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Helping hands

By Zhang Yue (China Daily)

08:46, August 30, 2012

Xu Jiatian and other volunteers help build wooden classrooms and dormitories for children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Photos Provided to China Daily)

Xu Jiatian was a high achiever in college. Instead of climbing the corporate ladder, he is now a volunteer worker in Cambodia. He shares his motivation with Zhang Yue.

Xu Jiatian is better known as Kurt to kids in many orphanages and primary schools in Cambodia.

"Kids would happily scream and run out of the classroom once they see Xu's smiling face outside the classroom window," says Boran, head of the PACDOC orphanage in Siem Reap.

Xu, 24, has been a volunteer in Cambodia since he graduated from college two years ago.

"I have always wanted to explore something new and different since I was still in college," Xu says. "That was how I got to know about voluntary work."

A year after graduating from college, with some savings and a loan from family and friends, Xu founded Green Leaders Adventure, a social enterprise that offers young Chinese people a chance to do voluntary work.

The group has been focusing on Cambodia, under the project named Cambodia International Service. So far, the organization has sent 160 Chinese teenagers to do voluntary work in Cambodia, such as building wooden classrooms and dormitories, and renovating primary schools and orphanages.

"Those who want to participate in the project have to contribute 18,880 yuan ($3,000) each," says Xu.

"Half of their contribution will be spent on traveling and living expenses, while the balance will be spent on construction work in the village.

"Like most of my teammates, I am moved by the way people treat us there. I also find volunteering an amazing experience. I want more young people in China to share the same experience," he adds.

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