Volunteer in China

Preserving traditional Chinese arts and cultural heritage
Fuzhou, Jiangxi       July 11 - July 19, 2018

Volunteer project: Fuzhou city has a long history of rich cultural heritage and resources that had profound impact on the Chinese history and modern celebrated culture. It has been named the “Hometown of Scholar and Talent” and the “City of Culture”. Many folk arts from years of heritage and techniques, such as bamboo knitting, hand-made mounting pictures, paper cutting art, songs, etc., had been passed down through many generations and can be discovered in this city. However, in today’s modern society where many products are mass-produced by machines, the art of practicing traditional craftsmanship faces the brink of extinction. Finding passionate new generation of young people who are committed to its practice and its teaching to the next generation is a challenge, and these once loved folk arts are losing in popularity compared to the modern taste. Educating the public of their value and importance, in addition to teaching of why and how to appreciate these forms of art, are all important in preserving the cultural heritage of the city and the country.

In this project, volunteers will cooperate with a non-profit educational and cultural organization formed by University and high school students. The aims of the organization are to serve the society and promote culture. With the idea of improving social atmosphere and development, they enhance the integrated capability of youth through cultural preservation, educational support and caring for left-behind children.

Project aims:
• To promote the preservation of traditional Chinese art and craftsmanship
• To enhance international exchange and folk art and culture
• To inspire future changemakers who are impactful towards arts and cultural heritage preservation

Volunteer activities:
• Observe and learn Chinese art and culture, such as calligraphy, carving, and paper cutting.
• Organize charity sales of local and international art and cultural products towards the end of the project
• Participate in discussions on changemaking stories or ideas on arts and cultural heritage preservation whether they are from your country or from others
• Assist the daily work of the school or the temple

Language: English

Accommodation: Volunteers will be staying in a school dormitory or a Buddhist temple. Simple meals will be provided three times a day at the cafeteria within the school or the temple. The temple serves only vegetarian food. Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag.

Location: Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province
Located in the eastern region of Jiangxi Province, Fuzhou city is surrounded by mountains in the east, south, and west. It has hills, river valleys and basins spaced in the central region of the city. The main form of Chinese spoken is Mandarin Chinese. However, the majority of the local residents can also speak the Fuzhou dialect. Fuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with very hot and humid long summers and mild and dry short winters.

Closest airport: Nanchang Changbei International Airport (KHN)

Age range: 18 and over

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Sustainable farming experience
Zhongshan, Guangdong       July 1 - July 9, 2018

Volunteer project: Growing population and increasing demand for food have led to industrial farming practices which are detrimental to both the environment and to our health. Sustainable farming is the way forward as it takes into consideration our health, the environment, local communities and animal welfare. It produces food in a way that allows for ecological balance and maintenance of biodiversity. Plants, animals and humans are all part of nature and we rely on each other to survive. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, depletion of resources and extinction of species are devastating results of our exploitation of nature. Rethinking our role in nature and our footprint on this planet is key to the survival of future generations.

The project host is an organic farm and sanctuary for many farm animals such as mules, ponies, pigs, turkeys, rabbits and dogs. This family-run farm was created with a mission to ‘reconnect urban dwellers to nature’ and ‘to promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle’ through their tailor-made activities for people of all ages. Cradled by the lush forests of Wen Bi Shan, this is a land of beauty and serenity where nature, animals and people all come together in harmony.

Project aims:
• To provide a unique experiential learning opportunity to enrich knowledge of sustainable farming and animal care
• To increase awareness of the negative impact of industrial farming on our health and on the environment
• To encourage volunteers to engage with nature physically, mentally and spiritually
• To cultivate a sustainable and harmonious co-existence with plants, animals and all other members of our ‘earth community’
• To spread the principles of environmental sustainability and raise active citizenship committed to a fairer society
• To inspire future changemakers who are impactful towards sustainable farming and animal care issues

Volunteer activities:
• Farming and harvesting herbs, fruits and vegetables
• Picking and packaging herbs, fruits and vegetables
• Caring of farm animals (feeding, grooming, exercise, etc.)
• Helping with daily operation and general maintenance of the farm
• Participating in discussions on changemaking ideas and examples of sustainable farming and animal care
• Other duties assigned by the farm staff
• Identifying Chinese medicinal plants and their healing properties (optional)
• Guided meditation in nature (optional)

Special requirements: Volunteers should love working with animals and have no allergic reaction to animals. They should also be willing to eat vegan food.

Language: English

Accommodation: Simple and basic accommodation is provided in the farm. Beddings are also available. Tents are available for volunteers who wish to camp. Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be from the farm. Please note that the meals will be all vegan.

Location: Zhongshan, Guangdong Province
Located on the western side of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province, Zhongshan is a city named after the founding father of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (aka Sun Zhongshan in Mandarin). You can visit a series of historical attractions related to Sun Yat-sen when you are here. Here you can also enjoy the famous Cantonese cuisine, while visiting the charming downtown river area and some beautiful Buddhist temples. Zhongshan covers an area of 1,800 sq.km and has a permanent population of some 1.4 million. The city is located in a subtropical humid zone with an annual average temperature around 23°C. The local languages in the area are both Cantonese and Mandarin, with most workers on the farm speaking Cantonese.

Closest airport: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

Age range: 18 and over

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Renovation and protection of Fujian Tulou - the ancient earthen castles of China
Yongding, Fujian       July 21 - August 1, 2018

Volunteer project: Fujian Tulous are unique Chinese rural dwellings built between the 12th and 20th centuries by the mountainous Hakka people living in Fujian. In China, the Chinese traditional concept called “Feng-Shui” focuses on the relationship between human being and nature. Therefore, the Tulous were built with great consideration of the harmony with and respect for their surrounding nature in a very sustainable and energy efficient way, using local materials. They are interdependent with the mountains and rivers and form an ecological connection with nature over time. However, with globalization and the expansion of cities today, the environment is sometimes ignored and new structures are being built around the Tulous.
Moreover, a Tulou is usually inhabited by one family clan of several generations, and the enclosed structure allows for members to work together defending each other. Individual rooms provide privacy, but there are also communal areas, which provide for cultural gatherings and communication. Nowadays, the community dependence is weakening with young people moving out to the cities for work or for school. Emphasis on private property is growing and villagers prefer living in larger and more modern buildings.

Project aims:
• To preserve, protect, and promote Tulou (background, history, culture, architecture)
• To enhance international exchange and promote sustainable tourism and development of the Tulou
• To inspire future changemakers who are impactful towards world heritage preservation and sustainable tourism and/or building structures

Volunteer activities:
• Learn why and how to renovate Tulou and assist in renovating and beautifying its surrounding environment
• Continue the building of a Tulou wall
• Share the World/Cultural Heritage of your country with the local people
• Interact with local villagers through cultural activities
• Participate in discussions on changemaking stories or ideas on world heritage preservation and sustainable building structures whether they are from your country or from others

Language: English

Accommodation: Volunteers will be staying in an old village school dormitory with simple beddings.

Location: Da Ling Xia Village, Yongding, Longyan, Fujian Province
Longyan is located in western Fujian Province. Mountains and hills zigzag from northeast to southwest, occupying nearly eighty percent of the city's land area. This city belongs to the subtropical zone, enjoying an oceanic monsoon climate. The weather is moderate all the year round.

Closest airport: Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN)

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 1,200 CNY (about 160 Euro)
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project who does not have sufficient funds. It is due upon arrival.

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