Baolai Cultural Association was founded upon the mission to recreate the glory of regional tourism after devastation from Typhoon Morakot. After bringing together local residents to participate in developing the region's culture, local businesses, and ecology, Baolai has been reintroduced to the public as a brand-new community.
Baolai village used to be a tourist hotspot famous for hot springs, river rafting, and agricultural products such as plums, bamboo shoots, and mangoes. However, the region's prosperous tourism went into decline after Typhoon Morakot struck in 2009.
With local residents leaving in search for job opportunities following the devastating natural disaster, manpower issues suspended all construction work within the region. Sensing the dire situation, Lee Wan-lin (李婉玲) initiated a community meeting at her own house and prompted the establishment of Baolai Cultural Association.
Instead of simply reconstructing and repairing the damaged facilities and landscapes, the association took a different approach - strengthening and highlighting the culture of Baolai.
Lee Huai-jin (李懷錦), a ceramist who relocated from Taipei to Baolai after falling in love with the local culture and landscape, also joined the association and played a significant role in reconstructing the region from a cultural perspective.
Lee helped the association establish the Shezaijiao Cultural Commons (檨仔腳文化共享空間), a community building that offers activities such as crafts sessions on ceramics and accessories, workshops on local produce and natural dyes, and bread and pizza baking sessions with a traditional oven.
The community building has not only provided job opportunities for local residents but helped rebuild their confidence during the process of acquiring new specialty skills and participating in group activities.
The association was selected to participate in the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute's "Community Craft Cultivation and Development Plan,” and subsequently won the Executive Yuan's National Sustainable Development Award for its achievements in 2016.
Having transformed Baolai into a crafty tourist village, the association now plans to hold a wider range of activities to promote ecotourism and raise awareness for the conservation of regional ecology and biodiversity.