Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Students use Web to help Aboriginal villagers displaced by Typhoon Herb

By Chen Ping-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Taiwan University’s Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program students display their fundraising items in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

Some of the residents of an Aboriginal village who lost their homes to typhoons almost two decades ago will soon fulfill their long-held dreams of moving into permanent new homes, thanks to a group of university students.

The National Taiwan University’s Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program started a fundraiser in May titled “The Hopes of the Homes of Rainbow,” to help the Aboriginal village Hagay (哈凱) in Taoyuan County’s Fuhsing Township (復興).

The effort raised NT$1.1 million (US$33,400) to help the village rebuild and to refurbish the homes the government promised to build in compensation.

When the village sustained heavy damage in Typhoon Herb in 1996, the residents were forced to live in temporary shelters. Although the housing promised by the government is expected to be finished in August this year, it will not contain any furniture.

The students said villagers would have to spend about NT$650,000 per family to furnish the homes, adding that they wanted to help through an innovative method.

Program director Hou Chao-yuan (侯朝元) said students set up online shops for the village, linked to Sunny Hills, a bakery in Taipei, online cash transfer services through E.Sun Bank’s system and refrigerated delivery services from President Transnet Corp.

The cakes ordered from the bakery cost NT$390 each, Hagay Sustainable Development Association director Chang Chih-hsiung (張志雄) said, adding that the most impressive order was from a pair of newlyweds who ordered 150 cakes at a total cost of NT$58,500.

The students sold 4,000 cakes in two months, a difficult feat to accomplish Chang said.

“We wish to thank the students for helping us,” Chang said, adding that the entire community was extremely grateful.

E.Sun Bank also donated NT$100,000, raising the total to NT$1.1 million.

The orders included a CD of villagers singing and postcards made by artists A Mai (阿邁) and Hsi Lan (西嵐), to offer more than just commercial value, the program said.

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