Health work first brought Mennonites to Taiwan in 1948 through Mennonite Central Committee’s relief work, but there was also local interest in starting a church. The Mennonite presence in Taiwan today—the Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan—has its roots in both health and church planting.
New Dawn Educare Center is part of that legacy. This award-winning centre for adults with developmental disabilities has a vision to “empower people with disabilities to live a life of independence, holistic personal development and health.”
In 1977, Canadian Mennonite missionaries Otto and Elaine Dirks began a centre to care for children with disabilities who had been abandoned. Today, New Dawn supports children and adults with mental disabilities, with day care, residential care and an employment program.
“New Dawn . . . is crafted to accommodate the multifaceted needs of individuals and families affected by intellectual disability,” says Shu-Yui (Mamie Chiu), New Dawn’s director. “We believe that all people are wonderfully created. We all are different, and we all have limitations.
“In serving the mentally challenged within a Christ-centred community, we enjoy the pleasure of most fully reflecting the image of our Creator,” she adds.
A pastor serves on the New Dawn staff team, ensuring that spiritual care is part of the whole-person support the centre offers. Residents gather for worship every Friday. New Dawn’s location in a mountainous region offers opportunities for farming and conservation activities—holistic care that extends to the environment.
In October 2019, New Dawn was recognized for its quality work, receiving a Presidential Cultural Award for humanitarian dedication, and it had the opportunity to give a speech on selfless love and care at a Next 20 Festival forum.
The Taiwanese Mennonite fellowship, which is an MWC member church, formally established its first congregation in 1955. It currently reports 1,630 baptized members in 22 congregations.