Winter Conference of Amity's international exchange programs

The participants of the Amity Winter Conference 2018 in Peitian.

From 20 to 26 January, the Amity Foundation held its annual Winter Conference for overseas volunteers, long-term teachers and its Chinese partner organizations in Fujian Province.

The purpose of Amity's Annual Winter Conference is to exchange volunteering and work experience among the participants of Amity's Education and International Exchange Department, strengthen their resilience and equip them with new ideas for their future ongoing service in China. For the participating partner institutions of the Chinese educational sector, Amity organized a conference simultaneously, where participants discussed and exchanged about organizational, caring and supervising issues of overseas staff. All together the attendees joined project visits and an exposure tour of rural development and community building projects supported by Amity in Peitian Village.

The overseas participants were warmly welcomed by Amity's Associate General Secretary She Hongyu. Hongyu told a story about a woman in her 30s, who once recognized an Amity bag of a long-term teacher during a train ride. The woman revealed to the Amity teacher in well-spoken English, that Amity changed her life when she was young. When she was a kid, an overseas Amity volunteer was teaching her father English and so she became exposed to the language. By this anecdote, Hongyu emphasized the importance of Amity's work over the last decade and in particular the work of overseas volunteers and teachers. Thereby, Ms She Hongyu pointed out the enduring impact of Amity's engagement - nowadays even for the second generation of people in China.

Afterwards, Reverent Fung, a church representatives of the Xiamen Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the Christian Council introduced the Protestant Church in Xiamen and Fujian Province. She informed the overseas teachers about Christian activities, the history as well as the social engagement of the church in Xiamen. Lisa Meng gave an introduction about the Amity Pfrang and Heartwings Theater Program under Amity's Education and International Exchange Department. In a second part of the conference, the overseas Amity teachers and volunteers shared their work assignments and daily life with the conference participants. Thereafter, the log-term teacher hold workshops on evaluating the previous work and teaching new techniques for the future work as teaching volunteers and cultural ambassadors.

Amity's overseas volunteers and teachers were welcomed by Rev. Fung and She Hongyu (left). During the conference the participants exchanged about their work and best teaching practices (right).

Subsequently, Amity's local partner in Peitian introduced Amity's work for rural community development. Then, the group prepared for a special volunteering teaching camp for school children of Peitian village. Honored as one of the ten most idyllic villages in China, Peitian has a history of over 800 years ancient history and commemorate the Hakka culture. Since 2016, Amity has been supporting community colleges in this region and has been training villagers and in particular young people to promote their unique culture and make a living in the village. Over the next days, the participants of Amity's Winter conference went to Peitian village, being exposed to rural life and engaging with the local village community.

The volunteers and teachers organized an English teaching camp in for the students in Peitian village.

The participants experienced village life and culture first hand. Paper cutting (left) and playing the drums (right).