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Hand in Hand to Help Each Other

In 1885, Deng Lili, then a primary school student in Wujin City, Jiangsu Province, went to Jinzhai County of Anhui Province to participate in an activity known as "Hand in Hand" with local students.

Jiangsu is one of eastern China's most economically developed provinces, and Deng was surprised to find that the family of her partner, Zhan Yang, were so poor they couldn't afford to young girl's school tuition fees. Each day after school, Zhan had to do housework, and during vacations, she had to work as a temporary worker by carrying bricks to earn money to help her family.

Zhan's circumstance made a great impact on Deng Lili. Returning home, she began to learn to do housework and tried not snack between meals. She studied hard and donated her 3,800 yuan annual pocket money to children in poverty-stricken areas. With the help of Deng, seven poor children have been able to return to school.

Hand in Hand was first sponsored by the China Communist Youth League and the National Juvenile Union Committee in the early 1990s with the idea that all children, whether healthy or handicapped, whether living in developed or undeveloped areas, should unite, help each other and advance together.

In August 1990, Zhang Lin, a girl from Shanghai, put forward a proposal that each child of the city should donate a book for children from families in straitened circumstances. Zhang was the chairperson of the city's Young Pioneer council and one of the country's 10 best Young Pioneers. The proposal drew an enthusiastic response and more than 2.18 million books have been sent to more than 200 poor areas so far.

Later a child from Shenzhen put forward a proposal in the China Juvenile Daily newspaper that all Young Pioneers should donate pocket money to build Hope Schools in poor areas. With the establishment of a Hope School in Xibanpo of Hebei Province, for example, many local children have returned school.

By interviewing and investigation, children all over the country communicate and exchange their feelings about the great changes taking place in their motherland. They also express their love for their hometowns, families and their hopes for a bright future of the world.

In 1998, when floods hit some provinces in central China, Young Pioneers from all across the country donated more than 30 million items of clothing, 60 million pieces of writing materials and 2 million books to the stricken areas. They also wrote more than 40 million letters expressing sympathy and solicitude for the children affected by the floods.

At the beginning of 2000, children from developed areas donated more than 2 million textbooks, writing materials and 3 million items of clothing to poverty-stricken areas in western China.

Each Young Pioneer joining the Hand in Hand activity is urged to do the following: make a friend, write a letter, donate a book and teach a skill. These have helped children to make their way in life by their own efforts and work in unity and close cooperation.

A sample survey conducted by the National Juvenile Union Committee and China Juvenile Research Center shows that 52.7 percent of the country's Young Pioneers have joined the Hand in Hand activity, benefiting them a great deal. The activity has become a basic work in the country's school education.


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