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Social workers benefit from UK charity's expertise
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Save the Children, the international children's charity, is training a group of Chinese child-protection workers to better help the nation's needy youngsters.

The UK-based organization is currently running a two-week course, which started on October 22, at Peking University.

The training program, organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, involves 42 child welfare workers from orphanages and protection centers across China.

Gao Yurong, an official at the office for cooperation between the Ministry of Civil Affairs and Save the Children, said: "Most of the workers did not have systematic knowledge of social work before. But now, they are familiar with many theories and, more importantly, have mastered real skills they can put into practice."

Sun Qin, deputy head of the Chengdu Minor Assistance and Protection Center, said: "In the past, I always did what I thought was right, regardless of the kids' feelings.

"Now we are aware of the problems and are trying to be more child-friendly."

The students will also undergo city-based training in Shanghai or Hong Kong, said Zhou Ye, welfare and protection manager of Save the Children UK China Program.

The cost of the training will be covered by Save the Children and a number of local organizations, Zhou said.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said during a recent visit to China: "We have expertise because we have been going for about 90 years. China's government officials told me they value our experience.

"But we do not just bring ideas from our country and put them in China," she said.

"We are working with the government and communities to develop a creative way of working that is specific to China."

Founded in 1919 in Britain, Save the Children has global alliance members in 28 countries and has implemented programs in more than 110 countries.

In China, the alliance is represented by Save the Children UK. Its work covers the fields of education, child protection, child health and disaster relief, with projects in more than 20 provinces and staffed by 170 professionals.

Between 2001 and 2006, its China Program directly helped about 500,000 children, while its policy suggestions have helped changed the lives of more than 5 million Chinese youngsters.

(China Daily November 3, 2007)

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