How Save the Children Changed the Last 8 Years of My Life by Zulpinur

Monday 31 August 2015

There are those in our lives who help to guide us by serving as mentors. Some mentors teach us how to understand the world; some teach us how to understand ourselves, and some simply serve as role models—providing us with admirable examples of how to live our lives. In addition to my parents and teachers, one of the most important mentors in my life has been the organisation Save the Children. Save the Children first entered my life when I was 15 years old, and has had a lasting and positive impact on my life ever since then.

I have been interested in hosting events since I was very young. However, I always felt self-conscious because I had to wear glasses. Furthermore, I had no access to any platform upon which I could practice my skills. Save the Children’s "Sweet Home" child activity centre established in Kardon, Yining City in 2006 gave me my opportunity train myself in presenting and hosting events. At the activity centre, I volunteered to host every event and training workshop.

It is not easy to be a good host. You not only must overcome your nervousness, but you must also learn the basic skills needed to make sure that an event runs smoothly. As I’ve hosted more and more events, I have begun to learn more and more from my mistakes. My experience has made me bold and more confident in myself. Now, giving a speech in front of others no longer makes me feel nervous. However, I have come to realise that an excellent host needs more than boldness and skills – she also needs to be knowledgeable. Save the Children has provided me with countless resources to boost my knowledge about the important issues facing my peers today. In addition to learning about AIDS prevention, child trafficking, child rights and child protection at the center, I have also learned a lot from the books in the centre’s reading room.  

I have also been very touched by the warmth and kinship I’ve felt with the Save the Children team. I have become friends with many of them as well as the other participants at the "Sweet Home" activity centre. We meet at the centre after school or during holidays to play games, organise quizzes, or to simply relax by singing and dancing. Sometimes we share our feelings and views with each other; we always support and encourage each other.

Throughout my junior and senior high school years, I participated in many activities organised by Save the Children. I also had the great opportunity to participate in the International Youth Forum in London, where I represented the views of children supported by Save the Children China. These valuable experiences have greatly inspired me. The staff members at Save the Children have truly helped me to understand the significance and importance of helping others – especially children in need. We respect and love Save the Children staff so much. Their approaches and attitudes towards work have enabled me to consider others’ perspectives, to share my views proudly, and to strive to achieve my dreams. They exhibit the simple but important traits that we should all possess, and have served as great inspiration to me and my peers.

Save the Children has remained by my side as I have grown up. In 2011, I was admitted to Xinjiang Arts University with the second highest specialty examination score in Xinjiang, majoring inbroadcasting. I could hardly believe that I – a self-conscious girl from rural Xinjiang  –, had made it to the university of my dreams! At the university, I participated in hosting contests held by Xinjiang and the university and achieved amazing results. My experience at Save the Children taught me to excel at organising events and  interpersonal communication, and as a result, I was elected as the chair of students' self-discipline management committee at my university. All of my teachers and students told me that they were very happy with my work. These achievements would not have been possible without Save the Children.

Now, as I approach my graduation from university, I have the opportunity to work with Save the Children again. As a full-time volunteer, I am responsible for helping out-of-school youth to design and organise activities in the "Youth Entrepreneurship Club," which is part of the “Xinjiang Education for Youth Empowerment Project.” This club aims to build the basic life and survival skills of out-of-school youth by giving them entrepreneurship skill training and support. In the course of my work, I have learned so much about the daily lives and views of out-of school youth. I try my best to guide the children and youth as they design and organise various training events and activities such as cleaning the streets, conducting social surveys, and other public service activities. My greatest hope is to help these children to strengthen their sense of responsibility, and to create opportunities that will help them to become aware of their value.

Dreams make life meaningful and hard work makes life fulfilling. My father once told me, "Everybody forges his own fate." My personal experiences have proved that my attitude towards lifeI can determine my fate. With this in mind, I have committed to helping more children and youth like myself to work hard and achieve their dreams!