Formerly homeless man gives locals a unique view of Taipei (2020/03/25)
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  • 英文 English 
    Formerly homeless man gives locals a unique view of Taipei (2020/03/25)

    Taipei has many well-known walking tours, but here’s a tour you've probably never heard of. It takes you off the beaten path to hidden corners of Taipei, escorted by a formerly homeless person. A social enterprise called Hidden Taipei founded the tour program in 2014 to help homeless people get back on their feet. Formosa News reporter Stephany Yang meets Asia's first homeless-man-turned-tour-guide, and learns how the program has changed his life.

    Our tour guide introduces himself and launches into a story about Wanhua’s Mengchia Park. Chen Tzu-chiang, our guide for the day, is an experienced professional. He is also Asia’s first homeless man turned tour guide. He escorts groups on an exploratory tour of the streets of Wanhua. It’s an area he knows very well, because he used to call Mengchia Park his home.

    Chen Tzu-chiang
    Tour guide
    I used to be homeless. Then I transitioned to becoming a tour guide. I became a tour guide in 2014. My tours are very different from other tours in Taiwan. Most tour guides take people to historical landmarks. I guide them on a tour of social phenomenon that exists today. For example, I answer questions like, “Why are there so many old people at Mengchia Park? Why do they like to come here?” A second question is, “Why are there so many homeless people at Mengchia Park? There are at least 100 homeless here.” And then there’s a third question: “What’s the story behind that red-light district over there to my right, next to the building with the green glass?” So right now there are three social phenomena. On my tour, I bring people to see these phenomena with their own eyes.

    Chen is 70 years old this year. He spent part of his life as a member of a gang. He spent another part of it behind bars. After his release from jail, he lived on the streets for seven years in Wanhua and at Taipei Main Station. In 2014, he was introduced to Hidden Taipei, a program run by the Homeless Taiwan Association. After receiving training, he and Hidden Taipei worked together to create guided tours in different neighborhoods of Taipei. Chen’s tour of Wanhua draws from his own experiences and his deep knowledge about the area’s history. His tour delves into the lives of the people of Wanhua, including sex workers and the homeless population. Mr. Chen says that being a tour guide has not only helped him become financially independent, but also helped him build self-confidence.

    Chen Tzu-chiang
    Tour guide
    Actually, the people who join my tours range from elementary school and middle school, to high school and college students. Even office workers and EMBA professors join my tours. Being able to lead a tour gives me a sense of dignity.

    Cyndi Tseng, the founder of Hidden Taipei, had been inspired by London's Unseen Tours program, which helps homeless and other vulnerable people get employment as tour guides. In 2014, she decided to bring this concept to Taiwan. She collaborated with social worker Chang Hsien-chung, the Taipei Wan Hua Community College, and the charity Homeless Taiwan to create a tour guide training program for the homeless. Since 2014, they have helped six homeless people become tour guides in Wanhua and Zhongzheng district. Since 2014, the tours have had about 9,500 participants.

    Cyndi Tseng
    Hidden Tours founder
    I think there's a lot of stigma putting on them. And we need to break those stigma. Right now, we have another program so that is educational material we provided to the junior high and senior high school teachers. They can use this educational material in their classroom. Because there is so many structural factors behind homelessness.

    Hidden Taipei hopes to empower disadvantaged people by giving them a way to share their stories and to shift public perceptions around homelessness.

    中文 Chinese  
    「街遊 Hidden Taipei」計畫 幫助街友重生

    台北有許多徒步導覽活動,但是您有可能沒有聽過這種導覽。在曾經是街友的導覽員陪同下,你可以探索台北的隱藏景點。一家社會企業於2014年創立了「街遊 Hidden Taipei」計畫,幫助街友重生。透過英語新聞的鏡頭,我們來了解亞洲第一位街友成功轉型成導覽員的故事。

    介紹自己,接著講解萬華艋舺公園的故事,他是我們今天的導覽員陳自強,不但有著豐富的專業經驗,更是亞洲首位從街友轉型成導覽員的成功案例,他帶領著我們探索著萬華, 這個他非常熟悉的地方,因為艋舺公園就是他以前的家。

    [[導覽員 陳自強]]
    “本來是街友,成功轉型成導覽員。我是103年轉型成導覽員,我導覽的性質跟全台灣導覽性質不一樣,通常導覽的主題是歷史古蹟, 我導覽的是針對存在於現在的社會現象。比如第一,為什麼艋舺公園有那麼多老人,他們為什麼喜歡來這裡。第二,為什麼艋舺公園裡面有那麼多街友,最少100位左右。第三,右手邊那棟綠色玻璃旁邊裡面色情文化區,現在這個社會還存在這三種社會現象。所以我帶這個團讓他們親眼看。 "

    70歲的陳自強,曾經加入過幫派,也坐過牢。出獄之後,他在萬華和台北車站的街頭流浪了7年。2014年,他加入台灣芒草心慈善協會的「街遊 Hidden Taipei」計畫,受訓後, 陳自強與團隊一起規劃出導覽路線。陳自強的萬華之旅來自於自己的經驗,以及對這個地區歷史的深刻了解。他的導覽深入介紹了萬華人的生活,還包括街友的故事。 陳自強說, 透過導覽不只幫助他在經濟上獨立,還可以幫助他建立自信。

    [[導覽員 陳自強]]
    "(來參加的人)小學、國中、高中、 大學生、上班族都有,EMBA教授都有。可以帶導覽的感觸, 我個人心裡感覺比較有尊嚴。 "

    街遊創辦人曾文勤,受到倫敦Unseen Tour的啟發,該計劃幫助街友和其他弱勢族群成為導覽員。2014年,她決定將這一概念帶到台灣。她與社會工作者張顯忠、臺北市萬華社區大學、社團法人台灣芒草心慈善協會合作,為街友制定了導覽員培訓計劃。2014至今,已經協助六名街友成為萬華和中正地區的導覽員。吸引約9500人參加導覽活動。


    「街遊 Hidden Taipei」 希望通過分享故事的方式,改變民眾對弱勢族群的偏見。

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