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March 5, 2011

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Volunteers to receive accident insurance

THE city's volunteers will be covered by accident insurance from now on, as the city set up a special fund today which -insures claims of up to 200,000 yuan (US$30,432.8) for each volunteer.

Today marks the day that late Chinese leader Mao Zedong called on the entire country to learn from Lei Feng, a People's Liberation Army soldier in the 1960s who dedicated his whole life to helping others.

Although some people today think it is too old-fashioned to follow the Lei Feng example, many young people would like to volunteer as part of the tradition set by the PLA soldier.

Shanghai currently has around 1 million registered volunteers. They can work in positions such as traffic assistants at intersections and as neighbor-conflict mediators in communities.

"It's natural for volunteers to suffer accidental injuries while carrying out their services," said Zhou Min, an official with the Shanghai Volunteer Association.

Bone fractures and bruises are common, especially among seniors during the cold winter days, Zhou said.

However, who should pay compensation when volunteers got hurt in course of their work became a problem.

A volunteer died after being hit by a tractor in Pudong's Nanhui area in 2007 while helping to control traffic. Luckily, his community had taken out insurance for its volunteers.

But the lack of insurance had caused trouble for many other volunteers.

With 30-million yuan in corporate funding, the association will take out insurance for each volunteer to protect them in their work.

According to the city's five-year plan, 10 percent of local residents aged between 16 and 70 will become registered volunteers and 20 percent will have -voluntary experience.


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