"When we heard the elders of the Zou tribe say their name of their own language, we were very touched to finally become one of them!" Chung Cheng University's "Homeyaya Ali Community Workshop" has been founded for two years, and not only do they spend a two hour ride on the early bus from National Chung Cheng University to Ali mountain Shanmei tribe to provide classes for tribal children, but they also act as navigation volunteers to help residents recover Danaiku's past glorious tourism state. Although during the hard process the members were at the verge of losing momentum, "but when we once again see people's content smile, all the hard work is worth it."
"This is where community resources is most needed!" Two years ago, member Zhao Haohong was a home attendant at Chiayi County Family Support Center, he realized that the elderly of Zou tribe at Mount Ali lacked social care, and was in great need of social welfare institutions to invest resources. What's worse, the hurricane in 2012 destructed the ecological landscape in Danaiku, causing the tribes to lose economical support which came from tourism. "If we don't do it, who will?" Zhao Haohong said, so he gathered five students from the Department of Social Welfare of National Chung Cheng University to roll up their sleeves and devote in tribal community work.
When the students were embarking on community work, the first problem they encountered was "what should we do?" They approached the tribe's church pastor to find educational resources, then spend two hours every weekend to going up the mountain, and prepared materials to teach children English. In addition, due to the hurricane in 2012 that struck Danaiku ecological park, the number of visitors to gradually drop, so the park could not afford so many employees, as a result they could not restore tourism in the area. Seeing Seeing this, the students volunteered to sell tickets during the summer vacation, plant archiving and road maintaining, greet visitors with smiles, but also a carefully record Danaiku's plants and trees.
The tribal people could see the efforts of the students of CCU. After being volunteers for a few weeks, the tribal people put up a feast on the last night before the students leave to express their gratitude, while giving each member a Zou language name, to officially include them as members of the tribe.
With the increase of the mountain service team members, the expense for traffic teaching materials became a burden, so in September this year, the students applied for the enactment of "Homeyaya Ali Community Workshop," hoping to apply for funds from agencies to continue to help people solve the difficulties tribal education and economic of Shanmei tribe. "From the beginning of five unofficial members to now nearly 20 people in the group, I still cannot believe it." One of the initial founder Luo Yu Jie said. Now, they will invite scholars of CCU weekly to share initial understanding of mountain ecosystems with people, the mentality, knowledge and experience of getting along with the aboriginals, to let members learn how to narrow the gap between the local residents.
"I hope through wholesaling agricultural products from the mountains, we can help children of Shanmei tribe to raise learning materials costs." A few days ago students of the Homeyaya Ali Community Workshop used their own money to buy their agricultural products, handicrafts, paintings and postcards produced by the children. Not only teachers and students can purchase goods at reasonable prices without going to the mountains, the students also gave the income to local residents.
"We are not providing services for the tribe, but we literally live witht them!" The workshop will continue to provide services for the Alishan Zou tribe, in addition to planning a "recreation camp" with the tribal people in the winter vacation, allowing local children to understand their own culture, but also the students plan to take the children to help the elderly living alone to clean and tidy their environment.