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At 24, Chien-Hung Liao is a representative of Taiwan's water agency and believes education can show young people the importance of water

Youth has become a tool to change society. I gradually see this changing perception in Taiwan and in the world. The young ones are becoming a tool to improve society. And, as being young, we know that we will be the future leaders, presidents and specialists. When this happens, we will respect the voice of the youth that will come afterwards. And we will pass on to them the importance of listening to the younger ones. Here [at the World Water Forum] I met a number of young people working with water and other themes who can become great leaders in the future. From this interaction with youth, today’s leaders change their horizons, become aware of new cultures and discover different problems. They learn like the youth.

Chien-Hung Liao, or Jeffrey, a representative of Taiwan’s Water Resources Agency, discovered the importance of water and the care one should take with this scarce resource when he saw a poster of the Water Youth Camp, an event aimed at drawing the youth’s attention to the water issue. It was not long before Chien-Hung joined the agency at the age of 20 and became one of the greatest supporters of the cause. Today, at the age of 24, he has won debate competitions about the resource and, also, one of his presentations in favor of water resources has been chosen as the best among his peers.

“Water is really important, but we have no idea of that. I myself didn’t know properly about it until when I took part of this event and saw how essential it is. As a medical student, I can say that we can live without food, but we cannot run out of water. – we die dehydrated”, he says. Taiwan, such as Brazil and other nations, have loss problems in the distribution network, and Chien-Hung believes that by means of his participation in events such as the World Water Forum, it is possible to remind citizens and the government that it is necessary to care for the pipe and repair leaks.

Chien-Hung Liao still doesn’t know what specialization to take in medicine. He thinks about being a surgeon or an emergency room doctor. But Chien-Hung already knows why he wants to be a doctor: “I want to help people”.

“Many get depressed and hit the bottom when they are sick and, as a doctor, I can help get people out of this place. In my opinion, the meaning of life is to bring positive energy to society, to the people around me. If everyone believes that life is worthwhile, we will bring positive energy to the table with enough strength to make society a better place.”

Through the Water Youth Camp, which is already going to its sixth edition in Taiwan, Chien-Hung shows other young people that they need to worry about water. “Education is an important weapon capable of promoting a revolution of the mind. By education, we can change that world, even though gradually. So, I also participate in human rights education activities”.

“We bring human rights materials to schools and teach students about equality and anti-bullying policies. It is very cool because we see through our questionnaires that these materials are well received and that, after getting in touch with our materials, people want to fight against discrimination and bullying. People have changed from the readings, so maybe we can do the same with water in the future. We can educate about water and change the idea of young people about the resource. In Taiwan, water is very cheap, so people spend it without knowing it is so precious”.

Chien-Hung Liao says he has never been a natural-born leader but likes to learn and has been struggling to become an important voice in Taiwan. “I believe that everyone can be a leader if they passionate about something and are willing to listen to what others have to say, by coordinating different ideas, setting a goal and working to make it come true”.

Content published in March 31, 2018

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