In recent months, Inès Roth le Gentil, a young Frenchwoman visiting New Zealand, became interested in the New Zealand China Friendship Society and, following being taken on as an intern, has produced a very interesting and valuable report on how to attract younger people to the Society. She spent about two months investigating opportunities for the Society as well as meeting and discussing the problem with a broad spectrum of people.
It is recognised that the Society has a problem encouraging younger people to join the Society Also, if we are to encourage younger members to the Society, we have to face the fact that there are few opportunities for them to hear of the Society and activities that would interest them. Something we should address in the future if the Society is to survive. Ines’s ideas are modern and also possibly unlike the normal philosophy the Society.
She suggests that we take every opportunity to liaise with universities, high schools, sports clubs etc. to make the activities of the Society known there. Also she suggests that a Facebook page be established [Editor’s note: This has already been created – see below] with all the current activities of the Society explained and encouraged. Another avenue would be to advertise the Society at every opportunity such as at other Asian events and festivals.
She then advises that, once we have a few younger people, they should appoint a leader. They should then organise events of their own such as cooking demonstrations, dances (both Chinese and Kiwi), barbecues, performances of classical instruments etc. They could also assist each other in learning Mandarin in exchange for a meal, and arrange outings to Chinese festivals together.
For long-term aid projects, NZCFS could offer volunteers projects, specifically designed for young people, to aid Chinese communities. These projects could be teaching English in China, helping disabled people in China, and even helping plant rice in southern Chinese provinces.
These are all innovative suggestions and Ines has thought outside the square. We are very lucky to have her input and hopefully this will stimulate us and encourage the Society to move forward.
For more details of Inès’ report, click HERE.
In fact the Society has already taken the following actions recommended by Inès:
1) Created a FaceBook page: click HERE to visit it. We hope very much that you will ‘Like’ it!
2) The Society has established a “NZCFS Youth Internship” for $5000 that is open to young New Zealanders to provide an opportunity for one or two young New Zealanders to engage in a self-directed project in China in an in-depth way.
For more details on the Youth Internship: click HERE
Teri France, November, 2012