Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015

First Lady visits Africa’s ‘new window’ on China

By  LI LIANXING (China Daily)    09:46, December 02, 2015
First Lady visits Africa’s ‘new window’ on China
First lady Peng Liyuan, accompanied by her Zimbabwean counterpart Grace Mugabe, pays a visit to Grace Mugabe Children Foundation in Harare on Tuesday. Xie Huanchi / Xinhua

Madame Peng Liyuan visited Grace Mugabe Children Foundation in Harare on Tuesday afternoon, during President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Zimbabwe.

She was warmly welcomed by Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe and then visited orphans and abandoned children in the center with her entourage.

The center was founded by Grace Mugabe to care for orphans and abandoned children.

Peng had sent teaching facilities, as well as study and sport materials to the school.

She said orphans are the most vulnerable and at-risk community in a society, it is the common responsibility for the whole society to make them live a happy life and get a good education as other children do.

She said she hoped they all can grow up in a comfortable, safe and warm environment at the center.

Another school called Amai Mugabe School owned by the first lady has promised to give these orphans a free education.

At this school, Chinese language classes play a special role to advance cultural links and understanding, school administrators said.

At Amai Mugabe School, two educators from China are teaching Mandarin to the school’s 128 students, who range from preschool age to the seventh grade.

One of the teachers, Hao Xin, said Chinese has become a popular choice.

Grace Mugabe decided to learn Chinese in 2007 when she noticed the ever-strengthening ties between the two countries.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese from Renmin University of China in 2011, and while studying in Beijing, she learned a lot about Chinese culture and even became acquainted with traditional Chinese musical instruments.

Seeing the need for cultural exchanges between the two countries, Mugabe proposed that the Chinese government should send people to teach Chinese at her school.

Patrick Chitambo, the headmaster of the primary school, said language will be very helpful to students in the future, since it can be used in many projects undertaken between the two countries as ties grow stronger.

“With more students choosing to go to China, learning this language since primary school will be a big advantage for them,” he said.“When they finish learning Mandarin here, they will be well equipped with strong academic qualifications to proceed in their studies to upper degrees and even to China.”

Before coming to Zimbabwe in January last year, Hao, the teacher, had taught Chinese to foreigners for 10 years after finishing graduate studies in Chinese language teaching.

Her students in China were all adults, so it was a huge challenge at first to teach primary school students. However, she said, students at the school in Zimbabwe are enthusiastic and passionate about learning Mandarin.

“They are quite active in the class, and you will find huge differences between adult students and kids. Adults see the world with their own fixed perspective and sometimes even prejudice, but children are curious about the world,” she said. “So we hope to open a new window to them to understand the world by learning a new language.”

By learning Chinese, misunderstandings will be reduced and cooperation will be improved, especially because students will have a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture when they grow up, Hao said.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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