Chinese volunteers on the rise overseas

Updated: 2013-05-11 00:41

By WANG ZHENGHUA in Shanghai (China Daily)

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More are motivated to offer their services in developing nations

Wu Xiangde is super busy these days. As a veteran volunteer from China, the 65-year-old is on a nonprofit program to treat a highly polluted river in Nairobi, Kenya, updating each day's progress on his blogs.

"There are volunteers from many countries on different projects in Kenya," said Wu, from Liaoning province, who has been involved in programs as a volunteer in Africa since 2003. "You don't feel alone and can gain motivation from others. I am filled with happiness."

He is just one of the rising number of Chinese who voluntarily devote their time and energy to service overseas.

Ten years ago, government-backed NGOs started to send Chinese volunteers overseas, with the major task of promoting Chinese culture and fostering friendship between China and other countries.

Wang Xiaohui, a sub-director at the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, said 590 volunteers have been sent so far to 22 developing countries in Asia and Africa in a program his organization co-launched with the Chinese Young Volunteers Association in 2002.

Most of these volunteers are teaching Mandarin, and work in sectors such as health, agriculture, sports, resources development and IT promotions, he said.

AIESEC, the largest student-run organization in the world, sent more than 2,400 Chinese students and fresh graduates to work as volunteers in overseas schools and communities, for six weeks to a few months in 2012, a 20 percent increase year-on-year.

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