Volunteers from the Republic of China (Taiwan) are all smiles following a media introduction event held at Serendipity restaurant on Friday 22nd January 2021. (Right to left) Mr.Wen-Chi (Ivan) Chiou, and Ms. Pei-Hsuan (Wendy) Tsay, Ms.Tzu-Han (Mavvis) Wu and Ms.Ya-Chen (Chen or Ya Chen) of the annual Taiwan ICDF (International Cooperation Development Fund) Overseas Volunteer Program. (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 29th January 2021) – Four volunteers from the Republic of China (Taiwan) are experiencing their first time visit in in the Caribbean region having taken up residency in the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis to provide services at government units, collectively specialized in the areas of nutrition, public health, information technology and agriculture.

These individuals-with their English names in brackets- are Mr.Wen-Chi (Ivan) Chiou, Ms.Tzu-Han (Mavvis) Wu and Ms. Pei-Hsuan (Wendy) Tsay who have recently arrived in St.Kitts-Nevis now join Ms.Ya-Chen (Chen or Ya Chen) Lin (in her second year) as part of the annual Taiwan ICDF (International Cooperation Development Fund) Overseas Volunteer Program said to be ongoing for over five years.

Resident Taiwan Ambassador Tom Lee poses for a photo with the volunteers of the annual Taiwan ICDF (International Cooperation Development Fund) Overseas Volunteer Program. (Spokesman Snap)

Lin, who is also a first time traveller to the Caribbean, is attached to the Nutrition/Public Health Ministry of Health in St. Kitts, Chiou-Information Technology Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wu-Agriculture Department of Agriculture in St. Kitts and Tsay-Nutrition School Meals Programme for the Ministry of Education in Nevis.

Notably, the three newcomers underwent COVID-19 protocols including quarantine for which they received the all-clear.

A media introduction event was held at Serendipity restaurant located at Fortlands in Basseterre on Friday 22nd January 2021.
Resident Taiwan Ambassador Tom Lee said the volunteers are like cultural ambassadors.

“On top of the cordial relationship between governments, we’re working hard to further ties between people of two countries. Hence, we introduced the scholarships and volunteer programme. All four of the volunteers are coming to the Caribbean for the first time. Ya Chen is in her second year and the others have just arrived for a couple of months. They are willing to spend time contributing to StKitts-Nevis here without a salary. They are like cultural ambassadors. In doing so, they also gain an experience of living and working outside Taiwan.”

He added: “They are making friends with local people so people will know Taiwan better but on the other side it’s also good for them because they can work outside Taiwan for one year which is a good experience to them, especially some of them are very young so eventually this experience can probably help them get a better job.”

Quizzed about why they have decided to partake in the programme, the volunteers had this to say:

Ms.Tzu-Han (Mavvis) Wu
“I’ve always wanted to live abroad for a while so last year when I saw the post on the website of ICDF organization sent us here and they need some agriculture volunteer to move to here and I searched St.Kitts and Nevis online and I saw Many beautiful pictures of the ocean and so I grabbed this opportunity and come here.”

Wen-Chi (Ivan) Chiou
“Why I come here I think, it is under COVID-19 so it’s difficult to travel around the world so when I saw this opportunity I think it’s a total of one year I can live in another country. In Taiwan you can only travel in Taiwan so I think that is why I want to grab this opportunity, and I think that when I come here, it’s very beautiful. I did a few research before I came so I just wanted to take a break for a whole year but when I came here I saw very beautiful sightseeing and very friendly people…”

Pei-Hsuan (Wendy) Tsay
“The reason why I choose to be a volunteer is that I think that as a nutritionist, I’m always willing to experience more different culture and food and when I saw the post I think, it’s a really good experience to have so I just applied for it and I found that the program is actually related to nutrition and education and that’s my passion; I love kids, I love to teach and also love to teach them how to eat healthy  and be more healthy in the future so that they cultivate the habit and grow up to have a better figure or better concept so I think I really enjoyed the time in Nevis with my colleague… We learn a lot from each other. The school meals programme that we are promoting is ‘The Tour Around the Caribbean’. Every Thursday, we will pick a country; we just went to Montserrat, Belize and Anguilla. We introduce their national dish and we also do a flyer about their culture, their history and fun facts.”

Ya-Chen (Chen or Ya Chen) Lin
“I’m a retired nurse and after I retired, the first year is so happy because usually I’m very busy in the hospital; working in the hospital is a very tough job and second year (after retiring) seems not so good and the third year I feel something wrong so I start to search for the volunteer job with the ICDF and that’s why I am here. It has been a great time. I already renewed the contract and entered the second year of service.”

Information gleaned online from www.icdf.org.tw outlines the project description in three areas namely: (1) Train volunteers to enhance their understanding of overseas service and missions. (2) Dispatch volunteers to deliver services in the areas of environment, public health, agriculture, education, and information and communications technology and (3) Facilitate the sharing of experiences by returned volunteers.

Additionally, the objectives are: “To assist partner nations in economic development and to promote international cooperation by selecting and dispatching volunteers to partner nations, which not only benefits the countries economically and socially, but also provides volunteers with invaluable experiences and promotes a greater understanding between volunteers and local people.”

Themes are: Environmental Protection, Public Health, Agriculture, Education, Information and Communications Technology.
Eswatini, Thailand, Palau, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Nicaragua, Paraguay are the cooperating countries of the volunteer programme.

Volunteers can participate in the programme for at least two years.