Open to all UWC schools and colleges and presented by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in partnership with UWC, the Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges (AHP) aims to encourage UWC students to engage in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and practical manner with current humanitarian issues affecting a community. After a highly competitive selection process, UWC International and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative announced three UWC colleges whose projects had been chosen to proceed to the final round of the 2018 Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges: UWC Changshu China in China, UWC Mahindra College in India and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa in Swaziland. Below is the executive summary of the project by UWC Changshu China.
HOPE is an NGO that was founded in 2017 to fight child sexual abuse. To achieve that, our professionally trained lecturers will deliver classes at local schools. In 2018, we have established a cooperative relationship with Changshu government to make sure all students in Changshu aged 6-14 will benefit from the program. To prevent child sexual abuse, we are training local school teachers and building a comprehensive protection system involving several governmental departments in Changshu.
We aim to bring changes in four ways:
- Having weekly educational programs delivered by our professionally trained student lecturers
- Improving public policy through cooperating with local government to build a comprehensive protecting system
- Training teachers in remote areas through an online platform
- Conducting an in-depth research of this social issue through interviews with various social groups, developing solutions for different target groups and preparing a comprehensive proposal to submit to National Congress urging them to add to the national curriculum education aimed to prevent child sexual abuse.
HOPE focuses on prevention of child sexual abuse. Lack of prevention education is the key to the issue. There is a great demand for such education in China, as our survey results indicate 74.3% of primary school students consider it as “highly important”. Urgent actions need to be taken. UWC Changshu is in China, where child sexual abuse is an often overlooked yet serious social issue affecting millions of people. Each year only 1 out of 8 child sexual abuse cases is reported.
The local area, Changshu, where the issue is even more severe, is a developing city with many immigrant workers from the underprivileged western provinces. Due to the lack of awareness and proper parenting, their children are the least protected and most silenced when it comes to facing child sexual abuse. Furthermore, its complicated demographic structure serves as a representation of Chinese society.
Developing different strategies for prevention of the child sex abuse in Changshu helps us better tackle the communications and teaching challenges when delivering classes in other parts of China. In addition, our college has a close cooperation with the Hong Kong-based Yanai Foundation that has built over 200 public schools in rural areas across China, and the Foundation is willing to assist us in delivering our classes to the areas where they are most needed, by training teachers online.
One of the seven local schools we had previously taught in has cancelled our classes, not wanting the public to consider the reason for having such an education. That school has recently reported several cases of abuse, which affected its reputation. In addition, there are concerns about children in class who have been sexually abused being re-traumatized.
The prize money would be used for printing out 32,400 copies of booklets containing the essentials of class content to ensure enduring impact. The booklet are developed by experts and licensed to us by Girls’ Protecting, to teach the students in 12 schools in two provinces (through cooperation with Yanai Foundation), where we are also going to conduct the online training for teachers in the next few months.
The HOPE team is quite big and consists of 41 dedicated members within five different departments of UWC Changshu China, each of them committed to eradicating child sexual abuse.