Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan’s ASUS Foundation has made a matching donation of 50 laptop computers after the Embassy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) purchased that same number for delivery to teachers in areas of the Caribbean country that were most heavily affected by a major volcanic eruption last year, the embassy said Wednesday.
As part of a “partnership of benevolence,” the multinational computer hardware and consumer electronics company delivered 100 laptop computers to the Embassy of SVG on June 8, according to a press release from the embassy.
Half of the laptops were purchased directly from ASUS at a specially discounted price, and the company made a matching donation of 50 units, SVG Ambassador to Taiwan Andrea Bowman told CNA in a follow-up interview Thursday.
“We got in touch with the ASUS Foundation, we said to them we would like to purchase 50 laptop computers, and we are inviting you to partner with us by donating an additional 50, so we get to be able to send 100 of these laptop computers to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the teachers, specifically in the (volcano) Red and Orange zones who will be working with the children there,” Bowman said.
Children from 18 elementary and secondary schools in the designated Red and Orange zones in SVG have been having hybrid classes – some online and some in-person – since the eruption of La Soufriere volcano last year that resulted in the evacuation of thousands of people, and also due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Bowman.
In an effort to assist those students access online education, the Taiwanese sportswear company SHEICO last November donated 150 tablet computers to SVG, via its Taipei embassy, Bowman said.
“This is what we are working on, a blended approach with a gradual return to face-to-face (learning), but as it is right now, we can never say the pandemic is finished,” Bowman said.
The efforts by the SVG embassy to help with the country’s recovery after the April 9, 2021 volcanic eruption also resulted in a pledge of over NT$850,000 (US$30,579) by Tunghai University’s Alumni Association New Taipei branch at a fundraising luncheon last November, Bowman said, adding that some of the money was used to purchase the 50 laptops from ASUS.
Furthermore, that same month, Tunghai University and the SVG embassy signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tunghai’s International Elite Cultivation Program, which will grant St. Vincent and the Grenadines a total of 40 scholarships over a five-year period, she said.
Expressing appreciation for the efforts of Taiwanese businesses and Tunghai University, Bowman said she also hopes Taiwanese will start investing in SVG to deepen and strengthen bilateral relations, as there are currently no Taiwanese investors in her country.
“I’m aware of the global challenges for businesses all over the world right now, the disruption to supply chains and things like that, but this is why we have to find new partnerships, we have to go into new alliances, to make new connections,” she said. “And I think the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is just right for this new partnership.”
Taiwan and the SVG established diplomatic relations in 1981, resulting in over 40 years of warm ties that have been further cemented by 10 visits to Taiwan by SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
(By William Yen)
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