|7 Dec 2022
|2022 Finalists Global Student Prize
Chewei Hsu is a student at Hsinchu County American School in Zhubei City Taiwan.
Chewei is the youngest entrepreneur in Taiwan and is the founder of the social enterprise Rangi. Rangi raises the education level and prospects of aboriginal tribes in Taiwan by purchasing crops from small tribal farmers and then converting these into secondary products such as hand cream and lemon tea. Rangi helps tribal youth set up charity shops and distributes Rangi goods to the stores at low prices, additionally earning revenues from establishing Rangi products as special souvenirs for tourists, in turn attracting more people to visit the tribe.
Chewei was born prematurely and was diagnosed with developmental delays as a child. Thanks to the care of his family, he was able to live and go to school as a normal teenager. Inspired by his parents, he wanted to do something for vulnerable tribal people in Taiwan. Chewei began to engage with the lives of the aboriginal people, first as a volunteer for restoration work, then through field trips and interviews with elders and residents.
Chewei learned that aboriginal people are disadvantaged primarily because of their isolation and lack of job opportunities, which leads to an exodus of young people, followed by an inter-generational loss of parent-child relationships and family functions. Tribal children do not have the same access to learning resources as urban children and even lack teachers due to poor transportation. Chewei realized that one-time donations and volunteering would not get to the root of the problem. He therefore planned a series of volunteer services and sought corporate sponsorship to purchase online courses and equipment to solve the problem of the lack of teachers.
In the past, aboriginal crops appeared in the market as primary agricultural products, and their short life cycle did not bring much economic benefit. Through Rangi, Chewei extracted the essence of agricultural commodities to derive new products to enhance their economic value. After field research, he selected the most representative aboriginal small crops rice paper pith, millet, and makauy as ingredients for hand cream. rice paper pith is an herb used by Atayal hunters in the wild to treat wounds, millet is an indispensable tribute for Aboriginal people during celebrations, and makauy is the most common spice used in Aboriginal cuisine.
Hand cream was chosen because it was the most common skin care product during the epidemic when people were washing their hands frequently, causing dry hands, and was used by a wide range of ages regardless of gender. The hand cream made from tribal crops has never been used in the market before, and it has become a special tribal souvenir in Hsinchu County.
Although Rangi is less than two years old, it has already been recognized by other well-known social enterprises. For example, in collaboration with "2021 Social Enterprise", it is promoting gift boxes containing Makauy lemon tea bags and plum cakes made from plums grown by aborigines in southern Taiwan. Chewei also worked with Taipei Awakening Association (NPO) to develop a second-hand denim bag made with tribal women's knitting.
Before the outbreak of the epidemic, the University of Seoul in Korea conducted a study on Tong Cao in delaying dementia. If Chewei were to win the Global Student Prize, he will use the funds to develop a health food for dementia in conjunction with the university laboratory.