Session 3: “Revitalizing” the Local
Hsiufan Lin and Yuyu Liu
Hsiu Fan Lin (林秀芃) was born in Taipei in 1990. Lin moved to Singapore for secondary education before returning to Taiwan for college. While studying Law at National Taiwan University, they joined a student activist group that took action on issues of cultural conservation and care for marginalized communities. Lin also participated in the protests against the wrong siting of wind turbines in Yuanli in 2013, and co-founded Yuanli Hi Home with Liu Yu Yu to seek solutions for rural issues. Lin currently engages with the community in rural revitalization and grassroots democracy. Lin is currently a graduate student in the Institute of Journalism, National Taiwan University.
Yu Yu Liu (劉育育) was born in Yuanli Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan, in 1985. Liu studied psychology and participated in social movement as an undergraduate student in Fu Jen University. Afterward, she worked in community college in New Taipei City before returning to her hometown to join a protest against the siting of wind turbines which were too near to villages. Having spotted problems and challenges in Yuanli and other towns in rural areas, Liu decided to stay in Yuanli and launch a social enterprise, Yuanli Hi Home, which tackles issues regarding rural revitalization. Liu is currently a graduate Student in the Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University.
Yuanli Township is located in Miaoli County, a rural county that has staggering public finance and frail public sector. Here we experience substantial population outflow to neighborhood cities, downward spiral of economy, lack of vibrancy and fraying of social fabric. Most local community organizations precariously bank on limited public resources and hence become incapable of leading any social change. Yuanli Hi Home is a youth group committed in rural revitalization, and we secure our financial independence to a certain degree by selling local agricultural produce and traditional rush-weaving handicraft so as to keep a critical view on the weak and sometimes questionable local governance.
In order to address the pressing needs of rural area, Yuanli Hi Home, established in 2014 after the Sunflower Movement and local environmental protest, initiate projects that aim to create common ground and interactive space for people of different backgrounds to share their ideas, efforts or to build bonding, and therefore, form the basis of a a larger sense of belonging. We open up a community bookstore to bring in different ideas via speeches, workshops, movie screening and musical performance. We organize annual music festival, Hi Home Festival, that engages volunteers to work for the local communities, develops the basis for a local farmers’ market and promote cultural events. We also set up a local “Ministry of Taro and Education” in which we raise funds by selling local agricultural product, taro, and channel the profits for after-school programs for the underprivileged high school students and community services for the elderly or other. marginalized groups. We also strive to preserve the cultural heritages in the town, such as the traditional market building established during the Japanese colonial period.
About us: https://www.facebook.com/taketheseawind