CyberFair Project ID: 7779

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Cats Indepedent Club of Voluteers
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations

School: Kang Chiao Bilingual School
    New Taipei City, N/A - Does Not Apply, Taiwan

18 students, ages 15~18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 3, 2014. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2013

Classes and Teachers: Hsiao Shih-Hsuan

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Hou Tong is located in Rui Fang, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Before Hou Tong turned into the Cat Village, it was a deserted mining town; it was also an important intersection for the Northern railways. In addition, an essential silver and copper mining site was founded in the steep and dangerous mountain terrain. Unfortunately, due to the shift in the economy, Hou Tong became a hollow shell. Recently the New Taipei City government’s tourism association has transformed this abandoned and lifeless shell into a vivid, blossoming town. Although the reputation of the Cat Village was built up, problems and issues floated up as well. Worst of all, mass abandonment of cats occurred frequently. This action caused the local residents to spend most of their spare time on saving stray cats. In response to this action, the warmhearted locals and volunteers created this non-profit group to help out; it is known as the Independent Association of Cat Volunteers. However, numerous amount of stray cats and inhumane acts including violent abuse on cats, still happen. Thus, the hearts of selfless local residents and volunteers are to work harder and transfer the love from untouchable sparks into waves and waves of actions of kindness into helping the Cat Village to keep a good name and a positive reputation.

2. Summary of Our Project

Houtong, a traditional Taiwan town, originally Rui-Fang and Jiu-Fen's major output for copper and coal mining during the reign of the Japan. As the amount of mine decreased and the emigration of townspeople, Houtong has declined since the 1970's. During the late 1990's, the government advocated tourism in Houtong, which accidentally raised a great fervor of “cat-watching”, leading to the popularity of Cat Village. Therefore, this small town filled with stray cats that once belongs to the miners have received attention from the society and became lively. Until now, HouTong Cat Village has been selected by CNN as one of the World's Six Greatest “Cat-Watching” sites, becoming an alternative Pride of Taiwan. However, as Houtong gradually becomes famous, the situation of people abandoning cats has become more often, causing massive problems related to recycle, sanitation, and humane. Though in the early period there were support from the locals and warm-hearted volunteers, but after all they weren't capable of long-term care. After a few passionate volunteers have worked hard for nothing in return, an independent humane rescue organizations, the HouTong Cat Village Independent Volunteer Association, has been established. The purpose of the association is to protect the local cats' basic living rights, to provide better health care and the midway caregiver in order for them to be adopted, and to combine the abilities of the local residents to prevent cats from being abandoned furthermore. When we found out about the information of this association, we were interested and curious about it. Therefore, we would like to investigate this group that consists of passionate and hard-working volunteers through academic research and study, and the various methods to improve cats' living environment in Houtong. At the same time, we can thoroughly understand HouTong Cat Village's recent situations and realistic rescue plan and preventions.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

1. When we visited the HouTong Cat Village, the weather was cold and it was raining. In order to finish the project, we had to visit twice. It took us a long time to take one good photo of cats, because they were easily startled.

2. Everyone’s time and schedule was very full, so there was limited time for all of us to came together and discuss the project.

3. This was the first time for all of us to design a website, so it took us a long time to learn how to design one.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Participating in International Schools CyberFair helps raise awareness on the stray cats in Houtong and helps promote donation and/or volunteering to improve the current situation in Houtong.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

We followed the curriculum requirements of Ministry of Education of Taiwan; including social studies, economic, arts and local culture. Our Cyberfair is based on visiting and interviewing, and complete the following steps: 1. Topic selection 2. Collect information 3. Visiting and interviewing 4. Results and analysis

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

* Laptop Windows 7 and MacBook Pro OSX - record interview and operate project

* Telephones - contact members and teacher

* Digital Camera - take pictures

* Adobe Photoshop CS3 & CS6(MacBook Pro) - photo editing

* Microsoft Office Word 2010 & 2011(MacBook Pro) & 2013 -

* Dreamweaver CS3 & CS6(MacBook Pro) - website design and upload

* Dreamweaver CS6 - software reference book

* Interview - Independent Volunteer Association interview

* USB - transfer informations

Digital Camera is our most helpful and valuable tool. Without it, the photo gallery on the website wouldn’t have been so amazing.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

We first contacted the Independent Volunteer Association for the available to interview. The Independent Volunteer Association is not made public to donation, so all the money comes from people that voluntarily donates.We first set the questions for the interview and sent it to Mr. Rack. He answered the questions in order and sent it back to us to backup. As “ambassadors”, we successfully finished our project with his support.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project will make a difference in not only people’s lives but also the cat’s lives. Now that our website is finished, people in our community can learn a lot of new things from our web page like how bad the cats situation are in and how people can try their best to help them. Our web page influenced everyone in the world to get to know the place Houtong and to learn to love. During this process, we got a lot of feedback, especially learning to respect lives. We hope our project can affect everyone around us and that people would stop thinking cat village as a tourist attraction.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Our biggest helper for this project was Mr. Rack, the club leader of Cats Independent Club of Volunteers. He was the greatest contributor to this project outside of our CyberFair team. He was our main contact when arranging visits to Houtong. Our visit was successful and without obstacles because of him. He provided much information and insights on the stray cats problem in Houtong. He sent photos that contribute to a better understanding of Houtong. He was also very cooperative and helpful during our visit to Houtong and arranged several interviews with various residents in Houtong. This gave us a better knowledge about the abandoned cats in Houtong and the possible methods to solve or reduce this problem. Furthermore, he shared personal experience regarding the rescuing of abandoned cats, which was extremely valuable in our project. We would like to give a big thanks to Mr. Rack. Without him, this project probably wouldn’t have been possible. Other helpers from the school include Principal Wu and Ms. Harriet. They gave our team a great help in terms of providing administrative and educational/researching resources.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

After this research, we most deeply understood Life Education. The main reason why Houtong is renown is because of the many stray cats that wonder there. During the earlier times, what originally was Utopia for the cats raised by miners in Houtong, suddenly transformed into a hot tourist attraction from a little quite mountain town because of constant disclosures by the mass media. After becoming a popular tourist attraction, although giving business opportunities to the wane little mining town, created two major issues: Ecological effects on cats, and the increase of animal abandonment.

1. Ecological Effects on Cats

Because of the rising fame of Houtong, the increase of visitors actually brings oppression to the easily startled cats, which need serenity; the bacteria from the human skin, may also bring about contagious diseases between the cats, and in addition, the mess from street pedlars causes messes to the environment, seriously threatening the health and well-being of the cats.

2. Increase of Animal Abandonment

Many think that Houtong is a cat paradise. But according to researches conducted by Cat Village Independent Volunteer Club, during the recent years, what is thought to be a cat paradise, is actually a place where in average, 2 cats per month are abandoned. Little do they know, the residents and volunteers who take care of the cats, to rescue the stray animals (including dogs, rabbits, etc.) from the fate of being euthanized, exhausted their own strength to protect them.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7779)

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