During World War II over two million Nationalists were forced to flee to Taiwan to seek refuge. The Taiwanese government built […]
During World War II over two million Nationalists were forced to flee to Taiwan to seek refuge. The Taiwanese government built temporary housing for the immigrants which became home to many people.
Over the years due to economic changes people started to leave the temporary housing. A little over 10 years ago the only remaining resident was an 87-year-old man named Huang Yung-fu. Taiwanese government was petitioning to tear down the abandoned village in order to build some modern apartments.
Huang was offered money to pack up his home and move elsewhere, but couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the only home he’d ever known in Taiwan. That’s when he started painting.
“When I came here, the village had 1,200 households and we’d all sit and talk like one big family,” Huang shared with BBC.
“But then everyone moved away or passed away and I became lonely.” With nowhere to go, he turned to art to ease his suffering.
First, he painted a small bird on his bungalow. It continued with cats, birds, and people that began flowing across the vacant buildings in the village.
Then, in 2010, a local university student stumbled upon the village and after hearing Huang’s story, vowed to help. He snapped a few photos of the village and began a fundraising campaign and petition to save it from destruction.
The news quickly went viral and “Rainbow Grandpa” was born. Capturing the heart of the nation, the colorful village became a huge draw for tourists and it continues to bring over a million visitors each year. Best of all, Huang gets to keep his home.
“The government has promised me they will keep this house and this village,” he said. “I was so happy and thankful.”
The village once housed over 1,200 families but was going to be demolished when there was only 1 resident left after over 40 years. A paintbrush and the determination of one person literally saved an entire village from destruction.
Huang Yung-fu shows just how powerful we can be as individuals. If we are passionate about what we believe in, one person actually can make a difference. In this case, he made the difference of saving an entire village. The village once housed 1,200 families and now sees over 1 million people a year.