campus scenes


Students Help Homeless Tradesmen Repair Homes of Disadvantaged

In a small, inconspicuous housing unit, dim lights flicker against a leaky ceiling and a four-month-old baby lies on a simple makeshift mattress.  Unable to afford home repair, the baby’s single mother is fortunate that KIGE Studio has agreed to step in free of charge.

Run by the Homeless Taiwan Foundation, the KIGE Studio project links homeless people who possess skills in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical repair with disadvantaged families in need of home repair and renovation services.  Not only does KIGE provide the workmen’s salary so that they can earn an income and feel more closely connected to society, it also covers the cost of the materials needed for the repairs.

However, just nine months after the project was launched, the project’s major repairman, Master Wu, who had himself been homeless, found steady employment and was preparing to leave.  Having helped improve the living conditions of numerous needy families, he was unfortunately unable to stay on because the project’s funds were near exhaustion.  This was when a group of students from the NTU Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program got involved and provided crucial assistance that enabled the project to continue.

During the summer of 2015, the CEP students set about applying the knowledge they had gained through the program to help the studio with its operations.  Turning to a crowdfunding website for financial support, the students provided assistance in arranging a long-term source of funding for projects, and also created a video clip as well as other promotional information to build KIGE’s brand image.  Within less than one month after kicking off their crowdfunding campaign, the revitalized project had already raised nearly NT$1.2 million.

One CEP student says he initially believed KIGE Studio would have to stop providing free services for disadvantaged households if it intended to stay in the black.  Later, however, he was persuaded by the project’s principle of “helping people help themselves,” and discovered through his work for the crowdfunding campaign that it was exactly that principle that had drawn people to donate.

Another student’s experience with the project helped him arrive at a new point of view.  He reported that he had realized that people are not divided by their living status, adding, “The difference between us and the so-called disadvantaged and homeless is actually not as great as some imagine it to be.”