In the early morning of September 23, two teams from Concordia International School Shanghai, totaling 36 students and 4 teachers, ventured out into rural areas of Yunnan and Guangdong provinces to show love, do meaningful service and learn from young students who are being reached by CWEF’s ongoing education programs. The teams that served with CWEF were but two of over 20 similar groups taking part in Concordia Shanghai’s annual TrIBES educational travel program.
One of the teams spent time teaching basic English and science classes at two primary schools in Gaoqiao town, Yunnan province. CWEF has entered into a partnership with a local grassroots NGO in this area called Zhengxin Community Service Center, which is focused on serving the local population of left-behind children, as well as the elderly who are often the local children’s primary caregivers. CWEF’s initial collaboration with Zhengxin has been to support a library at the community center run by Zhengxin. The funds for this project were donated by the Concordia Shanghai community, and the TrIBES team was able to enjoy a day interacting with local children at the community center. Toward the end of the trip, CWEF staff, Concordia Shanghai teachers and Zhengxin director Li Jun were already brainstorming ideas for future collaboration with the community center and local schools in Gaoqiao.
The second TrIBES team returned once again to Sibao Primary School in Guangdong province to hold a sports camp for the children there. Sibao is the site of the first iteration of the GROW program, which reaches out to the local left-behind children and their families in this village. Again, the majority of the first year of funding for the GROW project in Sibao was funded by the Concordia Shanghai community. This year’s sports camp was the fourth such Concordia Shanghai TrIBES trip, and the third led by Concordia Shanghai teacher and coach Becki B., who wrote, “This was my third year of participating in YEP Sports and I have truly loved every minute of this experience.”
Here is a selection of reflections from Concordia Shanghai students when asked “What is your biggest take away from this experience”:
“That even if we are making a small sacrifice, it can mean the world to someone else.”
“This TrIBES really brought me out of my comfort zone in teaching, but also gave a lot of amazing opportunities to interact, learn and teach the kids, who made the trip extremely memorable.”
“Happiness and fulfillment comes from helping others.”
“Although we may never return to Huaiji, Guangdong, we are more than capable of affecting the lives of the less fortunate, and that there are opportunities to do so just within our immediate community.”