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Youth festival boosts China-Africa ties

By Xing Wen | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-07 06:30
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Participants from a number of countries on the continent find opportunities to take home from event held in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, Xing Wen reports.

In a bustling self-service restaurant, the atmosphere pulsates with energy as African youth and Chinese volunteers sway to the rhythm of music, their colorful and diverse attire creating a kaleidoscope of hues.

Amid the joyful ambience, the air is filled with a symphony of greetings spoken in languages ranging from the melodious tones of Mandarin, the crisp articulation of English, the elegant flow of French, and the richness of the African tongue.

This lively moment encapsulates the essence of the 8th China-Africa Youth Festival.

The event, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the provincial government of Zhejiang, brought together 64 young representatives from various African countries on a trip from May 19 to 26 to Beijing and Jinhua, Zhejiang province.

During the trip, participants experienced traditional Chinese culture, engaged with Chinese government departments, took part in China-Africa youth dialogues and visited historical and cultural sites.

One of their stops in Beijing was the Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling in Xicheng district. Soong, a notable Chinese political figure and wife of Sun Yat-sen, a pioneer of China's democratic revolution, lived and worked there.

The residence preserves the vivid scenes of her daily life — artifacts and photographs displayed at the residence narrate her significant contributions to China's revolution and her advocacy for women's rights and children's welfare.

Mariama Bah from Sierra Leone, one of the African youth representatives, was among the group. She is the station manager of Rise Radio FM 96.3, a community service media organization that aims to amplify the voices of women, girls and young people on critical issues affecting them and promote human rights.

She says she was inspired by Soong's dedication to the welfare of women and children and by the foundation's initiatives aimed at ensuring women's rights and youth health.

"We have to leave a legacy behind," she says.

She plans to network with the foundation to explore potential collaborations on women's empowerment and improving children's welfare.

Ahmed Hassan Wehlie, an online influencer from Somalia, says that their visit to the residence was enriched by young volunteers who shared anecdotes and lesser-known stories about Soong's life. "We were deeply moved by their dedication and hospitality. Their enthusiasm made our visit informative and underscored the importance of preserving and sharing historical heritage," he says.

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