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Volunteers of all varieties step up for Expo

THE elderly, foreigners and physically handicapped lined up to become volunteer workers for the Expo Shanghai 2010 today as the organizers launched a recruitment drive across the city.

Shanghai Party Chief Yu Zhensheng encouraged all the city's residents, especially young people, to become involved in the world fair. He spoke at a ceremony marking the one-year countdown at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing and said volunteer work was "a key opportunity for young people to develop themselves and a platform to showcase local youth."

A 17-year-old Shanghai senior high school student was the first applicant to volunteer. Lu Ruiyi, who lives in Pudong close to the Expo site, said she felt lucky not just because she was the first in line but also because she would be 18 next year. Eighteen-year-olds are the youngest volunteers who can work inside the site.

She wants to be an information consultant.

The oldest applicant in the morning crowds in the square in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower, was 68-year-old Sun Xinyi.

The retired maths teacher has been teaching himself English for more than a year so that he can be an interpreter at the Expo.

He reads English textbooks and listens to foreign radio for four hours every day. "I have no problem talking in English now," he said.

Gu Jiamin is 51 and suffers from severe myopia. He is classified as "visually disabled" but arrived at the volunteer drive with a bunch of certificates including some from when he helped at the Special Olympics in Shanghai in 2007.

He wants to help physically handicapped people.

"I am disabled myself so I know how to take care of the physically challenged," Gu said.

The organizers want to recruit physically challenged volunteers who have language skills or other abilities.

About 70,000 volunteers will be recruited to work inside the Expo site and another 100,000 to work in the 1,000 or so service centers around the city during the event, which is expected to attract 70 million visitors.

Volunteers inside the Expo site will work as information consultants, receptionists, helpers for the physically challenged, event coordinators, guides, interpreters, media coordinators and management assistants.

Those outside will help with information, translating, emergency management and promoting good manners.

Applications are being accepted now at 19 venues around the city's 18 districts and Chongming Island as well as at 53 universities. Would-be volunteers can also apply online at,,,, and or dial 962010, the Expo hotline. An English service is available.

The deadline for applications is December 31 and training will be completed in March.


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