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AIESEC Volunteers from Five Continents Organize Early Spring Festival Celebrations with Children and the Elderly in Danzhai

11.02.2018
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\Foreign Volunteers write down "fu" in Chinese and their own languages
\Foreign volunteers learn how to cut paper from the elderly
DANZHAI, China. Feb. 10th, 2018 – A delegation of young volunteers recently visited a local orphanage and nursing home in Danzhai, which is located in the southwestern province of Guizhou, to help some of the county’s youngest and most elderly residents get ready for the Spring Festival and also to start the celebrations with a few early festivities. The group was led by Junaid Khan, a foreign student from Zhongshan University, who was just elected as the 29th rotating mayor of Danzhai Wanda Village following a series of friendly but intense competitions with the other volunteers. Participants on the delegation hailed from a total of 12 different countries, including the U.S., India, Brazil, Vietnam, Mauritius, Lithuania, Slovakia, China, Korea, Nepal, Germany and Russia.

It is a Chinese tradition for people to hang up couplets and the Chinese character “fu” (meaning blessing or happiness) as part of the Spring Festival celebrations every year. For the visit to the orphanage, the new rotating mayor decided to have the volunteering team write down “fu” in their different native languages on tailored red paper and then hang them on the walls and windows. The activity brought a strong festive atmosphere to the orphanage, and the local kids were also delighted to learn some English from the energetic young volunteers as well as how to play a number of foreign games.

While visiting the nursing home, the mayor decided to organize a paper-cutting workshop since many of the elder residents were old veterans of paper-cutting for the annual Spring Festival celebrations. In addition, the foreign students also performed a popular Chinese dance for the residents after earlier rehearsals. In return, a group of the elderly men gave an instrumental performance on the “lusheng,” which is a traditional Miao musical instrument with a very long history. As a parting gift, the students gave the residents heating pads in the hope of helping them enjoy a warm winter.

The volunteer team’s visits to the orphanage and the nursing home marked the first time that Danzhai’s young and elderly residents had the chance to celebrate the most important Chinese holiday with such a diverse group of young leaders from all over the world. It was also a wonderful and highly rewarding experience for the volunteers to have the opportunity to join the Spring Festival festivities in China and forge new friendships with the local community.

The volunteer delegation was organized by AIESEC (originally an acronym for Association Internationale des étudiants en Sciences économiques et Commerciales), which is a global platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential.

Danzhai Wanda Village and its global rotating mayor program aim to help uplift the local community out of poverty. With nearly 10,000 candidates worldwide having applied to serve in this unique, one-of-a-kind volunteer position to date, the rotating mayor program launched by Wanda Group has already appointed 29 rotating mayors since it first kicked off last June. In total, the program is expected to have an annual pipeline of 52 mayors, with one new mayor being approved every week. The mayors who have already served have been drawn from a hugely diverse range of career backgrounds – covering business, academia, arts, sports, education, and more – and all have been dedicated to helping alleviate local poverty in Danzhai by attracting greater tourism.

Located in the southwestern province of Guizhou, Danzhai County is one of the most...

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