Olympic spirit drives volunteerism
Updated: 2012-10-17 22:57
By ZHENG XIN (China Daily)
The volunteer spirit keeps carrying forward in Chaoyang, the district that houses the stadiums for the Beijing Olympics, after the one-of-a-kind summer Games in 2008.
The number of registered volunteers in the biggest and most populated district of the capital has exceeded 370,000, with 382 groups, accounting for more than 10 percent of the permanent population, according to Cheng Lianyuan, Party chief of the district.
A visually impaired man (left) runs a race, accompanied by a fully sighted volunteer, as part of an event organized for people with visual impairment, at Beijing Olympic Park in the city's Chaoyang district in August. He Guang / for China Daily
"It’s necessary we conduct the volunteer work on a regular basis and provide more convenient channels to involve more of the public in activities," Cheng said on Wednesday.
As one of the legacies of the Olympic Games, the district that houses 50 percent of the foreign population and nearly all foreign embassies in the capital is paying more attention to volunteer work, he said.
Volunteer groups in all fields, including environmental protection, medical care and community civil order, proved the district was more than capable of providing historic sports moments that people still talk about years later.
Despite some people’s beliefs that an Olympics rarely has a lasting effect, the Beijing Games legacy seems to be a lasting one, especially in Chaoyang.
As the Olympic Village is set in a former village, some 26,000 farmers moved out from cottages in farmland to high-rise blocks, with improved housing conditions.
Their livestock also moved with them.
"It was hard to persuade them to obey the community rules at first, and the volunteers played a major rule in restoring social order," said Zhang Yonghong, Party chief of the Olympic Village community.
"We have conducted various door-to-door campaigns and promotions by volunteers, to promote and instill residents with the idea of civil order and a social mind."
After years of efforts, the community has greatly improved, he said.
The community is not alone.
Ye Ruling, a volunteer during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is giving greater scope to his devotion four years later.
He has set up a workshop in his community to provide basic medical care to residents, including blood pressure tests, psychological counseling and promoting health education among the elderly.
"There are a lot of elderly empty-nesters in the community, and it’s urgent that we have someone to take care of them," he said. "Volunteering has become a part of my life and a lifelong cause worth pursuing."
Ma Zhongliang, director of Beijing Municipal Social Organization Development and Management Committee, said: "People in Beijing are still immersed in the spirit of the Games, especially the devotion and dedication of volunteers."
To further consolidate the blooming prosperity of the volunteer industry in the district, Cheng said the government will come up with more volunteer projects and recruit more volunteers.
"The primary purpose is to make the public happier and more satisfied with their living conditions," he said. "It’s great that the legacy of the Olympics is shining with greater brilliance."