Sunday, 25 October 2009

Contrasts - Journal w/e 24 October, 2009

Pictures and journal from our personal webpage.

This weekend we visited the Xi Wang Zhi Xing School (Star of Hope) as part of our ongoing project with CAI to record activities at schools for the children of migrant workers in Beijing.

Just 35 minutes by bus from the center of Beijing’s bustling commercial and entertainment district of Chaoyang, the dreary and rather squalid suburb of Dong Ba could not have more effectively demonstrated the contrast between the well-publicized face of China’s phenomenal growth – and those who are playing a desperate game of catch-up.

Late in the afternoon an older gentleman came up and interrupted our filming – expressing embarrassment at the piles of rotting and fetid rubbish piled along the streets. This exchange led to a lengthy discussion later in the day.

The question Shirley and I were debating was fairly simple: Since the old chap was aware enough to be embarrassed by the garbage, why didn’t he and his fellow villagers just clean it up?

While we didn’t come to any conclusive answer, we did agree that people - whatever their educational or social background might be - do let their standards slip when they lose hope. That is why programs such as the one being run by CAI are so important. They help to empower the youngsters – open the door to a world that some in their community perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to walk through.

In short, it gives them hope. And as usual the kids were bright, enthusiastic and full of energy. Well done, CAI!

Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to join a meeting organized by another local NGO, Magic Hospital ( and hear about their programs for the coming year. They have some exciting things planned and we are looking forward to the opportunity to help them promote and record their activities.

The meeting was hosted by Golden Bridges ( The mission statement of this Beijing-based NGO is to connect corporations and philanthropists to NGOs working on the frontlines. If you are seeking opportunities to make a contribution, you really should check out their webpage.

At the moment the plan is to spend most of next weekend editing the video before the final day of shooting in the first week of November... well, that's the plan!

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