes place in many countries. World Vision offices in India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea contributed videos of support that was played at the rally yesterday to show their affinity for the famine participants in Taiwan,
Representatives from Malaysia and Korea, who came to Taiwan to observe the Hero Rally, also went on stage to share how young people in their countries do their famine.
To return the goodwill received from Malaysia and Korea, the Taiwan participants were involved in filming support videos of their own by roaring a simple sentence, “Keep on doing!” The video clips will be shown at Malaysia’s 15th 30 Hour Famine and Korea’s 20th 24 Hour Famine later this year.  
Famine Ambassador Eddie Peng and Amber Kuo returned to the stage today to share from their visit to the One Life Experience, where they walked in the shoes of African children facing hunger and war.
Ms. Kuo read, “40,000 people (actual number of rally participants is 35,000) is a big number, but insignificant compared to the number of people in hunger. 30 hours is long time, but nothing compared to the endless suffering faced by the poor around the world.”
Mr. Peng also shared personal stories, including growing up in a single-parent family and the experience of making the movie, “Jump Ashin!” to encourage the participants not to fear challenges, but to hold on to their dreams.
TV chefs Chef A-Ky, James Jiao, Wu Bing-Cheng, and Kuo Zhu-Yi, cooked rice porridges onstage using food materials such as chicken leg, shrimps, clamp, and stewed pork, partly to tease the apetite of the participants but also to make a deeper impression of hunger on them.
Molly Holmbo, an exchange from the United States, said that she was slowly starting to feel the hunger pangs after 22 hours of fasting. Despite the slight discomfort, she was still excited to be involved in this meaningful event.
When asked if she would participate in a famine camp when she returns to the United States, she responded with much anticipation saying, “Yes, I’d definitely make time for famine activities back in my country!”
A concert featuring indigenous artists Biung Wang, A-Lin, pop singers Christine Fan Wei-Chi, William Wei, Jing Chang, Claire Kuo, and idol group Lollipop F. will conclude this year’s Hero Rally in the next two hours.
In 2012, the 30 Hour Famine aims to raise NT$ 250 million to support domestic and international emergency relief projects. World Vision Taiwan appeals for more support to fill a funding gap of NT$100 million.   


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