Vol­un­teers get Jin’an beauty tag

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

XI­A­MEN — Zheng Jinx­ing and his friends con­duct nightly pa­trols along the roads of Jin’an com­mu­nity in the coastal city of Xi­a­men in East China’s Fu­jian province.

In 2013, when Zheng, now 54, be­gan the pa­trols, bur­glar­ies were often re­ported within the com­mu­nity.

“Thieves are skill­ful, they can open a door with a plas­tic card. Some of the locks in our com­mu­nity are in­ad­e­quate, so we often en­cour­age res­i­dents to change their locks,” he said.

Zheng and his team of vol­un­teers never take a night off, their pa­trol takes place from 8 pm to 10 pm even dur­ing a typhoon or while their neigh­bors cel­e­brate the Lu­nar New Year. They see it as their duty to the com­mu­nity, which is made up of mainly low and mid­dle-in­come fam­i­lies.

“If we see car lights on or doors un­locked, we let the own­ers know. We re­turn lost bags, mo­bile phones and driver’s li­censes or hand them over to po­lice,” he said.

As a san­i­ta­tion worker, Zheng’s day be­gins at 3 am. When he fin­ishes work, he re­turns to the com­mu­nity to guide traf­fic. Af­ter din­ner, he goes out to pa­trol.

But when he moved to the com­mu­nity in 2009, Zheng was known as a “trou­ble­maker.”

“I al­ways got drunk and got into fights, nothing in the com­mu­nity was good in my eyes,” he re­called. “The head of the com­mit­tee said I should change my be­hav­ior. It took time but even­tu­ally I was able to change.”

Zheng has now been ac­knowl­edged as a star vol­un­teer in the district. His story is typ­i­cal of many of the 2,562 reg­is­tered vol­un­teers in Jin’an. Cov­er­ing 310,000 square me­ters, Jin’an is Xi­a­men’s largest gov­ern­ment­built com­mu­nity for low­in­come fam­i­lies. The com­pre­hen­sive vol­un­teer sys­tem earned it an award as one of China’s “most beau­ti­ful com­mu­ni­ties” last year.

In the morn­ing, a group of el­derly women col­lect garbage and teach the ben­e­fits of sort­ing re­cy­clables. Dur­ing the day, bas­ket­ball, choir and tai chi clubs, or­ga­nized by the vol­un­teers, fill Jin’an with laugh­ter and song. The res­i­dents have free ac­cess to al­most any ser­vice they re­quire as part of the vol­un­tary ser­vices within the com­mu­nity.

They can even re­quest a spe­cific ser­vice by post­ing their needs on­line or leav­ing a mes­sage in a sug­ges­tion box. If the re­quest is rea­son­able, the res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity com­mit­tee will check the vol­un­teer sched­ule and ar­range for some­one with the rel­e­vant pro­fes­sional knowl­edge to as­sist.

To meet the needs of the more than 2,000 el­derly res­i­dents who live alone or have mo­bil­ity is­sues, a group of mid­dle-aged res­i­dents formed the Sunset Red team. They reg­u­larly visit and chat with those in need, read them newspapers, clean their homes or help them buy gro­ceries.

“On week­days, most of our vol­un­teers are mid­dle-aged and el­derly peo­ple, while younger peo­ple often serve the com­mu­nity at night and on week­ends,” Chen Lim­ing, di­rec­tor of the Jin’an res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity com­mit­tee, said.

The vol­un­teers help re­solve dis­putes often seen in other com­mu­ni­ties such as park­ing is­sues and noise com­plaints.

Wu Xi­u­dan, 63, is a re­tired judge. She en­joys danc­ing with her friends in the evenings but knows the younger gen­er­a­tion dis­likes loud mu­sic. So Wu vol­un­teered to be­come a me­di­a­tor be­tween the dif­fer­ent groups within the com­mu­nity.

She later opened a free le­gal con­sul­tancy ser­vice to set­tle dis­putes within the com­mu­nity.

In the video, Di­mash, the am­bas­sador of “I’m in China”, a cul­tural ex­change project in which for­eign stars, on­line celebri­ties and vol­un­teers visit dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try to ex­pe­ri­ence lo­cal cul­ture and cus­toms, and the other for­eign­ers sent their wishes by say­ing, “Stay strong, Sichuan”, in Chi­nese.

Sima Zo­moro­dian, an Ira­nian stu­dent at Sichuan Univer­sity, said she was pre­pared to help the peo­ple there.


reg­is­tered vol­un­teers as­sist com­mu­nity in Xi­a­men

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