Taipei-Migrant fishermen are in for a treat this festive season as they have been invited to a Christmas celebration in Yilan County's Su'ao Township as part of efforts to ensure that they are not marginalized, the organizers said Thursday.
At the "Christmas Celebration -- Wellness for Fishermen in Su'ao," scheduled to take place Dec. 21, some 300 people are expected to attend the township's Holy Trinity Catholic Church to celebrate Christmas with the fishermen, said Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet, assistant parish priest at Saint Christopher's Church in Taipei and chaplain to Vietnamese migrant workers.
The celebration will include a mass, Christmas dinner, team-building games, performances and a gift exchange, said Thiet, who provides his services to fishermen in the area every week.
During the festivities, some migrant workers will play team-building games with the fishermen, while students from the Dominican International School in Taipei will give gifts and cards they have prepared.
"Many schools are now interested in the topic of the welfare of migrant fishermen," Thiet said, adding that his church has received donations from the public of hats, clothing and groceries to be given to the fishermen.
One local woman who declined to be named told CNA she found out about the plight of the fishermen and donated around 20 kilograms of clothes.
"The purpose of the event is to let the fishermen know they are not forgotten and are welcomed by society. I am really glad that students are willing to attend the event because it reflects that we are united in showing our care for migrant fishermen," Thiet said.
Leoni Pascual Ngo, a staffer at the Migrant Workers' Concern Desk of the Catholic Archdiocese of Taipei, said free medical advice and CPR lessons will also be offered at the event to the fishermen.
The welfare of fishermen came under the media spotlight earlier this year when a bridge collapsed into the harbor at Nanfang'ao in October, taking the lives of six migrant fishermen and leaving some 19 homeless when their boats were destroyed.
The incident sent shock waves through the country as the media reported on the poor working and living conditions of migrant fishermen.
Su'ao Township's Nanfang-ao Port is one of Taiwan's major bases for coastal fishing, with over 1,000 migrant fishermen living and working in the area.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel