By Kenneth Dickson
Photos by Kenneth Dickson and Patrice Delmotte
Our Island Exhibition, featured in the May 2019 issue of Centered on Taipei, was a recent art photo exhibition held by the photography group Taiwan Exchange Photo Club (TEPC). We organized the exhibition to raise funds to support the charitable work of Father Yves Moal in Yuli, Hualien County.
On the weekend of June 29th~30th, participants from the TEPC exhibition traveled to Yuli to witness for ourselves his life-sustaining work and hand over the funds that we’d raised. Benoit Girardot, Patrice Delmotte, Patrick Drouet, Judy Chen (陳豐崒), and Kenneth Dickson all descended on the Saint Andrew Special Education Center & Mission in Yuli to discover what the mission is all about, and Moal’s plans for the donations. There we were warmly welcomed into the family by Moal, residents and volunteers alike for lunch, dinner, and a detailed tour of all the facilities.
During our visit, Moal explained the scope of the programs. The work has developed into a number of specific social action programs that address various community needs. They all share the common theme of re-integrating residents and workers into society. Patrice Delmotte, founder of TEPC, describes these social action programs as “not a source of income, but a place of re-integration and welcome.”Father Moal has worked as a missionary for the people of Yuli for over forty years, focusing on helping the physically, mentally, and socially- challenged residents of his community. His efforts to care for and help these members of society live meaningful lives have earned him nationwide recognition in the form of a Presidential Culture Award and more recently, Taiwanese citizenship.
SAINT ANDREW MISSION
Saint Andrew Special Education Center in Yuli works with about fifty residents, many of whom need long term care for their specific disabilities. Located in Yuli, it forms the core of the mission with residential facilities, sorting areas, community areas, and a chapel. When we arrived, residents were singing their hearts out in the large hall on the Karaoke machine. We were warmly greeted by them all, as was Father Moal, before they headed off for showers and dinner.
YI FENG GARDEN CARE HOME
Situated in Fuli Township nearby, this is a brand-new care facility designed to meet the needs of the elderly members in his care. Moal has labored intensively in creating Yi Feng Garden, so that the physically and mentally-challenged can find a home once they grow old and no longer have family members to care for them. Over four years in construction, the Care Home is now almost finished, but much remains to be done before the facility receives its first residents.
THE RECYCLING PLANT
The Recycling Plant is the center of Moal’s efforts to improve Yuli’s environment, create a reliable work environment, and generate additional revenue for all the social action programs. Many kinds of garbage are collected from drop-off points around Yuli for transporting and sorting into saleable and recycleable containers at the Center. Pre-loved items are available for resale in the Recycling Center’s new store, including clothes, books, and other household items. Yuli residents donate their unwanted goods here for this purpose.
Bulk recycled materials are then sold on to upstream recyclers. The Recycling Center is staffed by day-release patients from the neighboring Yuli Veterans Hospital, recently released prisoners who are re-integrating back into the community, and those who might otherwise be homeless for various reasons.
The Farm is the latest venture in creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of fruits and vegetables. The vegetables and fruit will all be grown in their own composted material using no pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Future plans include manufacturing natural composting material, expanding the range and quantity of vegetable production, and rearing egg-laying chickens. The composted materials, vegetables, and high-protein eggs will be primarily used for their own needs, but the excess will be sold on to organic farms, stores or restaurants in the local area.
In short, Moal’s mission is to build a virtuous cycle in Yuli that reinforces the importance of local actions for the benefit of local people and the local environment. In a throwaway single-use society, Moal’s ambitions to bring people together through love for each other and for the Planet Earth are divinely inspired.
So the Our Island Exhibition is only a very small step in helping Moal’s social action programs. The important question for all participants, visitors and readers is, of course: How can we continue to help Father Moal so that even more people can benefit from the social and environmental goals of his work?
FATHER YVES MOAL
Father Yves Moal has worked as a missionary for the people of Yuli in southern Taiwan for over forty years. He was recently rewarded for his dedication and service with the Presidential Culture Award. He still serves his parish and residents in Yuli to this day. You can find his centers via the links below. Connect with St. Andrew community via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anders/
TEPC TAIWAN EXCHANGE PHOTO CLUB
A monthly meeting of photographers founded by Patrice Delmotte in Taipei that discusses a selection of photographs submitted by participants. It welcomes constructive criticism and advice on technique as well as art. Every two years, the group organizes an exhibition of the photographers’ works to raise money for deserving charities and causes in Taiwan.
To find out more, join the group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TEPCpatrice/
Kenneth Dickson has been an active member of several photography groups, including TEPC, for the past couple of years. He loves Tamsui for its cooler evenings, warm evening golden hours, and a gentler pace of life. It’s a great place to discover Taiwan with your camera!