“Street Lamp Program/路灯计划”: One of the three public sharing houses in Shapowei area.
Everyone can come and sit for a while in the 24-hour public shared houses in the Shapowei area, said Mr. Shao Dongqiang, who initiated the self-service cafe program in Xiamen. The program now includes three houses that provide 24-hour self-service indoor space open to all visitors.
Mr. Shao, who is from Ningde, Fujian Province, served in the navy in Xiamen for 16 years. In 2013, after leaving the navy, he rented a 40-to-50-square-meter house in Shapowei.
He turned the house into a self-service cafe after he had the idea of opening it to the public for free use as a place to rest. It was the first 24-hour public house in Xiamen, and he named it “Chao/巢” (literally nest). At Chao cafe, visitors can make tea or coffee for themselves; they just need to clean up after using the place.
The second public house, which is about 100 square meters in size, was put into service after the first one gained popularity and became overcrowded. Named “Ideal Home/理想的家," the second 24-hour public house -- which is located behind the Chao cafe -- offers a cozy ambiance perfect for a short break and a cup of tea or coffee.
Mr. Shao came up with the idea to name his third public house the “Street Lamp Program/路灯计划” after the lights in the city went out when super typhoon Meranti struck in September last year. He said street lamps make people walking in the dark at night feel safe and hopeful.
“It is a career of trust. It is an imperfect world, but if 80 percent of us join together to make it a better world, then I think it will be a better one, ” said Mr. Shao when he was asked about lost items in the houses. “The public sharing houses were funded by my friends and I for their first two years of operation, but I got a third of the funds from strangers for the third public house, and many visitors bring items to make the houses more convenient.”
Visitors can leave voluntary donations at their discretion after using the facilities.