My name is Malinda Angeline Schultz and I am the founder of The Wufong Project. I was born and raised in California, USA. I grew up in a large family of eight. We sang, danced, practiced arts and played sports. We grew up appreciating our livelihood and always wanted to help others in need. I have always had a love to travel. During my travels I noticed that many people need help in this world. So I wanted to create a plan to help those in need. So, I created and organized the Wufong Project in Chingchuan Village, Taiwan. I figured if I act locally and think globally a positive outcome will surely occur.
When I first came to Chingchuan (Wufong), it was during an annual expat festival called “Peace Fest.” I fell in love with the village and the people. What captured my soul was the singing of the Chingshuan Children’s Choir. Their voices gave me chills up my spine and their dedication to their heritage was apparent and amazing. The color of their traditional clothing and their dances put my soul at ease so I wanted to learn more.
I learned that Chingchuan Village is inhabited by a small population of the Atayal Tribe, some of the oldest indiginous peoples of Taiwan. They have been through decades of repression from various political sects and forced into poverty. Poverty combined with an isolated location leaves the children with little opportunity to succeed. They have minimal education and many cases of drug and alcohol abuse. This was sad to me because it seems that they will never be able to keep their heritage alive with so many cracks in the foundation. So I wanted to help.
I met up with a man named Father Barry. He is a Jesuit Priest耶穌會神父 from San Diego, California, who has lived there for over 35 years. Father Barry has been a great leader in their community helping most of the children stay clear of drugs, alcohol and bad behaviors. He supplies the children with safe and secure environment while helping them keep their indiginous culture alive. I came to him with my plan to raise money and awareness for the Chingchuan school while at the same time educating the children through means of creativity and art . We agreed to raise money for a long needed Community Activity Center.
We gathered professional photographers, artists, writers, documentary specialists and many more to help with a three part workshop.
The first workshop was the most important. The Photo Workshop. We taught them basic photography skills while using their beautiful surroundings as inspiration. It was a great success and most importantly the children had fun. The children were given a single use camera and two weeks to complete the 27 exposures. They were instructed to take photos of their lives, village and beauty around them.
The second workshop was The Art Workshop.We taught the children Abstract Art, Still Life Sketching and Group Atayal Tribal Art on four large canvas’s. The children loved The Art Workshop so much that they stayed all afternoon to paint.
The third and final workshop was the Photobook Workshop. The children recieved their photos in 4×6 form and put them into a hand made photobook for people to see and for them to keep. This is a great way for the children to remember the project and most importantly the way they view their lives in the village. At the end of each workhop the children would always ask us “When are you coming back?”
After the workshops were completed and the children were full of art and creativity, we were able to select the best photos and art works to be framed and auctioned off at the Pavilion of Aroma of Flowers (Aboriginal Cultural and Creative Arts Venue) in Taipei. All proceeds will go to the building of the Chingchuan Community Center. Please join us as we make a positive difference in this world, one child at a time.