Article is contributed by Yeo Wen Zheng, Jacqueline Zhang, Queena Qin, Sunny Zhang, Mandy Zhou, Cat Xie from CapitaLand China (South China) and Siau Fong Fui, a teacher from Singapore
“Although I cannot recall all of their names, I will never forget the shining expressions, the cheerful chatter, the joyous laughter and the curiosity for knowledge that was overwhelmingly evident amongst the children. My short few days with them have left an indelible mark upon my heart. ‘Building for Tomorrow’ – the volunteer platform – has brought us and the kids together for not just the short duration of the visit, but has established an everlasting connection between us,” said a CapitaLand volunteer who visited Lianjiao Hope School on December 14, 2012.
Even China’s southernmost cities cannot escape the cold winter but despite the cold, CapitaLand Lianjiao Hope School in Guangdong Province found itself filled to the brim with warmth, laughter and love. For a team of enthusiastic volunteers from CapitaLand China had descended upon the school for a philanthropic visit to the school’s students.
The 40 volunteers, comprising teachers, media professionals and CapitaLand staff, had all signed up for the “Love for Hope, Green for Future” CapitaLand Hope School Environmental Education Programme. Mr Lucas Loh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, CapitaLand China, was amongst the volunteers and presented 350 sets of school uniforms to the school on behalf of CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF).
Environmental Education an integral part of CHF’s activities
CapitaLand had supported the construction of the CapitaLand Lianjiao Hope School in 2008, and has been active in volunteering at the school since its completion in 2009. Be it Children’s Day or Teachers’ Day, or simply at a seemingly regular day, the CapitaLand China (South China) team would organise activities and visits to the school, providing educational support and donations to the children. This year, our volunteers introduced eco-protection concepts to the children through creativity and interactive learning.
The day started off with the volunteer teachers sharing about nature, the environment and the impact that man has on the environment.
The classroom sharing was then followed by an interactive outdoor session where the students were divided into groups to play games, which revolved around the themes of water resources, air, plants, and animals. These games had been thoughtfully designed by the volunteers to reinforce the environmental concepts that had been introduced earlier. A particularly noteworthy activity was a group effort to paint a 10-metre long banner proclaiming “The Beautiful Earth in my Heart”. As the incessant laughter of children at play made itself heard everywhere in the school’s grounds and courtyards, it brought warmth not just to the cold winter air, but also to the hearts of the volunteers who had travelled hundreds of kilometres to be with the children.
Besides paying attention to the children’s educational needs, the volunteers provided the school’s teaching staff with direct assistance. Ms Siau Fong Fui, who has a lot of experience in teaching primary school students in Singapore, was specially invited to hold a discussion with teachers from CapitaLand Lianjiao Hope School. During the discussion, Ms Siau Fong Fui engaged her audience with a sharing of Singapore’s education philosophy, concepts, and methods, as well as her personal experiences in the classroom. It was a lively and open discussion which was rewarding for all those present.
Stories that touch our hearts
There are lots of touching stories happened during the visit. They are beautiful, real-life examples that illustrate our theme “Through Love, Hope is Spread; Through Green, We Build the Future”.
The Story of a Leaf
The road to school became narrower and narrower; my heart grew more and more excited.
I still remember that weekend afternoon, when my beloved daughter, husband and I were in our neighbourhood collecting fallen leaves to use as props in the games to be conducted in CapitaLand Lianjiao Hope School. There were only a few leaves on the ground, so I tried to collect more by picking fresh leaves from nearby trees. “Stop, you are being not eco-friendly, please set a good example for your daughter,” my husband said. I felt guilty but at the same time, full of happiness. This small incident during the participation of activities for the Hope School has reminded me that I have a home full of love – love for both each other and for the environment.
You need sincerity to show love, and actions put into place to support green ideas. Only with sincerity, can the message of environmental awareness keep spreading.
——Zhang Fen (CapitaLand China staff, Interactive game volunteer)
Everyone has a colourful dream
Colourful flowers, green trees, houses – they all appeared on the white canvas one after another. This is a world built up by children’s dreams. I could never have imagined how strong their creativity was and that my heart was full of excitement when I saw what went on the canvas.
This was my first time as a volunteer. I was deeply moved by the children’s facial expressions as they drew and painted. After they had finished their work, they raised their heads and gave us a big smile, as if saying: “This is the colourful world that belongs to me.” Although they may not know what an iPad or a computer is, their inner hearts are as vivid and colourful as can be.
On that day, all the colours assembled onto that 10-metre canvas.
——Xie Yuting (CapitaLand China staff, Interactive game zone volunteer)
Heartfelt words from a volunteer: For a better tomorrow
The volunteering spirit inevitably includes devotion, love, care and self-improvement. Through our participation, we, volunteers can experience a mental baptism while devoting our love.
Just as all things have humble beginnings, learning about environmental protection should begin in one’s childhood. Although it is just a short session with some simple games, we were able to infuse our enthusiasm and care into our interactions with the children. The children were shy initially, but through their expressions I could feel their eagerness and curiosity towards the world around them.
——Mandy Zhou (CapitaLand China staff, class session volunteer)
No matter where the children come from, bustling city or humble countryside, their smiles are just the same: bright and shining. They are energetic and eager to learn about the world. As classroom time is limited, I reminded myself to make the best use of this time, so that the children can enjoy and benefit from it. Though my stay in CapitaLand Lianjiao Hope School is short, I hope that my participation and sharing will leave an impression on the school’s teachers and students.
——Siau Fong Fui (Primary school teacher from Singapore)
Let us all be inspired by Mother Theresa’s words: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Our credo: Building People.
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