The story appears on

Page A15

December 11, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Art and Culture

The district showing residents it cares

LIVING and working in Yangpu District is full of surprises and opportunities for both migrant workers and local residents.

The knowledge-oriented district is supporting its people by developing education programs and an environment that encourages personal interaction between people of all ages.

Zhang Yuyan, 29, from Anhui Province, has struggled through life with only a middle-school education. She arrived in Shanghai when she was 18 and no one else has a better understanding of the hardship brought about by a lack of education than her.

Being the eldest sister at home, she shoulders the responsibility to earn money for the family - her parents and her younger sister and brother. It never occurred to her that she could go back to school to continue her education.

"I have no opportunity and can't afford to go back to school," Zhang said. "The family need me to make ends meet and I've buried my thirst for knowledge ever since."

However, thanks to the district's Elementary Business Administration training program for migrant workers, Zhang is now able to attend EBA classes every Saturday free of charge and then has the opportunity for further study at Shanghai TV University.

She is wild with joy as she used to take for granted that "a middle-school graduate could never have the chance to attend classes taught by university professors."

Zhang is among a group of 32 migrant workers who are the first to receive this training. They all come from the Shanghai Wanji Mechanical Construction and Engineering Co Ltd, a company hiring around 700 migrant workers.

Supported by the Yangpu government, the tuition fee for the EBA program is shared between the government and the company.

The training began late November, and will last for two months. The 32 trainees need to take lessons in "Essentials of Management," "Introduction to Economics" and "Introduction of Law." Whoever passes the three courses can then study management administration at Shanghai TV University without any more exams.

Zhang Qunfeng, 33, is also from Anhui Province. Having lived in Shanghai for 13 years, he says being unable to go to college was the biggest regret for him.

"I dropped out from high school as my family could not afford my tuition fees," he said.

"Before coming to Shanghai, the city had always been a big attraction to me."

Zhang Quanfeng has been working at the company for more than 10 years. From working as a driver to today as a dispatcher, Zhang climbed slowly on the career ladder.

"I've already felt a strong lack of education when growing older and taking more responsibilities. Therefore, I would even pay to get this chance of training," he said. "I'm glad that the company and society support us."

According to Lin Chun, board chairman of the company, most of the 32 trainees are migrant workers with more than 10 years of employment with the company. Their job duties vary and include quality control, accounting and driving.

"I prefer to select my executive team from loyal employees rather than employ a new one," Lin said. "Training is a good way to select talent. It is vital to the sustainable development of our company. We hope to provide more studying opportunities to all in the future."

Lin also views it as a way to attract new employees as it offers brighter chances for future development. "It is our social responsibility to raise the overall quality of our staff. It's meaningful. Knowledge is invaluable," said the board chairman.

"To a growing number of employees, training can also satisfy their demand for interesting team-building activities."

Multi-use house

The local government is also showing care for its residents by providing a multi-generation house for the community.

The idea of the multi-generation house at the Kongjiang community stems from the multi-generation house exhibited at the German Pavilion during the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

The German building tried to address problems brought about by a growing number of the elderly, not enough young people and not enough day care centers. Inside this area, the elderly, the middle-aged and the young can interact with each other.

The Yangpu version serves as a "comprehensive family service center," in which people of various ages can meet others, children enjoy games with peers and old people can also gather and support each other.

"In spite of a better living standard, neighbors get alienated. It is an issue faced by most big cities," said Li Hongzhen, an official from the district's Population and Family Planning Commission.

"The multi-generation house has been implemented in Germany since 2006. We paid several visits to the German Pavilion during the Expo, getting the inspiration and making the decision to build one in Yangpu."

Feeling like a large home, every newcomer to the house is greeted with four Chinese characters "Yin Ai Er Ju," which means "gathering in the name of love."

Covering an area of 300 square meters, the house is divided into seven function areas.

The kitchen is where people can experience a low-carbon life as water conservation and electricity-saving know-how are promoted. Its wall acts as a "blackboard" on which health and fitness tips are written. In its study, residents can read, surf the Internet and exchange books.

The restaurant is more popular among cooking enthusiasts and food lovers. Neighbors can drink afternoon tea, share dishes and cookies prepared by themselves.

The living room is equipped with a television and video-game console for the young.

A room for the elderly features a traditional-style writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper for them to do calligraphy.

The biggest highlight of the house is a 20-square-meter "baby room." The spacious room decorated with cartoons on the walls and a carpet provide a warm environment for babies to learn to walk and play.

A small bedroom promotes family planning consultation services on the site.

There is also a community lounge, organized mostly by volunteers including many elderly community residents.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend