Scroll below for Answers! Feel free to email me as well.
1. What types of organizations do you target?
Everyone needs our help but I generally target non-profits that are often overlooked; organizations lacking governmental funding that are not under the umbrella of larger parent NPOs, local grassroots movements, and those that provide service to niche needs in their community. I’m also very excited about start-up projects by individuals and these are usually real cool fun projects everyone can take part in.
2. Why did you start this site?
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”- Edward Abbey
There are various reasons, first of all I feel that all of us are capable of making a change. Secondly, I want people to be active in getting to really know their local community by listening and seeing problems not as “tweeted” or “reported on” but firsthand – then being able to get involved, make a difference, and realize the potential power of impact of one individual can have. Thirdly, I want to move beyond the now, go full circle back to basics in one on one human interaction. No more computer, mobile, tablet screens where we can just click or tap like but now we take on a physical form and presence to others. We are not just a “profile” or a biography snippet limited to 300 words, but so much more – and so are others out there.
Adding a fourthly of why local proactivism? Because it’s a bit more environmentally friendly. Also because we need to open up our eyes to what is in our immediate surroundings. We don’t need to travel to far off places to find people that need help, things that can be done are all around us. They aren’t problems that exist somewhere else, it’s right here, right now – and we can do something about it. If we could all make that positive change in ourselves and around us, we will change the world.
Lastly and just added at the end of 2012 is that I am also quite involved in political activism. But this is only a reaction, only when a disease has spread to the root of society after we have long stopped caring and being actively involved in our own communities. Some of the volunteer opportunities are after the fact to provide a band aid. Others are preventive and can make a difference. Find out where you fit and take action.
3. What is the purpose of this site?
You can check out the mission statement but the main gist is to be have each and every one of us become a catalyst for positive social change in our community. This also leads into providing organizations and others with a team of volunteers so that positive social impact we want to see won’t just be making a ripple, but a wave.
4. How is this site different from other volunteer sites?
It’s not a dead site – I try to keep this as updated as possible volunteer opportunities that are based locally in Taiwan. I want to give non-Hanyu speakers interactive volunteer opportunities that’s not just based on their ability to speak English to just translate text. This site also features various categories since I view everything as being interconnected, including our actions, instead of being singularly focused on one issue so this site is a resource for all.
5. How did you find these organizations/groups?
Either I have searched actively for these or have been referred to them via friends and acquaintances. I try to first visit and volunteer at the organizations myself before promoting them but for the time being I am posting any opportunities that do come along. True to my word (big yay and honest surprise!), I have visited each and every organization I posted on in 2011. I hope be able to continue this trend in 2012. I want to emphasize here I’m also very interested in not just organizations or what may seem like well-formed groups, but individuals who are starting a project and need volunteers!
6. What are the legalities of volunteering as a foreigner in Taiwan?
One should always be on the lookout in every country they are in, please read our disclaimer policy. Under the law, although doubtful on enforcement, volunteering for foreigners even under tourist or work visa is not permitted. I am working on looking into getting non-paid volunteer opportunities clarified with the government so hang tight!
7. What can I do if I am tied down by the volunteer policies?
It’s a tragedy but I don’t believe this can stop you from supporting organizations and grassroot movements in other ways. You can email me or the organization and let them know that you will be at their event, showing up, saying hello and supporting them. You are always welcomed to donate items or funds as well. Some activities such as my own personal clothing drives could always use a helping hand in sorting out items or loading/unloading and this site will aim to also provide these types of small communal activities that asks for participants. I will mark these in the category “COMMUNITY.” And of course, everyone can reduce, reuse, and recycle! We don’t really have compost bins in Taiwan but we have slop bins for the pigs!
To the best of my knowledge, activities that may have minor compensation will be tagged under “EXCHANGE” and those that have political tinges under “POLITICAL ACTIVISM” – these are the two types of events volunteers need to wary of but always use your own personal judgment in every situation.
8. What are your future plans for “Handful of Sapphires”?
I’m looking forward to expanding this to an interactive site with member logins as to empower both organizations and volunteers alike to searching for what they need instead of dependencies on a mere mortal such as myself! Would love to have people proactive in their communities, speak up, have opinions, and make a positive difference. I also look forward to being able to interview community movers and shakers that are overlooked. Those who start off with differences at home and don’t think they “are doing very much” shying away from the spotlight are those I love to applaud.
9. Who are you?
A regular person who wants to make a change in their life and to do so, on the path in making these changes one step at a time starting with myself. I ceased working for corporations and companies that promote a ‘profit over people’ mentality and supporting the life entities on this living earth my life’s priority. This is not a lifestyle but the only way to live. I’ll be starting up a journal at some point when I’m not so busy but I’ve been quite thrilled thus far, albeit there have been bridges that have to be burned in order for new paths to appear.
10. Why “Handful of Sapphires”?
I flipped open one of my favorite books that has greatly influenced me over the years and selected a phrase. The book in question is SHOCK TREATMENT written by Karen Finley and published by City Lights which I highly recommend.
11. Who is the artist of the banner on the home page?
San Francisco artist Richard Colman, an unfortunate all too tiny snapshot of one of his amazing productions of bears. The full image has been my wallpaper for the longest time.