“It’s the small steps that we can all take that really add up and move us forward.”Raymond Faulkner
A Chinese proverb says that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (千里之行始于足下), and for Raymond Faulkner, it’s the “little bit we can all do in our own communities that when we look at it together really makes an impact.” He serves as the President of the Hangzhou Rotary Club, whose 17 members volunteer three times a month to help teach local children who are receiving cancer treatment.
AMM: How did you get involved with helping these kids?
Raymond: We work with a local NGO, New Sunshine Charity Fund (NSCF). NSCF was founded by Liu Zhengchen, a former leukemia patient. He and the members of Beijing University Sunshine Volunteer Association, the predecessor of NSCF led by Liu, tutored a leukemic child called Zuoyan and realized how eager children like him were for schooling. From this small beginning, the program has expanded across multiple cities involving a number of community support groups. One of their programs is Hospital Schools, establishing hospital schools in high care hospitals for children who can’t attend school. This program has expanded in just 7 years to include over 30 schools across 16 cities in China. In Hangzhou the program is supported by the Teachers College, providing a training base for teachers and at the same time providing the much needed teaching resources for the hospital school programs. Rotary supports the program by hosting classes with foreign volunteers to add cultural lessons, and English tutorials. We just love supporting and working with them to bring some light to these wonderful children that are just dealing with such a heart-wrenching situation.
AMM: How does the Hangzhou Rotary Club help out?
Raymond: We volunteer and support the teachers, and this brings a nice international flavour to the classes with games, songs, and English lessons, giving them some cultural exposure they wouldn’t normally get. We fundraise for this charity and other initiatives and collect toys to give these children at Christmas so they can have a bit of Christmas cheer, too.
AMM: What would you say to others looking to do similar work in their communities?
Raymond: Focus on local activities and then use success to build momentum. You need stories that touch people to get people involved. Go out and tell as many people all of your stories of what you are trying to do and you’ll set a fire and get people that believe in your vision. Some bigger groups take bigger steps, but small movements have an immeasurable impact in the lives they touch. In the end it comes down to doing what you can with what you’ve got and sticking with it to see it through.
Raymond Faulkner is the General Manager of Hangzhou Sofitel West Lake Hotel and President of the Hangzhou Rotary Club. He strives to be a “Person of Service, ” and even though the Hangzhou chapter is small in size, they make a huge difference in the lives of local children overcoming cancer.