On the evening of Oct 22, six volunteer teachers and a volunteer teaching team are awarded in the first "Samuel Pollard Gardener Award" held in Beijing. The scholar Chen Haowu, the president of Shenzhen Pollard Shimenkan Education Public Foundation, hopes that these unknown people can receive the respect from the society.
The party started with a dance from Yunnan's Miao group and the performers from different places of Guizhou. Then a folk music player performed a Miao instrument.
The award was set up by Shenzhen Pollard Shimenkan Education Public Foundation and Beijing For China (or Weihua)Public Welfare Foundation, aiming to "finding Pollard in the contemporary era." It rewards volunteer teachers who have been supporting the distant poor areas like Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou for a long time or those who supported then in other ways. The commendation not only provides financial support but also shows recognition and support for the voluntary work.
Two of the award-winning teachers are unable to receive their prizes because they still teach in the mountainous areas.
When the rest of the winners given their address regarding the award, all of them are moved to tears, saying that those innocent and beautiful children have always touched them. One of the teachers said, "Everyone seeks the meaning of life, so we need to feel being needed. So when you teach as a volunteer, in the beginning, everything you do is actually selfish. However, along the way, you are moved by children's innocence and love. We come not to help children, but children save us." Another winner says, "It is me who help the children but they help my soul."
They call for more attention on volunteer teachers.
On that evening, a girl who has been in the fifth grade in Beijing was invited to share her story. As the youngest donor to the Shimenkan Foundation, she, who is good at drawing, earned 3500 CNY for her painting work. When she heard the story of Shimenkan from her mother, she decided to donate the sum to the foundation to help the locals in need.
It is worth mentioning that Chen Haowu gave the "Excellent Prize" to Bian Shumei, who dedicated her ten years to Shimenkan Xinzhong Primary School as its president.
Chen said that the reason why he established the prize was related to a story. He shared that one day, he invited Bian to share her experience in a Beijing prime office building. His employee saw Bian quarreling with her elder sister while staying before the building's entrance because Bian felt ashamed to go inside for considering that she wore shabby clothes. Her sister took off the coat and put it on Bian then left.
It touched him. "Why did such a person with unselfish dedication lose faith in Beijing?" So he felt the burden honor and respect these volunteer teachers and show them that intellectuals and entrepreneurs in Beijing particularly respect them.
He then thanked an entrepreneur who donated 600,000 CNY as the award fund to support the next three years for this operation. He adds that ten- thousand CNY matters little in the eyes of entrepreneurs, however, the sum is a significant support to the children living in mountains and volunteer teachers, as well as serve as an encouragement to them.