Posted by: viaprograms | June 10, 2010

VIA Facilitates Full Circle Exchange with GETCH and AUSL

Hi! My Chinese name is Zengxiaolong. English name is Ken. Now I am a sophomore at the Guangzhou English Training Center for the Handicapped (GETCH). I have subsequent atrophy of groups of muscles of the leg caused by polio. I do not need any special equipment for walking.

Senior high school was the most difficult time for me. The reason was not only moving to a new place, but also my family fell upon difficult times. In my family there are just four people, my parents, my sister and I. My sister is five years younger than me, but she always deals seriously with studying. My parents are not knowledgeable. My father always works outside. My mother is a small store owner. As a matter of fact, my mother is also a handicapped. She lost her left arm when she was young before she married with my father. She has to run the shop to earn money and work very hard. She has a special position in my mind. One word she often said to me ‘nothing in the world can take the place of persistence’.

The bad thing was my achievement in senior high school just average. When I realized that I would probably have no chance to receive higher education, I began to feel lost. What I could do for my life and future?

But since the warm phone rang from GETCH, everything has been changed. I began to have many opportunities once the door to higher education opened.

I felt astonished when I came to GETCH at the first time. I could not believe that Guangzhou has such a school called GETCH. In order to challenge my life, I do not set any limits in my study at GETCH. Campus life is colorful, and I try to make full use of all the opportunities to enrich myself. As a freshman, working in Student Union is the most important experience for me. At that time, I was a Recreation and Sports Secretary in Student Union. For that position, I learned that how to design a plan, how to apply some sport equipments, how to follow our teachers and leaders to arrange some activities and do it well.

After one year, I was appointed the head of the Student Union. In short, my job in the Student Union is to cooperate with school and students to do some activities and to be a bridge between school and students. As a leader in the Student Union, I have really learned a lot. While joining this program, I believe that this time I can expand my outlook to life and to the world.

I am interested in how to manage an NGO. I will have an opportunity this summer after AUSL to intern in an NGO which focuses on special education in America. I am especially interested in organizations that support education and exchange opportunities for people with disabilities. To my knowledge, many student with disabilities dream of going abroad. We are different and we also can make a difference in society. Now I am a lucky one who will get to have this experience, but one day I would like to help others have the same opportunity.

Ken Zeng is a student from GETCH, where VIA has been sending volunteers since 2001. Since 2008, VIA has also worked with GETCH to bring one student every summer on VIA’s Asia-US Service-Learning (AUSL) Program, which has a focus on sustainability issues, including disability issues. Many thanks to Lingnan Foundation, many VIA alumni, and other individual sponsors for their support for Ken and his schoolmates to join AUSL!

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