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A student practices working the fields with a water buffalo. Photo by Ming-Jiu-Li, China Summer Program.

Sharing Stories in Shanghai

I was first attracted by Shanghai-based artist Ting Yu’s work as an illustrator and was curious about how she integrates her artistic talent with the social work she’s passionate about. Today, we were invited to her apartment. By meeting Ting Yu at her home, we entered a unique and personal space, where courage was the key, and creativity was the password. We heard her story of fundraising by selling her drawings to help a girl with leukemia in Yichang, Hubei (where we’ll be headed soon, as we move west along the Yangtze River). After that, the nickname “爱心妈妈” (”Compassionate  Mama”) was given to her by Yichang locals. Today, we were also inspired by her singing of the ancient Chinese poetry (which you can hear in the background of this video).
As a way of reciprocating her hospitality, we created stories based on characters on cards we passed around and shared these with Ting Yu – a fascinating experience for both Dragons students and, we hope, for her.
In the afternoon, Ting Yu brought us to Huilin School, where she led a workshop with kids with disabilities. The experience for dragons was an unique one, and it’s hard to find the words to describe this mixture of discomfort and empathy. During our debrief, a student mentioned that he wished he could trade places with those kids for one day, just to experience what life was like for them so we would have a deeper understanding of each other.”