12 people empowerment stories;
12 associations in Taiwan...

A three-storied house on a hill in Muzha, on a Saturday afternoon. On the playground, young kids have a nap after lunchtime. At first sight, you would think you are in a kindergarten. But as I enter, nannies disinfect my hands. Others are giving ‘magic cocktails’, which is medication, to some children. Upstairs, elder kids have class with a volunteer teacher. We are in an orphanage where some children carry HIV, run by Yangjie, a second mum to the 24 children.
Yangjie’s devotion to the children is a story of love and fight for life; offering a second chance to the ones who need it the most. Above words, seeing it is realizing it. 

This photo book is a story full of interesting encounters, emotions caught through a camera lens… The twelve people in this book have different backgrounds and stories to tell, but to me they were as one kind: people who went through difficult times and now are making a difference in the society for others. 

For example, after the sudden death of her husband, Mrs Wu built an association to welcome single parents. Following the 1999 earthquake, which devastated Nantou County, Mr 廖振益 built ‘Longyan Community‘ to distribute lunch boxes to the ones in need. Now, these associations grew bigger and I could see how the combined efforts of the community can put an end to loneliness and turn it into positive energy. 

Problems do not disappear and it takes time to learn to live with them, but as Mrs Wu working at “Single Families Association” in Taipei, told me: “When I am helping the people coming here, I am also helping myself”. Indeed, as handicaps or hard times affect people’s lives, it can also mean a new beginning of one’s life, a new experience, a new challenge.

All the pictures in this book are matters of reflection to me, and make me think of what has to be worked on still: A better access to normal education for children carrying HIV, more training courses other than massage courses, offered to blind people, more programs of rehabilitations for ex-prisoners…

As I was photographing, I learned more about the Taiwanese society. These people could be me, could be you… And as it did for me, I hope this book will call for more collective awareness.

YANG, Chen-hao(楊鎮豪), Rev. George Gerald Martinson, S.J (丁松筠神父) and Aurélie Kernaléguen (柯蕾俐)

Brief Introduction

by YANG, Chen-hao
      The “Vigoroso" (擁抱勁草) publishing project was supported by the WeShare Education Foundation (文向教育基金會) of Taiwan Life Insurance (台灣人壽) in 2009. It was promoted by Mr. LIN, Kunbao (凌𣱣寶教授) who chairman of the Education Foundation at the time.

      The goal was to promote the "Life Education" among Taiwanese high school students. The editor of the book is Ms. YEH, Sarina (葉姿吟女士). And the plan is the Renlai Magazine (人籟論辨月刊). The program is hosted by Rev. George Gerald Martinson, S.J (丁松筠神父) and the photographers are Aurélie Kernaléguen (柯蕾俐) and YANG, Zhen-hao (楊鎮豪). 
      This project communicated the kindness and beauty of humanity that through the twelve characters who persist in the power of life.

Photographer YANG, Chen-hao(楊鎮豪) and Mr. LIN, Kunbao (凌𣱣寶)  , 2008.

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