The summer vacation is here. The Taiwan Eden Social Welfare Foundation initiated a youth career exploration course for teenagers and adolescents from disadvantaged communities. The Eden Social Welfare Foundation looks forward to the program they have created for the students to explore their own interest and career paths they desire in the practical working world. Each student will have their own unique job learning experience and be able to seek his own desired goals and dreams.
Rachel Liang (梁文音), a Christian Taiwanese singer and actress and the guardian angel representative of Eden Social Welfare Foundation, led seven middle school students from the Losiong Church’s School in Fangyuan Township, Changhua County, Taiwan on July 13th to Gaibom, a participating Eden guardian restaurant, to be a chefs and cooks for a day. The cooking training procedures are preparation, chopping, stewing, and seasoning, which also included a practical training on how to prepare ingredients, to cook according to the desired taste, and to explain the food and products to their customers.
During the learning process, Gaibom CEO said that they wish to instill in the students positive values alongside the hands-on experience working in their desired professions. Through washing vegetables, they hope to teach them diligence and persistence, boiling/stewing brine soup to teach the method of facing difficulties and challenges in a practical way, chopping to teach that each person has his own ideas and methods, stewing to teach that there are more than one ways to achieve things, and seasoning to teach about their own goals and positioning. This pattern that is similar in preparation and cooking methods will take place in life repetitively, and is also similar to serving customers daily. If we can achieve our own goals at work, then we can also achieve our own life dreams and goals.
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Gaibom store manager Mrs. Zhong, a mother of three, grew up in poverty. Her father was disabled, and there were six siblings at home then. As the eldest daughter, Zhong started working at 16 years old. After her marriage, her husband passed away when their eldest son was in high school. That was when Zhong made the decision to raise up her three children without complaints. Zhong's son grew up and wanted to open a restaurant. As a result, they decided to join the Gaibom restaurant business chain, where she helped her son manage the store's operation.
In the beginning, their business and work process was very challenging and they have faced many difficulties. Zhong expressed that she had thought about giving up the store in the beginning, but she kept her focuse to keep the store open. Zhong mentioned that since they have opened the store, they should endure through the tribulations and keep the store open. Zhong came to the Eden Social Welfare Foundation’s youth career exploration course to encourage the seven disadvantaged middle school students from the Losiong Church’s School in Fangyuan Township, she said: Never let our own disadvantaged upbringing and background affect our purpose in life and hope. Through perseverance and hope, God will arrange a rewarding path for you.
Xiao-Feng, one of the disadvantaged middle school student, is the boy among the four siblings at home. Because his family runs a chicken farm with more than 30,000 chickens, he had to help grab the chickens or disinfect the shacks. With poor grades and low motivation to study, he felt that he would be just fine if he doesn't know how to study. He thought that if he grows up he will just raise chickens with his parents. Eden Social Welfare Foundation's youth career exploration course showed him that raising chickens is not the only career path as predetermined by his upbringing and background.
Xiao-Feng along with other disadvantaged students came to understand that there are many career opportunities that they can choose from, and that they should not limit themselves due to their disadvantaged background. They realized that once they set a goal, they should bravely move forward to achieve their desired goals and dreams.
Hui-Xuan Lu (呂惠萱), supervisor of Eden Elephant Circle Engineering Service Center expressed, “Because of many vulnerable communities’ remoteness and distance from the developed communities, these communities do not have access to teachers and information from the developed communities. Moreover, with the adolescents’ parents busy trying to make ends meet and their lack of extra money to provide additional learning experience for their sons and daughters, majority of the adolescent students are unable nor have the opportunity to find their dream career and aspirations. Some students are even confused about their future life.”
Therefore, the Eden Social Welfare Foundation launched the “Disadvantaged Community Youth Career Exploration Course” to give hope to the adolescents from the disadvantaged communities by providing them with the experience from the career exploration course and to tell the students that their lives could be filled with dreams, aspirations, and imaginations. Coupled with fact that the students are about to enter their high school stage, many students work part-time and go to school part-time due to the students’ family disadvantaged circumstances. Eden Social Welfare Foundation would also like to tell the students that “work is not as simple as it seems, and we will face difficulties any time. When we face difficulties and challenges, we should not give up and be discouraged. Instead, we should persevere.”
[Editor's note: Mike Shih translated the report.]