'Little Dragon' provides better life for prisoners’ children

‘Tianjin Sun Village’ is the temporary home for many young Chinese children whose parents are staying in prison in Tianjin. They are called ‘orphans in law’ and are living as one big family under the wings of Mrs. Wang Ali-Li. She took the poor situation of the solitary kids to heart and offered them a roof over their heads in her own home in Han Jiashu, Beichen district. From her own savings she built a shelter on her premises where she can offer the children protection as well as a warm and harmonious life. By planting vegetables and fruit and by recovering waste she manages to feed the children.

Despite all her hard efforts it appeared that Mrs. Wang’s family became too big to properly maintain them and the kids were still leading a hard and poor life. ‘Sun Village’ needed help and our colleagues from Industrial Coatings in Tianjin had heard about the poor conditions of the shelter where the children actually lived in poverty. They paid a visit to the shelter and were appalled to see the bad state of the house as well as its sanitary conditions: cracked walls and a broken toilet were just a few examples. Also one bed had to be shared by two children.

After some more field visits a final inventory was made and the ‘Little Dragon’ project was designed to improve the living and learning environment of the poor children. Support from the Community Program was granted and a plan of action was made to repair the shelter, rebuild the toilet and renovate the walls. Another part of the plan was to improve the Sun Village Fruit Garden by planting saplings in order to achieve more proceeds during the harvesting time.

During various sessions our volunteering colleagues painted the walls and created beautiful drawings to brighten up the lives of the children. Also the saplings were planted and in the fall our volunteers returned to help harvesting the grown vegetables, like beans, cabbage and carrots. On the farmland they were taught by Mrs. Wang and the children how to use the farming tools and how to reap the vegetables and in turn our volunteers taught the children English words in relation to the vegetables and the food that they cooked together with the children afterwards. The entire operation was a great success for all involved as one of the volunteering employees said: ‘the food was delicious and we really had a wonderful time’.

The reactions from the children were really heart warming and our colleagues in Tianjin are determined to continue their support for Sun Village. HR Assistant Yoyo Yu confirmed their strong motivation by saying: ‘we want to make the children feel the warmth from the AkzoNobel family and give them the power to develop themselves and hopefully become great pillars in society in the future’.

We will keep you informed about the progress of this worthwhile sustainable initiative!