The Watersource Cultural and Educational Foundation is a non-governmental organization that is dedicated to promoting the humanism, environment, and culture of Taiping District in Taichung. It has helped revive the local crafts industry, boost cultural tourism, as well as preserve regional environment.
Formed by a group of local residents who share the same goals of caring and empowering their lifelong community, the foundation offers services including tourist guidance, volunteer caretakers of vulnerable groups, and training sessions for residents of the historic Hakka settlement Tou Bian Keng and Atayal's Songhe tribe.
As the community is located in an important water source, the foundation's first project was to transform an abandoned water quality laboratory established in 1896 into the Water Source Cultural Center (水源文化館), which has helped preserve the historical buildings and facilities left from the Japanese colonial era.
In 2004, the foundation established a tourist center in Tou Bian Keng to promote cultural and environmental initiatives. As Tou Bian Keng was home to the historic indigo dye industry in Taichung, Chairman Ye Jin-yu (葉晉玉) of the foundation proposed a project to revitalize the related traditional Hakka culture.
Starting from training unemployed senior residents and growing plants for natural dyes, the foundation began to produce exquisite handmade accessories, clothes, and homeware under the brand "Taiping Blue (太平藍).” The unique and fashionable designs of Taiping Blue have been selected by the Top 10 Taichung Gifts list twice.
Taiping Blue has also been honored with the IFFS Best Décor Award at the 2017 International Furniture Fair Singapore for its use of ancient dyeing techniques and all-natural fabrics that embody rich cultural and environmental values.
Crafts aside, the foundation has also recreated a sustainable habitat for a community of bats that disappeared for three decades due to regional urban development. The successful environmental conservation program made the foundation the winner of the 4th National Environment Education Award in Taiwan.
To help the public to learn more about Taichung, the foundation also organizes day trips to Taiping as part of the cultural tourism program launched by Taichung City, guiding participants to explore culture and natural wonders, sample local food, and to try their hand at indigo dye workshops.