A City News writer shares her experience in the countryside of China while on a humanitarian trip with CityCare.
A Christian is blessed to be a blessing. I experienced this firsthand when I had the privilege to go on a humanitarian trip to Henan in China between Jun. 19 and 22 this year.
Despite having to spend eight hours on two flights and endure seemingly never-ending car rides to get to our destination, the experiences I had made the trip worthwhile.
Our team of four first visited Liu Dian Sunshine Flower Primary School, where we gave out polo T-shirts to over 600 students.
Study awards were also given out to the top three students in each level, from Primary One to Six. Before leaving the school, we also got to spend time with one of the Primary One classes, where we taught the students basic English, gave them stationery items and played with them.
This humanitarian trip was handled by CityCare, a not-for-profit organization that aims to promote volunteerism among the community by arranging for overseas humanitarian trips to help underprivileged children in neighboring countries.
In 2008, City Harvest Church started working with CityCare to manage its overseas humanitarian efforts in China. More than just feeding the poor, both organizations aimed to help the poor escape the poverty cycle through education.
Reconstruction and refurbishment projects were thus conducted at schools in various provinces in China. After completion of each project, CityCare would continue to make follow-up visits to the schools. This was one such visit.
I spoke to one of the teachers, Zhang Xiaoxia, 36, who has been teaching in the school for 10 years. “CityCare’s efforts for the school have really blessed the children. Each year, the visits bring joy to the kids and they are showing improvement every year,” she said.
Another school we visited was Sunshine Flower Kindergarten, which has a current enrolment of over 90 students. The team also made home visits to five needy families chosen by the school principals. Donations in cash were given to the families to support their living expenses and the children’s school fees.
CityCare plans to do more for the schools in Henan, says CityCare director Victor Lim Fei, 36. “We will continue to follow up and deepen our support for these two schools, and also explore new possibilities to help the community,” he explains. “We also want to take this chance to thank CHC members and volunteers for their contributions. The lives of these village children have been changed through CityCare’s continuous partnership with the schools.”
Besides visiting the schools and interacting with the children, the trip was meaningful to me because I got to experience the lives of the villagers. Many of the families earn their livelihood through farming, and they make just enough to get by in life. Yet, the simple joy and contentment of the young children touched my heart. Listening to them talk about their ambitions to study hard and live better lives was very inspiring to me.
Educator and fellow volunteer Soh Yu Wei, 27, shared my sentiments. She decided to go on this trip because she has always had a heart for doing humanitarian work and had previous experience in Nepal. She said, “Through this trip, I’ve seen that above our careers and making money, everyone can play a little part to make a huge difference in the community and the world. The children I met in Henan brought much joy to me. Despite the fact that they need better living and learning conditions, they are still happy and contented. This is something city-dwellers can learn from, and I believe much more can be done for the schools and the
children we visited.”
Indeed, we have been blessed tremendously here in Singapore, and it is time for us to be a blessing to others around us, and around the world.