Arup Community Engagement


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Arup Community Engagement



Sowers Action is a Hong Kong charity group that promotes schooling for children across China. In late July, eight of our Shanghai staff joined other volunteers from Hong Kong to visit one of their orphanages which was in Shuifu, Yunnan province.

Sixty five children aged between 4 to 19 years old live there and our mission was to bring them a brilliant summer. In fact, planning this fortnight programme also prompted us to think about how we can be relevant to the needs of a challenged group.

We tried to offer as much as we can. From storytelling, to botany and photography, from playing piano to long-rope skipping, the children enjoyed all the activities and we rediscovered the joy that accompanies some long-forgotten hobbies and desires. We also demonstrated some experiments, like how to generate electricity from apples. Our aim was to inspire the children and one day they will come up with something original.

The sweetest moment came when the kids gave their own performances with their own props in the neighbouring elderly home. We’ve also organised a 1-day outing to Yibin in Sichuan province where the children visited a zoo and lush parks.

The other ‘mission’ was to help Sowers Action explore feasibilities to upgrade the orphanage into one that can accommodate 200 children and with facilities like a canteen and rehabilitation room for the disabled. With a limited budget, we brought in our newly developed drone surveying technique to help the group to find out whether building a new building or expanding the current one would work best for them.

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