CTBC supports rural communities with 'Taiwan Dream Project'

The project aims to create a sustainable network to support the health and education of children in low-income areas

(CTBC Image)

(CTBC Image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the second day of the Global Corporate Sustainability Forum in Taipei, a representative from the Taiwanese bank CTBC's Charity Foundation introduced an excellent example of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

CTBC Charity Foundation's Deputy Executive Director, May Lin, introduced the “Taiwan Dream Project,” which was created to improve education and nutrition among children in rural communities throughout Taiwan.

The program began three years ago when CTBC was considering the best way to serve communities in Taiwan via CSR projects. Surveys conducted by the Child Welfare League Foundation indicated some worrying statistics in rural Taiwanese communities.

It was reported that 44 percent of children prepare their own meals, 23.2 percent had no options for after school activities, and 56.9 percent suffered from low self-esteem.

Recognizing the situation of these low-income communities, and their need of support programs, the “Taiwan Dream Project” was born.

The motto of the Taiwan Dream Project is: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

According to Lin, the program is currently engaging with 26 communities across the country, with 499 school-children participants, and a support network of 510 volunteers.

May Lin, Executive Director of CTBC Charity Foundation Deputy (Taiwan News Image)

CTBC has invested NT$2.14 million into the “Taiwan Dream Project” to provide various aspects of support to communities, including providing meals and options for afterschool activities for children. The end goal is to promote healthy children that can pursue their education without undue burdens.

As a result of the program, parents and children can benefit, resulting in healthier and stronger communities, according to Lin. As the program develops over the coming years, CTBC will review the program results by monitoring how the participants develop.

According to Lin, the initial investment fro CTBC has already produced an estimated NT$9.1 million in value combined across member communities.

Even after just three years of implementation, the results are very encouraging, with 90 percent of participants' parents reporting that the program has eased financial and social burdens related to childcare. Seventy percent of participants have also shown marked increase in self-esteem, expressing a greater sense of happiness and accomplishment following participation in the program.

Sources of outside funding have also increased year-on-year, with an anticipated increase of 4.4 times the amount of funding from outside CTBC, indicating that the CSR program itself is creating its own value, both social and financial.

CTBC hopes that the Taiwan Dream Project participants may choose to become program volunteers in the future, as the program develops, and create a network of support as a sustainable fixture of these communities.