Balanced Development and Common Prosperity
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. Shattered after Typhoon Morakot, communities in Liou-Guei District revived gradually. Kaohsiung Baulai Association of Culture and Humanity applied for the "Empowering Employment Program" (EEP) launched by Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Mistry of Labor since 2012. With assistance from EEP, the Association was able to develop new industries and witness splendid growth on community welfare and vulnerable group care in addition to community empowerment, public education, and art sites.
Having the establishment of "Culture Shared Space," the Association gathers individuals, pushes multiple affairs forward, builds innovation industries with community workshop, and cultivates the Three Vital Functions" (production, life, and ecology) and Three Powers (innovation, energy, and charm) sustainable lifestyle and industry. In addition to the National Sustainable Development Awards 2016 given by Executive Yuan, the Association received Taiwan Town Brand Award 2018. All the prosperity is the perseverance sown step by step.
▲The project manager Li Wan-lin (left) and Lu Yueh-ru pushed community affairs with their best after the foundation is well-prepared, they led the Association step into the next phase.
Even the Giants Need A Tiny Help, Mutual Dependent Forms Firm Cooperation
Surrounded by Mountains and abundant ecosystem, Baulai possessed with outstanding qualification. Due to the geographical factors, it required to apply Mountain Permits to enter Baulai in the old times. Before stepping on the connecting bridge, a set of utensils for tea service would be provided under a mango tree next to the village entrance to allow passengers to rest a while and keep on moving. Nowadays, people recreated a conceptually similar building called "Culture Shared Space" that is precisely in the same location. With significant pottery industries, natural dye, and kiln catering, they promote many cultural developments that connect each dimension and reinforces the skills of seniors and human resources. In this way, these members can dedicate themselves as a way to participate in the community while the steps of sustainable development become stronger.
The seniors are believers of the say: "Even the giants need a tiny help." A group would scatter like sands without the spirit of teamwork. It's vital to assemble each individual and unleash their potential through the community public education. Nevertheless, it's always easier said than done. Issues came along when they encountered adjustments and enterprise management. Both Lu and Li paid much effort to it since the day they started to sketch. They kept in mind how to enlarge the scope of what you are doing and try to imagine your work's future shape. Visionary matters. Once a mutually beneficial result or a common good situation was created, the community would not stop as programs end. On the contrary, it would become a snowball running, growing, and bringing in endless possibilities to the community.
It is worth mentioning that the different opinions brought by the members of the Association at the post-disaster recovery period. Although everyone has his/her stance, the general idea has been and will always be sustainability for the community. Obstacles won't be the case. Recently, the Association keeps constructing community empowerment, public education, and art site. At the same time, the Association accumulates human resources and develops skills to change seniors from being vulnerable to leading roles. Meanwhile, more industries are designed for environmental education and pass on culture.
At first, people wanted to soothe their minds after the disaster. Still, now they have faith in common and move forward together, create the value of seniors and integrate resources just like passing on their culture, and further help other communities with the accumulated experiences. It started from Baulai, then extended this model to other areas in Liou-Guei District.
A New Life Made with Interdependence of Nature, Walls, and Stoves
To develop the community in the long term, they redefine their position and would like to coexist with nature. People changed the shared space to a new workshop, which was simple and just like a tiny office in the past. Villagers build their new home with traditional materials and apply them to create mud walls to form up a cob house. They even conveyed the concept of "under the big mango tree" straightforward on the appearance design of the new workshop. Travelers would wonder and be impressed, and this would be their first concept of Baulai.
There is a giant traditional stove that allows villagers of all ages to make rice dumplings and eventually bring people together. With the increasing interactions, people are closer than ever, just like the old times. After they finished the big stove, a kiln made of straw and clay came alone. Since the oven performs well, bakery and pizza become a popular and delicious choice seen on the table. The combination of west and east is just like how the community passes down their culture, the old and the new merged.
With assistance from EEP, their brand extended to pottery, plant dye, and kiln catering. The teachers lead the class, and group leaders manage and assign tasks, each one gets their sop, then gradually find a balanced method to work together, the products are getting better both in quantity and quality. A project manager is responsible for the northern market, experience classes, guided tours are the most promoted services. Hoping that the whole area could be prosperous, the Association shares their experiences with other communities in recent years.
▲The three pillars of the Association's industry are pottery, plant dye, and kiln catering, which enables them to promote multidimensional affairs.
Groped Along the Dark Passage, Bold but Careful
Although there are professional pieces of equipment and production line that manufactures goods with excellent qualities, nevertheless, accurate coloring technology made the items look dull. Only they produce the fabric in natural coloring approaches, and it would show a tender, gradually faded continuum. They tried countless experiments then they figured out how to quality control. Once there was a six hundred booking asking for plant dying products when they are still armatures. Seasonal factors directly affect the dying materials taken from plants, and there was thick oil floating atop of the liquids cooked for dying. As a result, the fabric was awful as a terrible loss. They learned from this and improved a lot. Now they are quite a character even in the famous "Breeze" fancy department market.
They were combining concepts of production, life, and ecology, pottery, and plant dye to show honesty and sincerity, which attracts consumers with the same idea. With their core values, the three studios used EPP as their pillars and further set up short, long term goals. For example, charity trips and environmental, and they designed significant products such as cultural heritages. At the same time, they control costs and analyze in the output process, then adapted this module to the most profitable scheme.
Make the life industry practical and add interest to it. The Association anticipates second visits. When it's about time to admire plum blossom and fireflies, tourists flock in without a pause. As mentioned earlier, there is a tea service shelter for travelers; the Association applies this convention on tourists so that they can experience memories hidden in history. Collocated with eco-tour guidance and DIY classes, a trip for one day would be satisfactory.
Preparing for the Next Phase, Foundation is All That Matters
The shared space is nine years. From the preliminary step, they made regulations and then staff training. They sought a universal value and work together, education passing down generation to generation, they want to keep the most valuable resources of their land. Challenged with unconventional problems, Li keeps study and enrich her knowledge as a project manager. She took courses in the graduate school of management, no vanity, no big greedy plans. She prefers to pave a solid foundation practically because she knew that only when you stand firmly do you take a further leap with confidence. The results are apparent, and the community agreed upon her efforts.
The picture is getting clear that you have to think in higher latitude and include the overall factors; you have to expand your vision outside the Association. Aside from taking part in organic markets, they also reinforce their brand anchoring, as well as promote the three studios they also push the entire area to the front as a strategy to help others to make a brand with building kiln and create a brand. Mutual benefits take everyone to grow.
Case Story - Empowering Employment Program
Project managers Li Wan-lin and Lu Yueh-ru - Kaohsiung Baulai Association of Culture and Humanity
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Please attribute this article to “Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor.”