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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
Young woman grows with volunteers
     2014-May-30  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Martin Li

    martin.mouse@163.com

    ZHANG YUAN, secretary general of Shenzhen Voluntary Service Foundation (SZVSF), said she is proud that there are so many young people dedicated to volunteer service in Shenzhen, a materialistic city in the eyes of many outsiders.

    Zhang is one of these dedicated volunteers, but she didn’t envision this being her life four years ago.

    The SZVSF was established in 2012 and helps volunteers by providing funds for their philanthropic acts or projects.

    The Shenzhen Youth Federation and the Southern Metropolis Daily nominated Zhang as one of the 10 model young people for her dedication to volunteer service.

    Carefree life in France

    Zhang was born in Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, in 1981. She spent five years in France earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Then she found a good paying job with a company in Paris.

    “My colleagues and I always came to the office with backpacks Friday. We would go traveling after work and came back to office Monday, still carrying our backpacks,” recalled Zhang, who was in charge of workflow management in the company.

    Zhang didn’t need to work overtime and enjoyed regular holidays. She often went traveling and hiking.

    However, after three years of a carefree life in Paris, Zhang started thinking about a change. “A person should experience different things and meet different people. These are the things I wanted to do,” she thought.

    Coming to Shenzhen

    Zhang quit her job and came to Shenzhen in the summer of 2009.

    She didn’t have to find a job immediately thanks to her savings. At first, she looked for opportunities to volunteer as a teacher, something she had always dreamed of doing.

    “Many of my schoolmates used to be volunteer teachers, so I looked forward to it,” she said.

    However, Zhang failed to find a local placement because she didn’t have a teaching certificate.

    By chance, she logged onto the Shenzhen Volunteer Association (SZVA) website and saw advertisements for volunteer teachers wanted in Togo, West Africa.

    Zhang and a group of several other volunteers headed to Togo in August 2009 for a one-year teaching program at a university in Lome, the capital city of Togo.

    In sharp contrast with the exciting life Zhang expected before departure, though, life in Togo was boring. She went from the classroom to her dormitory every day and had no access to the Internet. All the volunteers, including Zhang, seldom stepped out of the school due to safety concerns.

    However, Zhang said the teaching experience in Togo broadened her horizons and she met many friendly people in Togo. When Zhang completed her teaching contract in Togo, she made a decision to continue volunteering.

    A volunteering career

    When Zhang came back to Shenzhen, she found a vacancy with Shenzhen Youth Development Foundation (SZYDF). Her enterprise management experience in France earned her a position as deputy secretary general of the SZYDF, a public fundraising institution dedicated to helping youths and volunteers.

    At first, Zhang still stuck to a French work style. She was unhappy receiving phone calls regarding work during non-working hours. She even complained to her superior that it was an infringement on her rights by talking work on the phone on weekends.

    However, Zhang’s attitude started changing the more she got involved in the foundation’s work. “Many people around me were a positive influence,” she said.

    Zhang said her former boss talked about volunteer work whenever and wherever there was a chance, even on WeChat and weibo.

    “I am proud to see so many young volunteers in Shenzhen,” she said.

    Zhang took up the position as secretary general of the SZVSF in 2012.

    Sense of responsibility

    As the secretary general, Zhang started interacting with volunteers every day, learning more about their needs. She felt a sense of responsibility and urgency.

    “I didn’t want to waste this new opportunity I had, and I wanted to do something for the volunteers,” she recalled.

    The foundation has raised 17 million yuan (US$2.78 million) since its establishment thanks to efforts by Zhang and her colleagues.

    Seventy volunteer service projects have received more than 2.2 million yuan, including projects to aid autistic children, handicapped people, solitary seniors and students in remote mountainous areas.

    Zhang is also in charge of the public good team of the SZVA, which has organized several fundraisers to help needy volunteers, children with brain paralysis, handicapped people and premature twins.

    No waste of time

    “I have an active gene and always want to break away and then seek a new balance. I can’t guarantee that I will do what I’m doing forever, but I will give it all of my focus while I am here,” said Zhang.

    Zhang said a model youth should be vibrant, kind-hearted and give off a positive energy. “All volunteers in Shenzhen are model youths,” she said.

    “A person should experience different things and meet different people. These are the things I wanted to do.”

    — Zhang Yuan, secretary general of Shenzhen Voluntary Service Foundation (SZVSF)

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