Hua Dan stories

There are many young migrant workers who have benefited from our Migrant Training and Employment Programme and who are now helping to run our other programmes, inside their own communities. By donating to Hua Dan, you will also contribute to training more young migrant workers, giving them a sense of purpose through the ability to foster positive changes in their communities.

Zhong Na, Children’s Programme facilitator

Zhong Na

“If you were a boy, you could join the army.” Every time I heard my father’s voice and looked at his solemn face, I felt scared and helpless knowing I was such a disappointment to him. At school, the situation was also difficult. I had trouble concentrating, especially during science class! My fear of being mocked by the other children also prevented me from taking any initiative.

I came to Beijing when I was 21 and worked as a housekeeper and waitress. I had always dreamed of being a teacher, but my limited education meant this dream was unlikely to ever come true. That day when I saw Caroline on the CCTV programme “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” changed my life.

Inspired by her enthusiasm and warmth, I started to attend Hua Dan workshops. In this atmosphere of mutual respect and equality, I began to express my thoughts in front of everyone and started to uncover my hidden talents and abilities. At Hua Dan, I received training to become a drama teacher and today my dream has come true! After five years working for Hua Dan in Beijing, my aspiration is now to go back to Shandong and share what I have learned by conducting Hua Dan projects in the local schools. Hua Dan has filled me with love and warmth, and I now feel confident I can share this love with others through my work. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to continue to spread Hua Dan’s values in my work and my life!

(Can’t view the video? You can also watch Zhong Na on YouKu.)

For 10,000 RMB (US$1,500 / EUR 1,200), you can support Zhong Na to go back to Shandong and start setting up a Hua Dan programme in her village school.

Luo Jinqiang, Children’s Programme facilitator

Liu Jinqiang

From third grade — when I started to attend a school for children of migrant workers — until I graduated from high school, I attended classes taught by Hua Dan. Before beginning these class, I didn’t know that it was possible to learn through participatory theatre methods, in a relaxed way, while sharing my thoughts and experience with others.

I learned a lot, and later was given the opportunity to join the Hua Dan team. Working together, learning together, helping migrant children discover their potential has brought me so much happiness and pride! I believe that what we do is very useful for these children. In most cases the problem is not that they don’t study well, but that the current education methods are too rigid and do not allow children to think for themselves.

The Children’s Programme we run in migrant schools help them to explore new methods of apprenticeship, and to experiment with their creativity while learning about the importance of team work. Hua Dan brings so much joy and transformation to the children and their communities; I look forward to being able to run a new children programme.

(Can’t view the video? You can also watch Liu Jinqiang on YouKu.)

For 2500 RMB (US$400 / EUR 300), you can support a migrant child to participate in Beijing’s Winter Camp run by Luo Jinqiang.

Guo Jinlian, Sichuan Children’s Programme Project Manager

Guo Jinlian

“Nothing is impossible, just try it!” When I first joined Hua Dan, these words were the ones that impressed me the most. I tended to think too much, hesitate, and this could weaken the impact of my work. After I graduated from university in 2008, I joined Hua Dan first as a volunteer and now as the Sichuan Children’s Programme Project Manager.

Over the last three years, I have learned a lot and grown in confidence; I am more flexible and my passion for drama keeps growing! By participating in Hua Dan’s drama workshops, people are able to discover their hidden talents and face life challenges with a more relaxed and creative attitude.

Through each workshop I lead, I witness, again and again, the incredible transformation that happens inside the children. At the moment, the Hua Dan team is cooperating with Tongchang Middle School in Beichuan County to help teachers to incorporate participatory theatre in their teaching methods. Through these methods, abstract concepts such as confidence and teamwork can be experienced by children in very real and concrete ways that will influence their behaviors and values. We need your support to continue to bring more joy to the Sichuan school!

For 1000 RMB (US$150 / EUR 120), you can support a migrant child to watch a performance and participate in six workshops run by Jinlian and the Hua Dan team in Sichuan.

Dong Fen, Hua Dan General Manager

Dong Fen

My name is Dong Fen, I come from the town of Sanbao, in the province of Yunnan. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t able to continue going to school because my family didn`t have enough money. This has always been one of my father’s biggest regrets, but I kept telling him: “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

While I was working as a beautician, I met several excellent mentors and friends, especially at Hua Dan. Hua Dan allowed me to see a world beyond that of a beautician, to understand my strengths and weaknesses, and to define my life’s goals. Hua Dan also gave me a platform to better develop my talents, allowed me to widen my experience and perspective, and provided me with the opportunity to use my skills to positively influence many young men and women like myself.

I believe that everyone’s development is highly impacted by the influence and guidance they receive. As a young woman from a small town, I have been so fortunate to have received the help and guidance of so many teachers, elders and friends on my road that enable me to become the person I am today.

Hua Dan is a very powerful organisation. Through theatre, it unearths and stimulates each person’s latent talents, and helps him or her to become an honest, courageous, innovative and confident leader

For 50,000 RMB (US$7,900 / EUR 6,000), you can provide training for a migrant woman like Dong Fen to become a Hua Dan leader.