Spirit of volunteerism lives on
[ 2009-08-07 13:20]
Every month, 92-year-old Qie Luhe looks forward to seeing Li Ou and her colleagues from Haidian Hospital. They not only bring him medicines and check his blood pressure, but also cheer him up with jokes, share the news and sometimes even do the housework. Since 1994, this team of volunteers, which Li joined in 2004, has been nursing Qie, a retired middle school teacher who lives with his wife in an apartment building about 30-minutes' drive from the hospital.
"He is like our grandfather," says Li. "Over the past 15 years, our team has seen some people leaving and new ones joining. But we have all been inspired by his optimism," she says.
A Beijing Olympics torchbearer, Li also provided medical services during the Games at the hospital's six volunteer stands, known as the "blue cubic".
A few months ago, they began to care for another elderly couple and also joined the Chinese Young Volunteers Association, to cater to more people.
Li's team is one example of the Olympic legacy of volunteerism among 85,000 volunteers in Haidian.
Wang Sen, from the Communist Youth League Committee of Haidian, says the district has established a government-sponsored volunteers union, post-Olympics. It has more than 230 individual members and many colleges and universities who account for almost 50 percent of the total membership.
The union's 117 bases include rehabilitation centers, homes for the underprivileged, community service centers and nursing homes for the aged.
"We will also run a class through the week, where college students can help migrant children in the district review what they've learned. At present, this class runs only on Tuesday afternoon during the summer vacation," says Wang.
"The union helps connect those willing to help with those in need of help," he says.
However, problems remain. Yin says most volunteers work for the disabled, underprivileged and the elderly. But to reach more people, volunteers need to branch out into more areas.
"For instance, we've asked college students from the China Agriculture University to lecture on energy saving and gardening, which has been well received by the residents."
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op��Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily��s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.