The “Grandmother’s Bridge” and “Souring Project”
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
#SDG4 - Quality Education
#SDG5 - Gender Equality
#SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
#SDG11 - Reduced Inequalities
◆Implementation Period: Grandmother’s Bridge 2013-present
Souring Project 2015 - Present ◆Partners: Taiwanese Corporates in SEA countries
◆Project Website(Mandarin): https://www.international-education.ntpc.edu.tw/home
Immigrants (mostly female) from the Southeast Asia (SEA) now constitute a growing fraction of Taiwanese demography. Despite of their nostalgia for homeland, many of them were kept from making a visit back for many years by economic restrictions. Their children were also deprived of the chance to learn more about the home culture from the mother side.
In 2013, migrant right advocate Chang Cheng (張正) and his colleagues proposed the “Grandmother’s Bridge” (外婆橋) project that sponsored Southeastern Asian immigrants to make a trip back home with their child and the child’s school teacher.
This project served three purposes. It reunited the immigrant with her original family; it also allowed her child to meet the maternal relatives and learn more about where his/her mother had come from. Moreover, the accompanying teacher can incorporate what is learned in this trip into his or her future teaching, and enlighten more Taiwanese students about Southeastern Asia.
The New Taipei City is home of more than 80,000 new immigrants. Inspired of the“Grandmother Bridge” initiative, the city government launched the “Soaring Project : Empower the Second Generation of New Immigrants” (新住民二代培力昂揚計畫) in 2015.
This “Soaring Project” followed the suit of “Grandmother Bridge” and included a similar sponsorship for a trip (of three) to the applicant’s foreign hometown. But it further extended the spirit of “cross-cultural learning” to include another subproject that sponsor group student trip to Southeast Asian countries for “firm visits” and “cultural experience.” The eligibility of the later subproject was not limited to immigrants’ child; any student interested could apply to join.
In the past four years (2015-2018), this project sponsored a total of 183 students for learning trips in Vietnam, Thailand, Philippine and Indonesia. It also supported 19 new immigrant to make trip back to her hometown with her child and an accompanying school teacher. Each of these group produced a short documentary that can be used for educational purpose.
It is expected that this project could encourage the second generation of new immigrants to better understand the cultural upbringing of their mother, and to better appreciate the potential advantage of their bilingual family background. It also allows more students to learn about Southeast Asia, and to envision their career prospect there.
At the aggregate level, it is hoped that this project would enhance the mutual understanding, as well as the prospect of future economic cooperation, between Taiwan and it Southeastern Asian neighbors.