Dreams fly for Beijing children
by Fiammetta Mancini
Beijing, China: On Children’s Day, 1 June, disadvantaged children in Beijing let their dreams fly, kicking a football with their volunteer playmates.
Children of migrant workers in Beijing and in other Chinese cities face challenges in receiving a complete, good-quality education. During their temporary residence outside their province of origin, they often face complicated regulations regarding their access to schools in Beijing. As a consequence, many migrant children can only attend schools which do not offer an education as good as the official public schools.
About 50 children from two different schools, plus the volunteers who had signed up for the campaign, wrote down their future dreams on a big banner. This will be presented to the British Prime Minister to bring the issue of education to the attention of world leaders in New York next September.
This 'Freeing your dreams, growing together' event was the first activity implemented by the UNV-supported project, 'Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games' in cooperation with the Beijing Home of Migrant Workers, a volunteerism for development pilot project.
It was supported by the Henan Representative Office in Beijing (many migrant workers in Beijing come from underdeveloped Henan province), and jointly organized with Voluntary Service Overseas, China (VSO) to contribute to the 1GOAL global campaign.
1GOAL brings together footballers, fans, charities, corporations and individuals to encourage action towards the attainment of Millennium Development Goal number two - universal primary education.
Representatives from Qinghua University, the Henan Representative Office in Beijing and VSO expressed their support to the education-for-all goal, and wished the children a happy Children’s Day in the company of their “big brothers”, the volunteers.
Liu Gen, from the Henan Representative Office in Beijing, said: “Paying attention to the needs of migrant children is one of our main focus areas. Today’s volunteer-driven football themed activity is a very good start to bring migrant children closer to the life of the city. We will surely continue our efforts in this direction.”
“The 1 GOAL global campaign calls for action to provide equal education opportunities to 72 million children in the world who are denied the chance to go to school,” said Li Guo Zhi, VSO China Director. "I am extremely happy to see migrant children and Qinghua University volunteers holding each other’s hands to support this goal.”
The little football players were divided into teams and assigned to 10 volunteers, who guided them through a series of football games and took them on a tour of the university campus, one of the most renowned in China.
“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to make friends with our big brothers from Qinghua University," said Hu Linlin, from the Shuren School. "I want to be like them in the future!”
The children tasted a bit of the campus life with a lunch at the canteen with the volunteers, and after a special cake they said goodbye to their new friends holding an 'Education for all' ball from VSO, stationary and books from the Beijing Home of Migrant Workers volunteers and a UNV booklet on Volunteerism and the MDGs.
“Always remember not to feel constrained in your future choices, and just try hard to become what you want to become, no matter what,” said Wang Tai Hong to his 'little brother' Zhang Jun while he was eagerly reading through the UNV brochure on the MDGs.
The children and the university volunteers will stay in touch by email and the volunteers will participate in similar activities for the benefit of migrant children in the next months.
The ‘Strengthening Volunteerism for Development through the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ project was launched in July 2007 as a partnership between UNV, UNDP, the Beijing Youth League, the Beijing Volunteer Federation, and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges. The objective is to harness the enthusiasm towards volunteering boosted by the Beijing Olympics to promote volunteerism as an effective means towards development.
One of the main components of the project is aimed at building the capacity of four volunteerism for development pilot projects, including the Beijing Home of Migrant Workers.
|Home | Contact us | FAQs | Search | Sitemap | UNDP Information Disclosure Policy|
|UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)|