Chi Hui-Jung is the CEO of the Garden of Hope Foundation and a well-known Taiwanese activist, who pioneered advocating for the establishment of laws to prevent gender violence (i.e. Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act, Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Sexual Harassment Prevention Act), initiated plans to build shelters for domestic violence survivors, and founded both the Formosan Daughter Awards and Asian Girl Campaign to encourage girls to challenge gender stereotypes.
When Chi entered the Foundation in 1992, it consisted only of a dozen staff members, one shelter room, and one tiny office area. At the very start, the Garden of Hope’s focus was primarily providing shelter services for sexual assault survivors. However, Chi felt more radical change was needed to improve the overall situation of survivors. That was why she decided to combine policy advocacy and social services into the Foundation’s missions, initiating a series of campaigns to push for the establishment of laws in relation to gender violence.
In line with broadening its missions, she expanded the Foundation’s structure to include departments in charge of public relations, research, educational activities, international affairs, advocacy, publications, and marketing. The Garden of Hope has grown to become a well-established organization with a total of 13 branches in Taiwan and one office in New York. It now has more than 500 staff members, over 550 active volunteers and has provided assistance to hundreds of thousands of survivors of gender violence.
Furthermore, Chi brought the Garden of Hope Foundation onto the international stage. She launched an English version website to introduce the Foundation to international audiences, set up branch offices overseas to conduct exchanges between social workers, and has participated in United Nations forums, such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women’s NGO conference and UN Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking under the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. In 2005, under Chi’s leadership, the Garden of Hope Foundation won the prestigious Citigroup #1 Asian NGO Excellence Award. Chi has also received the World of Children Awards and the Kellogg’s Child Development Award for her outstanding contribution to human rights — the first Taiwanese NGO leader to receive the prestigious awards.
Thanks to American playwright Eve Ensler’s wonderful contribution of the Vagina Monolgues, Chi eagerly introduced the play to the Taiwanese public when it first surfaced. For over 10 years now, the PlayBack Theater Group of The Garden of Hope Foundation has kept it to the original script, but since last year, GOH came up with their very own localized Taiwanese Vagina Monologues, named “Shi-Di” (10 clitorises in Mandarin)! It consists of 10 unique Taiwanese stories of the marginalized, oppressed, exploited, abused, and trafficked Taiwanese women.
Starting from 2012, Chi has been an active North-East Asia Regional Coordinator for the One Billion Rising Campaign. This has been an effective way in using art as a way to help both survivors channel their recovering process and raise public awareness on the issue of violence toward women. Along with the OBR campaign, GOH has held annual V-Men Charity Runs to raise awareness of gender violence among the male population. This is much more than running; it is about developing empathy and overall awareness that violence toward women is not just a women’s issue, but it involves all genders.
Today, Chi and the Garden of Hope Foundation are still expanding their efforts to cover more humanitarian issues: fighting against child prostitution, human trafficking, violence against women, providing consultations to teenage mothers, and introducing global best practices on promoting women’s rights.
Northeast Asia: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Mongolia, Korea