ACTAsia’s 10th Anniversary celebration
On January 16th 2016, ACTAsia ceremoniously opened its new office in Zhongshan, celebrating the charity’s 10th anniversary and marking the launch of its next phase of development. Under the leadership of ACTAsia’s Manager in China Isobel Zhang, and the Executive Director Pei F. Su, Chinese team members gathered together with guests from Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Dongguan and Zhongshan, and recalled the past decade of persistence, thanking members and everyone involved in ACTAsia’s programs for their support over the past 10 years, and looking forward to the next decade.
Back in 2006, ACTAsia trained its first advocates for its Humane Education program Caring for Life, animal protection supporters in Shenzhen. From a promising start, ACTAsia began to explore the ways of developing animal protection capability in China. All of this happened after the unexpected death of an animal protection supporter, Wang Pei. She was one of the excellent trainees in the Pioneer Training for Animal Protection, which was held in Italy and led by Pei F. Su, the then Global Program Director of World Animal Protection. After hearing the grievous news, she fixed her sights on China, which was developing at a fast speed. However, the budding animal protection campaigns were faced with enormous pressure, and contributing to the development of animal protection in China became Pei F. Su’s ambition. At the same time, Isobel Zhang, the then Human Resources Manager of Yuanxing, had already founded and run Shenzhen Cats for four years. Shocked at the death of Wang Pei, she also felt the pressure on the volunteers who helped rescue stray cats, and it also became her goal to work for improved animal protection at a higher level.
In May 2006, their dreams became a reality when they held the first training camps in Shenzhen, Changsha and Beijing. Volunteers of ACTAsia grew gradually with one training program after another. In 2011, ACTAsia was registered as a social enterprise.
Through its first decade, ACTAsia has evolved from the genesis of its Caring For Life program, which aims to teach children and adults to respect others, protect the environment and care for animals. It has become clear just how far-reaching its education programs have become: through Humane Education it helps children develop compassion and responsibility; through Consumer Education it encourages consumers and retailers to make more compassionate lifestyle choices; and through Professional Education veterinarians and animal protection supporters are able to improve the services they offer. After years of efforts, many more people are encouraged to participate in building a more ecological and harmonious society. On April 30th 2015, ACTAsia was listed as one of Top 10 Influential Organizations of 2014 in the International Summit on Chinese Urbanization.
At the opening ceremony, guests were also invited to visit ACTAsia’s Educational Collaborating Base: Zhongshan Grand Windmill Farm. Here, people can learn more about the concept of Caring for Life with hands-on experience in a farm which offers excellent standards of animal welfare. The farm owner, Justin, who is also a fashion designer in Hong Kong and a special trainer of ACTAsia, intends to continue his cooperation with ACTAsia to educate future generations to show more respect and care for all animals and nature, while working towards a better China.
As part of the 10th anniversary celebration, guests from different sectors were invited to attend the vegetarian dinner at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Zhongshan. During the meal, Naihui Zhuang, who won Princess Elisabeth De Croÿ Kids Ambassador Certificate granted by ACTAsia, shared a story about her teacher Yazhi Luo and herself, which touched all attendees. When she was at the first grade, she advocated a fur-free life, and won the encouragement from her teacher Yazhi Luo. She began making speeches in one class after another, and finally, she bravely stood under the national flag appealing to the whole school to care for life. Naihui Zhuang and Yazhi Luo helped launch the education courses in Tang Guo An Memorial School.
Mr. Zhiming Fan, President of Kindly Intended Deed Organization (KIDO) Public Welfare Culture Center, also shared his story about including empathy as one of the standards for the responsible development of children during his cooperation with ACTAsia. He granted badges to the sixth grade student Naihui Zhuang and ACTAsia’s volunteer lecturers from Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai, including Dani Li, Jingrong Weng, Biqi Yao, Jingwen Liu and others. He also thanked ACTAsia for setting the office at Shenzhen Youth Creativity and Public Welfare Center, and expected to help promote the youth development together with ACTAsia.
The Deputy Secretary General of Ma Hong Foundation, Wei Liu, also spoke highly of ACTAsia’s persistence for the past decade and introduced the development of Ma Hong Foundation to guests present. Meanwhile, she also praised the efforts of Isobel Zhang, ACTAsia’s Manager in China, and one of the 100 think tank members of the Foundation, saying that she saw in Isobel Zhang a rigorousness responsibility for professionally pushing forward social development.
Adam Lee, the representative of Miss China Landscape Committee and winner of Caring For Life Fashion Award 2014, praised ACTAsia’s battle against fur from the perspective of fashion, and indicated that she gave full support to the upcoming Fur Free Fashion Show that would be held by ACTAsia in Shanghai on March 12th.
Doctor Miao Jiao from Dongguan, Chinese veterinarian trainer of VBB (Vets Beyond Borders), shared his gains from the China Companion Animal Welfare Veterinary Program, saying that Australian experts of VBB not only improved the techniques of Chinese veterinarians, but also enhanced their awareness of animal welfare and their cognition towards themselves.
Suzanne Barber, American Ph.D. of anthropology, indicated that she would give more support to ACTAsia in the future. In her opinion, the relationship between non-human animals and humans is worthy of being studied in the development process of human society. She was touched by ACTAsia’s mission to encourage people to care for and respect people, animals and the environment.
The attendees of the 10th anniversary celebration also included: Deqiang Huang, Director of China Education Daily Shenzhen Station; Haiyun Mao, engineer of Department of Nuclear Safety Management in South China, Ministry of Environmental Protection; Xuehua Lin, core member of Animal Protection Group, Tencent Voluntary Associaton; Cong Guo and Shude Lan, teachers from Sun Yat-sen University; Jianhong Sun, Secretary-general of Zhongshan Bo Rui Social Services Center; and entrepreneurs and friends from Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Dongguan, etc.