Rebuilding NoTorture.org in honor of my grandpa,
a political prisoner for more than 30 years
Rebuilding a Website for a Team that Helps Rebuild Lives
Volunteering to revamp the website of Survivors of Torture, International has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve been involved in, allowing me to help a lean team make a huge impact.
Personal Mission Meets Professional Skills
When I started looking for volunteer opportunities in early 2015, I wanted to find a project that could leverage my professional skills set while also honoring the memory of my close family members. When I saw the call for help from Survivors of Torture, International, I knew it was the perfect project for me.
Survivors of Torture, International is a non-profit organization that helps refugees and asylum seekers from around the world who have survived torture and political oppression. Based in San Diego, the team is located in one of the top destinations for refugees in the United States, putting them in a unique position to have a large impact in a community that has endured unthinkable oppression and hardship. When they posted a volunteer project for a WordPress-friendly web developer, I knew I had to act.
Having set up several WordPress sites in the past for friends, family and occasional freelance projects, I knew I could step in and immediately fit their needs. I also saw this as a great way to keep my HTML and CSS skills sharp, as well as shift my perspective. Since becoming a product manager, I was used to being at the helm of product development by formulating a data-driven product backlog and roadmap. In this project, I was on the other end of building an online product, doing the hands-on work to realize the vision of my client.
When a Personal Agenda is a Good Thing
When my mom was an infant, military police came to our family’s house in Taiwan and took my grandpa away without any explanation, holding him in a location secret to our family. They never knew if they would see him again. My grandpa would spend more than 35 years in a remote island prison, and was only released after aggressive international petition with help from Amnesty International.
A well-educated pharmacist providing medical aid to his community, the prime of his life was taken from him simply because he voiced displeasure with a corrupt and oppressive martial law government. I can’t go back in time and protect my family from what happened, but I can help provide a safer and more supportive life for other families experiencing the same torment in today’s world.