The Caribbean Association of China (CAC) led a group of 25 volunteers to Pu Guang primary school located in the rural outskirts of Shanghai’s Pudong district on Saturday 5 November 2011. The half day school-visit gave an opportunity for children, whose families come from the low-income migrant demographic, to learn about the Caribbean’s various islands through interactive activities.
People from over 10 countries assisted in the Pudong trip which included Jamaicans, Bahamians, Trinidadians, Americans, British, Spanish and Chinese. The primary school has 720 students of which 46 were selected to take part in the cultural-exchange program. The students learnt about each island’s flag, its colours and their meanings culminating in an engaging flagmaking arts project. Each child gave a brief presentation on their chosen island and the session ended with enthusiastic singing following the lyrics to One Love by the late reggae legend Bob Marley. Gift bags with schooling items were also handed to each student.
“It was a very successful event and both kids and volunteers had a wonderful time. It was absolutely touching to listen to the kids chanting the lyrics to ‘One Love’ and definitely a proud moment to hear them recite the new information they had just learned about the Caribbean,” said Dr. Nicoleen Johnson – CAC board member and past CAC president.
Shanghai is one of China’s main hubs for migrant workers who leave their hometowns in search for better job opportunities. According to statistics from the School of Social Development at East China Normal University, of the 23million residents in Shanghai 9million are classified as migrant. Until 2010, most migrant children were not allowed to enter Shanghai’s public school system therefore creating a number of under-equipped and unlicensed education centres. The situation is improving and although enrolment into Shanghainese schools is now being made available to migrant families and their children, the overwhelming majority of them still struggle with daily life in the big city as most earn less than RMB 2,000 (USD $315) a month.