Zonta Says NO: Extending the Services for Southeast Asian immigrant communities in Taiwan

The rapidly growing population of Southeast Asian migrant workers and immigrants in Taiwan has made public and private sectors aware of the increasing demand for new services. District 31, Taiwan and Mongolia, participated in the latest trend and has decided to aid the new immigrant community as one of its 2020-2022 biannual goals.

On 3 December, a Zonta International delegation led by Governor Vivienne Shen visited Taoyuan New Immigrants Cultural Hall and SouthEastAsian Migrant Inspired (SEAMi) to learn their services in Taoyuan City. Taoyuan City is the home of the largest migrant workers and the fourth largest for the new immigrants in Taiwan. All the delegates were impressed by the contributions and achievements of the two organizations.

In the Cultural Hall, Yu-Ting Chang, the deputy executive director of Taoyuan City’s New Immigrant Joint Service Center, told the delegation that Taoyuan is the first city in Taiwan to establish the section exclusively for the new immigrants’ affairs under its Social Welfare Department. The Center, supervised by the team, coordinates with governmental departments to provide one-stop service for the new immigrants. Legal consultation and language assistance are also provided. The latter has helped COVID-19 information delivery preventing the pandemic from spreading among the immigrant communities.

Located in the rear of Taoyuan Railway Station where the migrant workers gather for leisure, SEAMi, a non-governmental organization established in 2015, was a bookstore for migrant workers’ reading the books from home. It has transformed into a cultural exchange center between new immigrants and the residents. Sing Yee Tan from Malaysia supervises the SEAMi project contracted by the city government on migrant worker service in the Joint Service Center.

Phạm Mỹ Hạnh, a Vietnam language teacher, shared her experiences on community works while making the Aodai bookmarks with the Zontians. They are popular speakers of SEAMi’s training courses and guided tours on Southeast Asian culture for the local schools and communities.

From 25 November to 10 December, the Orange the World: Ending Gender-Based Violence took place. The delegation, led by Vivienne, held a parade carrying the boards and banners of “Zonta Says No to Violence against Women” and walked from the New Immigrants Cultural Hall through Taoyuan Railway Station to SEAMi to urge the public to be aware of the issue. The delegation included Director Diana Cheng of Area 1, President Stasia Huang of Taipei Cosmo Club, President Gui-Chu Yang of Taoyuan Club, President Vicky Wang of Taoyuan Peony Club, and members from the three clubs.

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