China / Society

Volunteer groups work to assist county residents

By Wang Qingyun in Huichang, Jiangxi Province (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-13 07:35

Volunteer groups work to assist county residents

Villager Liao Zubin reads a book with a group of children at a volunteers' center on July 31,2016. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Zhong Yongjin is president of the volunteer association in his village in Huichang county, Jiangxi province.

Among a number of good works the association has carried out this year, Zhong is particularly proud of the dredging of a water channel.

The channel, which provides water for one-third of the village's rice paddies, had been clogged with mud after heavy rain in May and June.

Early one morning in July, more than 10 members of the volunteer association started dredging the channel. As the work continued, more than 40 other villagers joined in, and using tools such as hoes and spades, the work was finished in the scorching noonday heat.

"If it weren't for the villagers who joined us, we wouldn't have been able to finish the work," said Zhong, adding that he believes the volunteer association has inspired residents to contribute more to the community.

The association was established in Huichang's villages as part of the county's drive to encourage a volunteer spirit.

On Nov 21, the county launched a project aimed at encouraging Party members to undertake volunteer work.

Now more than 23,000 Party members in the county are following the example set by Huichang's top official, Cai Xiaowei, who for the past eight months has spent half a day every month undertaking volunteer work.

Liang Xiaoming, honorary president of Huichang's volunteer association, said he was impressed that the practice had continued for more than eight months.

"It has helped to create an atmosphere conducive to developing volunteers in the rural areas," Liang said.

The efforts appear to have paid off, and volunteer associations are now thriving at the grassroots level.

One example is the volunteer association in Zhong's village. Since it was established in April, the association's membership has risen from fewer than 20 people to about 40.

"Our members are everywhere in the village. If there is anything that needs our help, they will send a message to our group on WeChat (a popular social-networking platform). Then, I make a proposal, and those who have the time sign up to do the work," Zhong said.

(China Daily 08/13/2016 page7)

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