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Caribbean Association China Charity Outreach, May 10, 2008, China

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WHO: The Caribbean Association in China (CAC)

WHAT: Teaching English and Caribbean Culture to Students at the Chang Lin Migrant School located in Shanghai, China

WHERE: Chang Lin Migrant School (Pudong New District,
San lin zhen lin jiang cun long jia tuo no. 286 )

WHEN: Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 10, 2008 with a bright and beautiful Saturday morning, 18 volunteers which included an eclectic group of individuals from Trinidad, Jamaica, Panama, Japan, USA, Malaysia and China gathered together to teach English and Caribbean culture to children at the Chang Lin Migrant School located in Shanghai’s new Pudong district

About the Caribbean Association in China (CAC):

The CAC was started on April 1, 2007 by a group of regional nationals living in China who felt the time had come to establish a Caribbean network and to build an awareness of the Caribbean region in China. The Association works closely with, but independently of, Caribbean countries’ Embassies in Beijing CAC’s main goals are to promote and foster the Sino-Caribbean relationship, to provide a support network for our nationals residing in China, and to engage in charitable work aimed at benefiting the needy in both China and the Caribbean.

May 10, 2008 on a bright and beautiful Saturday morning 18 volunteers which included an eclectic group of individuals from Trinidad, Jamaica, Panama, Japan, USA, and China gathered together with a single purpose and vision-to help migrant school students. This would be the third time The Caribbean Association in China (CAC) taught English and Caribbean culture to children at the Chang Lin Migrant School located in Shanghai’s new Pudong district.

After a bumpy 40 minute ride in a tight 20 passenger van, volunteers who also brought a number of maps, school supplies and other materials about the Caribbean, were greeted by 35 students eager to learn about another culture and practice their limited English. When our CAC volunteers expressed to how excited they were to teach the students, a jubilant Chinese boy responded ecstatically “women geng gaoxing”. In English, this means, “we are even more excited!”

For the next three hours CAC volunteers divided into eight groups (Bahamas, Saint Vincent, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago,). Each group represented a country from the Caribbean and comprised about 4-5 Chinese students and about 2 volunteers. Using the CAC supplied the materials, the students learned about basic facts and figures about their respective country such as the population, the capital, the national flag and significance behind the flag’s colors. Then, in a very interactive activity, the students drew a map of their respective Caribbean countries using colored markers, play dough and colored paper to emphasize unique features of each country.

The highlight of the day came when the groups presented their map to everyone and shared what they had learned about their country. The students showed such creativity in expressing themselves and the Caribbean through their artistic maps. Then, all the volunteers handed out gift bags filled with school supplies to each of the students. To end the day, volunteers and students took a group picture with the maps that they had created together. Timothy Chi, a first time volunteer with no previous connection to the Caribbean, remarked, “Kids are the future. We do what we can to make it brighter.” Paul Luk, a CAC member and a native from Trinidad & Tobago recapped his day by saying, “It was really great spending time with the kids.”

The plight of Migrant children in China is of particular concern given the widening gap in economic development between urban and rural areas in China. In 2004, according to the Centre of Research on Education in China, there is an estimated 20 million migrant children in Mainland China. In Shanghai alone, it is estimated that there are over 320,000 migrant children

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Written by Staff Writer