Boost in fund­ing to help so­cial work in­sti­tu­tions

Li Ka Shing Foun­da­tion con­trib­utes 20 mil­lion yuan to joint projects

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By FAN FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs and the Li Ka Shing Foun­da­tion have an­nounced they will sub­si­dize 100 so­cial work in­sti­tu­tions in 100 com­mu­ni­ties from Fe­bru­ary 2014 to De­cem­ber 2015.

The Li Ka Shing Foun­da­tion has given 20 mil­lion yuan ($3.3 mil­lion) to the project, which will be brought to com­mu­ni­ties mainly in Zhe­jiang, Shan­dong and An­hui prov­inces and Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Each so­cial work in­sti­tu­tion will get 100,000 to 200,000 yuan in sub­si­dies to pro­vide pro­fes­sional so­cial work ser­vices for 200,000 peo­ple.

The poor, the el­derly, the dis­abled, mi­grant work­ers, left-be­hind chil­dren and other vul­ner­a­ble groups will re­ceive ser­vices.

“We aim to im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of the vul­ner­a­ble, cul­ti­vate pro­fes­sional so­cial work­ers and strengthen the or­ga­ni­za­tion of so­cial ser­vices through the pro­gram,” said Meng Zhiqiang, deputy di­rec­tor of the so­cial work depart­ment at the min­istry.

Meng added there are about 400,000 pro­fes­sional so­cial work­ers na­tion­wide, of which 123,800 have pro­fes­sional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and there are more than 2,400 pri­vate so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“Fur­ther­more, we pro­mote set­ting up a stan­dard­ized sys­tem for pro­fes­sional so­cial work ser­vices,” said Meng.

So­cial ser­vices should meet the needs of the com­mu­ni­ties, Meng added. Ser­vices in­clude psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing, health­care, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices, em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance, le­gal aid, rights pro­tec­tion, skills train­ing and so on.

In­sti­tu­tions in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing for the sub­sidy should be reg­is­tered un­der the min­istry, have been promised funds from lo­cal civil af­fairs depart­ment or other so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions and should have a so­cial work team, of which no less than 30 per­cent are cer­ti­fied.

It is es­ti­mated that about 200,000 peo­ple in need would ben­e­fit from the ser­vice.

“As for the train­ing and cul­ti­va­tion of pro­fes­sional tal­ents, we set up an ed­u­ca­tion and ser­vice web por­tal to pro­vide on­line train­ing,” Meng added.

In the 12th five-year plan for civil af­fairs de­vel­op­ment, the govern­ment has pro­moted the fund­ing of so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Min­is­ter of Civil Af­fairs Li Liguo said at the na­tional civil af­fairs con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber that the govern­ment has vig­or­ously sup­ported pri­vate so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions and for­mu­lated poli­cies for cul­ti­vat­ing pro­fes­sional so­cial work tal­ent.

Shi Yanxia, di­rec­tor of the grass­roots non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Rights into Ac­tion for Youth with Dis­abil­i­ties, said “We lack pro­fes­sional so­cial work­ers and a train­ing sys­tem”, adding the on­line train­ing course may help solve that prob­lem.

Shi hoped there will be more govern­ment sup­port for so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions in the fu­ture, which could im­prove the qual­ity of ser­vice for vul­ner­a­ble groups and al­le­vi­ate pres­sure caused by a short­age of funds.

Li Tao, the chief di­rec­tor of the Bei­jing so­cial work or­ga­ni­za­tion Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, a non­profit group pro­vid­ing so­cial ser­vices for mi­grant work­ers, told China Daily they sup­port the project be­cause it pro­vides a new chan­nel for pri­vate so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions to gain more re­sources.

“So­cial ser­vices or­ga­ni­za­tions are still cul­ti­vat­ing and de­vel­op­ing, so we hope the govern­ment will of­fer more fund­ing and re­sources for our de­vel­op­ment,” Li said, adding that his or­ga­ni­za­tion should re­ceive more re­spect from sup­port­ers when it re­ceives the govern­ment sub­sidy.

Zhang Zhan­jun, 52, a mi­grant worker from Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, has lived in Bei­jing for more than 20 years and said so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions have helped him a lot.

“For in­stance, the so­cial work­ers helped me ask em­ploy­ers for salaries and book train tick­ets dur­ing the hol­i­days. They also pro­vided us with le­gal as­sis­tance.”

When he faced some per­sonal prob­lems, they also pro­vided coun­sel­ing.

“I want to par­tic­i­pate in more so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and bet­ter in­te­grate my­self into city life.”

PEI XIN / XIN­HUA

So­cial work­ers and vol­un­teers hold a birth­day party for 10 chil­dren at an or­phan­age in Shang­hai on Jan 17. Later that day, they helped the or­phan­age pre­pare for Spring Fes­ti­val celebrations.

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