NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – “What’s the exact opposite of Kansas?” Newton native Tyler Prochazka asked. “I guess it’s over here in Asia.”
Prochazka is a Kansas native who set his sites on exploring the world. An interest that was sparked through experiences at Newton High School (NHS).
“I was a debater. At the time, we were debating about Taiwan and China, all kinds of, you know, international affairs,” he said.
In college, Prochazka found himself in China, which would lead him to get his masters in Taiwan on a Fulbright scholarship.
“While I was doing that, I was, you know, interested in UBI (Universal basic income),” he said.
Prochazka is the founder of UBI Taiwan.
“Basically, we advocate giving everybody free cash, which sounds kind of crazy, but when you do enough research, it kind of makes sense,” he said.
In 2017, he recruited fellow debater and NHS alum James Davis.
“We were going to start a research program. We were going to start up a UBI pilot,” Prochazka said.
“We met with mayors and other policymakers to design a pilot program to test whether or not cash transfers to people in poverty would really alleviate the core of their suffering and allow them to pursue new jobs, get an education, and really better themselves,” Davis, UBI Taiwan board member explained.
Davis has a personal connection to their mission.
“My mom raised me as a single parent, and I saw firsthand how suffocating poverty can be, especially for young kids,” Davis said.
UBI Taiwan passed the first universal basic income in the world.
“This was a big success. It’s very historic for us that we finally got to universal cash paid
before it was vouchers, and now we’re finally seeing that it’s actually cash. It’s a little more flexible,” Prochazka said.
The UBI payments are equal to $200 USD. UBI Taiwan is working to make the policy permanent.
“I think we can achieve that. So every year, we’d like to see a little bit more,” Prochazka said.
Prochazka also says they are working on a second program to help single parents in Taiwan, “We’re going to send cash and follow them for a year, and we’re going to report back to the government what we see on the effects of that.”
He says it will be a documentary form study and will follow around five families. It’s expected to begin this May.
Prochazka wants to be an inspiration for people to help others.
“Whether it’s big or small, do the choice that helps other people because you never know how it’s going to change their life or change even millions of lives,” he said.
Eventually, Prochazka wants to expand UBI Taiwan to more countries.
If you would like to nominate a person or business for Positive Connections, fill out KSN’s online contact form.