Their Healthy Food Helps Educate Taiwan’s Needy Children

Taiwan
By:: 
Zhang Xintian

This article is also available in [繁體中文] | [简体中文] 

Taipei-based Ai Yi Jia Qin is one of the country’s most well-loved social enterprises. Zhang Xin Tian meets the founders.

Ms Yu and Ms Chen

Ai Yi Jia Qin founders Yu Su-hua and Ms Chen Jui-chu set up a community-based school rooted in Chinese classic learning in 1998. Over the years, the school started a social enterprise, a food production business, as well as a café whose profits go towards sustaining the education centre known as Ai Yi Jia Qin (“Love Brings Families Together”).  

We speak to Su-Hua and Jui-Chu about their challenging and fulfilling journey as social entrepreneurs.  

 

Why did you start Ai Yi Jia Qing?

We believe that children are born kind-hearted, but without proper guidance, they lose their way. This is particularly so for children from disadvantaged families. If nobody extends their arms to embrace them, they will become new social problems.

Character-building is our focus and Chinese classic teaching is our tool. The latter approach uses classic texts from Ancient China specifically dedicated to teach children moral values. We designed these classic-reading classes to suit the children by enriching the classes with interaction games, experiential learning and storytelling.

We used our savings and borrowed loans to set up Gong Xin Lian Yuan (literally Cultivate Heart Lotus Garden) Chinese classics class. It was the beginning of the community-based education centre promoting holistic education through Chinese traditional culture. The programmes offered range from caretaking, English, and even Ukulele. Students also participate in cultural celebrations during Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year and Vesak Day, and regular community volunteer work. There is also a curriculum for adults with topics ranging from career growth to digital education.

All are welcome, regardless of their ability to pay. Soon, people who believed in us donated. Small amounts accumulated and grew into our own foundation. We wish to nurture all, rich and poor alike.

 

What does the education centre do?

We are more than an education centre, but a school of life, and a community! We feel that high grades and competition should not be the only focus of education. What will the future be like if there is no respect and kindness? Our mission is to nurture a generation with character and conscience.

That is why we use Chinese classics to guide our children. Besides Chinese classics, we have diverse courses and activities for both children and adults, ranging from English and computer skills to lion dance and Buddhist traditions.

On top of classroom learning, we maintain a respectful environment and organize volunteer activities for children to practice what they learn.

Ai Yi Jia Qin products

 

Ai Yi Jia Qin is not a charity but a social enterprise. How does it sustain its business?

We employ women-in-need who produce and sell traditional Chinese baked goods and other food products. By doing so, we create job opportunities for single mothers and new female immigrants. Our revenue is used to support Geng Hsin Lien Yuan Foundation, which offers education to disadvantaged children. 

Indeed, as a social enterprise, we have limited funding because families pay according to their means. We are fortunate to have a committed group of staff that treats Ai Yi Jia Qin as their home. For instance, during the economic crisis, teachers voluntarily reduced their salary by 20% so we could sustain our operations.

We are creatively exploring ways to be sustainable. We now have our own healthy food workshop, where volunteers cook with love. You can support us by ordering through our website or Facebook.

Volunteer mothers making homemade pineapple tarts

Our active participation and winning of various competitions generate media exposure. More people know about us, and buying our product or donating to help fund our education initiatives. We won the Female Entrepreneurship Social Enterprise category champion.

For our food workshop, our ice rice dumping was proudly voted number two in an Apple Daily feature. Ice rice dumplings are a dessert that comes in an assortment of flavours like sesame walnut, mocha red bean, black sugar red bean, ice sugar sweet potato.

At the same time, we actively collaborate with other social enterprises, and get support from big companies such as DBS Taiwan – whose staff volunteers have done everything from packing jiao zi dumplings into boxes for us as, and even facilitated the redesign of our corporate identity through their agency.

 

What can we expect from Ai Yi Jia Qin in the future?

We have many exciting programmes ahead, such as expanding our healthy food workshop, organizing various camps, and setting up teacher training programmes.

The biggest and most challenging project however, is Ming Lun Yuan (literally Clear Moral Garden) Family-oriented School. This is a bold experiment which we invite parents (usually mothers) to join their children in this full-time residential education programme.

We wanted to invite parents as we believe that parents are children’s first teachers. There is no point for parents to teach their children how to live morally without themselves practicing it.

Instead of teaching multiple subjects simultaneously, this new programme only teaches one subject at a time. We believe in the saying 一門深入,長時薰修, which translates to: “in order to specialise in one subject, it takes long time of influence and practice.”

Of course, because it is so different, it is not for everyone. Both parents and children need to pass strict selection tests. They need to identify with us and be truly committed. The fit is important because we believe that “if we are not families, we don’t enter the same family house.”

Fortunately, the families who have been with us are happy to see their own improvements. Taiwan education officials also recognise the great efforts we have put in, and the positive impact we have made.

 

Check out other Taiwanese social entrepreneurs here and here!

 

[繁體中文]

這是二十年前台灣,當余素華和陳瑞珠兩位女士經過她們曾經居住的眷村時,碰到一群嬉戲打鬧的年輕人。他們有幾個在街角吸煙,而其中有個面孔看起來格外熟悉。

這個男孩認出她們來。他尬的把菸扔在地上,怯懦老師好…”

素華和瑞珠想起了這個男孩。小時候的他曾經每天放學去她們住處做功課,直到媽媽很晚回家。

這次相遇讓兩位女士心有不安──教育不能再等了!

於是,在1998年,她們建立了一個以人格教育為主的社區教育學校。這些年來,當初的學校也逐漸發展成為社會企業──愛一家親。

素華和瑞珠和我們分享了她們與愛一家親這一路來充滿挑戰和收穫的旅程。

 

愛一家親的創業故事很有意思,請和我們分享一下你們的創業經歷。

與這個男孩的意外重逢讓我們意識到台灣教育的不足,我們想要貢獻自己的一份力量。我們相信孩子的心是善良的,可惜行為有些偏差。如果沒有領路人,他們可能會偏離正道。尤其是弱勢家庭的孩子,如果沒有人伸出手來幫他們一把,他們也許會成為新的社會問題。

所以我們關注於人格教育,而傳統中華文化是我們的工具。我們拿出自己微薄的積蓄,再向銀行貸款,建立了耕心蓮苑讀經班。我們這個以倫理讀經教育為主的社區學校就從這裡開始了。

在這裡,沒有強制學費的概念。我們歡喜的迎接每一個人,無論他能否支付學費。漸漸的,相信我們教育理念的人開始為我們募捐。滴水穿石,零碎的募捐長期累積下來,我們成立了自己的基金會。我們期許一雨普之,貧富同霑護育。

 

愛一家親的教育有什麼特別的地方?

我們不只是一間學校,而是生活的課堂和一個溫暖的社區。我們覺得高分和競爭不應該是教育唯一的重點。試問,如果沒有尊重和善良,我們的未來會變得怎樣?我們希望培養有人格和良心的下一代。

所以我們探索千年中華文化留下的智慧。中華經典引導孩子們成為既有頭腦又有心胸的人。除了傳統倫理文化,我們還為孩子和成人提供多種多樣的課程和活動。這其中,不僅有英文和電腦數位課程,也有舞獅和佛教傳統教學。

課堂之外,我們創造一個充滿尊重和以禮儀為重的環境,還組織志工活動。讓孩子們在實踐中體驗所學習到的做人的道理。

 

作為社會企業,愛一家親如何盈利維持可持續的運作呢?

因為是不為利益的社會企業,所以我們的資金有限。好在這裡的每一個教職員工都愛校如家。在最困難的金融海嘯時期,老師們自願降低20%的薪水,大家同舟共濟,共度風雨。

我們不斷探索創新來維持學校的運作。現在,我們有了自己的健康美食工坊,由義工媽媽親手製作自己的拿手美食。你可以在網站或者臉書預定。

我們積極參加各大比賽,這樣,更多的朋友可以通過媒體認識我們,進而購買我們的品或者為教育募捐。我們榮獲經濟部辦理的女性創業精英賽社會企業組的冠軍。我們食品工坊的冰粽類品還獲得蘋果日報評選第二

同時,我們積極的和其他的社會企業合作,也得到了各大企業的社會責任部門的支持。

 

和我們分享一下愛一家親未來的動向?

未來,大家有很多可以期待的新動向,比如義賣興學的社會企業,各式營隊活動,師資培育等等。

其中,最大也最具挑戰性的項目是「明倫園家塾學校」。這是個全新的教育實驗,我們邀請家長(主要是媽媽)和小朋友一起參加我們的全日制全封閉式的教育項目。

為什麼要邀請家長?因為父母是孩子的第一任老師。如果家長自己不能落實行動,那麼對於孩子的要求都只能淪為語言上的空談。

就教程而言,我們並不像普通的學校那樣同時教授很多門課程。我們一次認真紮實的學習一門科目,然後再繼續下一門,全因為相信老祖宗的智慧「一門深入,長時薰修」。

這次實驗的創新本質是將古老的智慧重新運用。我們藉此探索人文教育的新方向。

當然,因為我們的教育方式很特別,這並不適合所有的人。孩子和家長都需要通過嚴格的測試。他們要相信我們的理念,而且全心投入。彼此認同很重要,因為我們相信不是一家人, 不進一家門

幸運的是,和我們一起學習的家庭取得了可喜的進步,臺灣教育局的督學也認可我們的努力以及帶來的積極影響。

 

 

[简体中文]

是二十年前台湾,当余素瑞珠两位女士经过居住的眷村,碰到一群嬉的年人。他有的在街角吸烟,而其中有个面孔看起来格外熟悉。

个男孩出她来。他尬的把烟扔在地上,近似喃喃自…”

和瑞珠起了个男孩。小候的他曾每天放学去她做功,直到妈妈很晚回家。

次相遇两位女士心有不安──教育不能再等了!

于是,在1998年,她建立了这个以人格教育為主的社区教育学校。些年来,当初的学校展成為教育社会企──一家

和瑞珠和我分享了她一家亲这一路来充和收的旅程。

 

一家创业故事很有意思,和我分享一下你创业经歷。 

个男孩的意外重逢到台湾教育的不足,我想要献自己的一份力量。我相信孩子的心是善良的,可惜行為有些偏差。如果没有路人,他可能会偏离正道。尤其是弱家庭的孩子,如果没有人伸出手来帮他一把,他会成为新的社会问题

所以我关注人格教育,而传统文化是我的工具。我拿出自己微薄的积蓄,再向款,建立了耕心读经班。我们这个以读经教育為主的社区学校就从裡开始了。

裡,没有制学的概念。我们欢喜的迎接每一个人,无他能否支付学渐渐的,相信我教育理念的人开始募捐。滴水穿石,零碎的募捐慢慢累,我有了自己的基金会。我一雨普之,富同育。

 

一家的教育有什麼特的地方?

不只是一学校,而是生活的堂和一个温暖的社区。我们认为高分和争不应该是教育唯一的重点。试问,如果没有尊重和善良,我的未来会得怎?我希望培养有人格和良心的下一代。

所以我探索千年中文化留下的智慧。中华经典引孩子成為既有头脑又有心胸的人。除了传统伦理文化,我们还為孩子和成人提供多种多程和活其中,既有英文和电脑教程,也有舞和佛教传统

堂之外,我们创造一个充尊重和以礼為重的境,还组织志工活孩子践中体所学到的做人的道理。

 

作為社会企一家如何盈利持可持的运作呢?

因為是不為利益的社会企,所以我金有限。好在的每一个教职员工都校如家。在最困的经济危机期,老师们自愿降低20%的薪水,大家同舟共,共度雨。

不断探索新来持学校的运作。在,我有了自己的健康美食工坊,妈妈亲作自己的拿手美食。你可以在网站或者脸书定。

们积极参加各大比这样,更多的朋友可以通媒体认识购买品或者为教育募捐。我获经济理的女性创业精英社会企业组的冠。我食品工坊的冰粽类產还获得苹果日报评选第二。

,我们积极的和其他的社会企合作,也得到了各大企的社会任部的支持。

 

和我分享一下一家未来的向?

未来,大家有很多可以期待的新向,比如义卖兴学的社会企,各式夏令营团队师资培育等等。

其中,最大也最具挑性的目是园家塾学校是个全新的教育实验,我(主要是妈妈)和小朋友一起参加我的全日制全封闭式的教育目。

为什么要邀?因为父母是孩子的第一任老。如果家自己不能落,那么於孩子的要求都只能言上的空

就教程而言,我并不像普通的学校那教授很多门课程。我一次真扎的学科目,然后再继续下一,全因為相信老祖宗的智慧深入,长时薰修

实验新本是将古老的智慧重新运用。我借此探索人文教育的新方向。

当然,因为我的教育方式很特并不适合所有的人。孩子和家都需要通过严格的测试。他要相信我的理念,而且全心投入。彼此同很重要,因為我相信不是一家人, 一家

幸运的是,和我一起学习的家庭取得了可喜的步,台湾教育局的督学也可我的努力以及带来的极影响。

 

 

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