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After the fundraising initiative: ideas and thoughts from Huili pupils

25 February 2020
At the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the outbreak of novel coronavirus (now officially designated Covid-19) became a huge concern of the whole country.  In addition to monitoring the updates of the epidemic, Huili pupils initiated a fundraising charity activity, hoping that their efforts could enable better protection for the frontline healthcare workers as they carried out their dangerous work. We interviewed various pupils, parent volunteers and house tutors who participated in these fundraising activities, and they shared with us their versions of the behind-the-scenes story of this incredible community-wide effort. Huili fundraising initiatives After proposing the fundraising initiative, Huili pupils of grade 7 swiftly set up different groups who shouldered duties to allow the project to progress in an orderly manner. By 6th February, 2020, a total of RMB 117,817.69 was donated by more than 180 people.  The fund was used to purchase medical resources for 13 hospitals across Hubei, Zhejiang and Shanghai.  The hospitals gradually received their emergency materials one by one. Following house captains’ initiative launched on 27th January, Huili pupils of grade 6 also initiated a charity relay on 8th February to support the frontline medical workers.  In just a few days, a total of approximately 420 thousand yuan was donated by 255 people from the wider Huili family and those out of school, which would be used to purchase protective gowns and other medical materials that are in short supply on the frontline.

▲Wuhan Central Hospital received 1500 protective gowns, donated by Huili’s grade 6 pupils.

The ‘Wanwan F4+1’ group of Huili primary school heard that respirators in the frontline hospitals were in short supply. With the help of their parents, pupils purchased five sets of Hypnus ST730W respirators by using their ‘lucky money’ received during the Spring Festival, donating them to hospitals in urgent need.

▲Huili ‘Wanwan F4+1’

It was not an easy task to conduct the fundraising activities, considering that household quarantine procedures created severe communication and travel difficulties.  Meanwhile, it has been difficult to distinguish accurate information from rumours, adding to the overall confusion. However, by embodying the Huili Values of courage, responsibility and kindness, and the Huili Identity of being inspired, independent and inclusive, our pupils have more than risen to the challenge before them. Interview with the Huili pupils who led the initiative    Coordination group Cooper When we paid close attention to the epidemic situation, we noticed that news reports repeatedly mentioned the shortage of medical materials at the frontline and that medical workers were suffering from a lack of protective apparatus, which made the situation even more severe. Citizenship awareness is a firm belief in Huili pupils’ hearts, which prompted us to come up with the idea of fundraising and we subsequently invited 12 house captains to join us. We had an in-depth discussion about the donation project and made a detailed plan as well as a firm division of duties.  Shortly after this discussion, the promotion group released their poster, and we received an encouragingly warm response from the Huili community.  Then, the procurement group began to contact various suppliers.  Once the first batch of resources was purchased, the hospital communication group called for other pupils to liaise with over 40 hospitals collectively in order to better understand their needs. Our initiative received such an enthusiastic response from the wider Huili family.  Warm-hearted parents offered pupils support in terms of social coordination, particularly in terms of resource procurement and distribution, ensuring that donations would be delivered to their intended recipients.  This activity’s success went far beyond our expectations, thanks to the trust shown by the Huili community. We believe that by working together, the epidemic will soon be overcome.   Finance group William Our finance group was overloaded with work because the fundraising activity generated such a positive and enthusiastic response.  We needed to meticulously record donations throughout the process, to make sure that the gathering and donating of funds was completely transparent. Moreover, we were also required to update statistical data promptly and pay to our suppliers correctly and rapidly. We were glad to be in the finance group and turned out to be qualified enough to carry out this vital task.   Procurement group Sammie, Selina The procurement group was mainly responsible for finding the source of the necessary medical materials. Once the source was found, we communicated with suppliers to confirm the specification, quantity and price of items, while ensuring that all materials came from regular channels and met with quality requirements.In a short time, we needed to understand the process of medical procurement to ensure that our efforts were in accordance with all the relevant regulations. In the process of collecting materials greatly needed by frontline hospitals, we felt deeply concerned about the infection risk that medical workers were being exposed to.  Our team’s collaboration and communication efforts were consistently challenged due to the constantly changing demand statistics. Because of this, the implementation of the initiative was a tense process overall. Regardless, efficient communication, accurate judgement and reasonable distribution all combined to ensure that the raised funds were spent wisely and could make the greatest difference. Faced with such a fierce epidemic situation, we realised just how many difficulties medical workers have been suffering from and that material shortages was not their only problem. In the meantime, their composure and dedication they demonstrated in their treatment of patients deeply impressed and moved us.  We truly hope that we can do more to protect and support these frontline medical workers.   Promotion group Vanessa, Anna Our group was responsible for designing posters and different promotion materials in support of the activity.  It was challenging to answer any queries concerning the donations. We were particularly wary about our wording to ensure that all the information and facts provided to donors were entirely accurate.In the process of conducting the activity, we got to know the severe epidemic situation and how measures were taken in order to cope with it. We decided to spread our fundraising initiative further and raise more funds as we aimed to provide help for more medical workers.   Writing group Nini, Abby Our group was required to publish donation-related information and announcements in a timely manner, to offer detailed, accurate and prompt news for social communication and public review while enabling the community to know the progress of the distribution of funds and subsequent material donations. We also wrote encouraging letters that were sent to hospitals along with the medical materials, which showed our respect and acknowledgement to the medical workers there. All these were meant to implement the initial intention of this activity and help those most in need on the frontline.   Hospital communication group Brian, Oscar The hospital communication group took responsibility for establishing contact with hospitals to confirm the required quantity and specifications of medical materials urgently needed by healthcare workers as well as confirming information about how they could receive our donations. We also paid close attention to the logistical demands of the situation until hospitals confirmed that they had received the medical supplies. In the process of contacting hospitals, we found that doctors were so occupied with their work that we could not get through to them until late at night.  Our messages sent to them were often replied at midnight.  Their hard work and commitment to their job impressed us deeply. We often needed to try our utmost to send medical materials to doctors in urgent need immediately. Sometimes, when we could not give timely feedback to hospitals due to the uncertainty of supply, so we felt the same anxiety that they must have felt.  Every time we received receipt confirmation and gratitude from hospitals or communities, we felt that it was worthwhile to devote our efforts to these selfless and highly respected medical workers. Testimonials of Parents and Teachers  Parents support group Parents representative The sudden outbreak of novel coronavirus has set many places in China into first grade alert.  When Huili pupils came to know that medical supplies were in severe shortage in the frontline hospitals, they promptly launched the fundraising initiative and were responded enthusiastically and quickly. As the old saying goes: “One mustn’t neglect worrying about his motherland, however young he is.” Acting like grown-ups, pupils assumed their responsibility for managing all aspects of fundraising, from donation collection, sourcing medical supplies, allocation to hospitals, to transportation and confirmation, fully demonstrating their kindness, enthusiasm and sense of responsibility. The complexity of implementation process meant that Huili pupils needed outside guidance and support. The next day after the initiative was launched, the parents support team was formed, and they invited council members of Shanghai United Foundation “Friends of Huili” Charity Fund to give their professional guidance and supervision. Attention from Huili School was also paid to this initiative, who spared no effort to give pupils any help they needed. It was agreed that the entire fundraising activity would be led by pupils and our assistance and supervision were only given to them when necessary.   With the active participation of Huili families and donations from the outside the Huili community, the activity made significant progress. Pupils finished their procurement and delivery smoothly after overcoming many difficulties and received receipt confirmations from different hospitals almost continuously.  To our delight, they benefited tremendously from the pupils’ efforts. As parents, we also learned much from this activity: giving children the freedom to explore their own motivations will allow them to grow and thrive at their own pace; the biggest concession made by parents will motivate children to step forward bravely.     House tutor Daniel Wright The Huili pupils continue to go above and beyond all expectations set for them. The children were given no guidance or instruction from us, their teachers, and yet were able to conceive, plan and execute such an impressive project. That it was focused on helping those in need and done during their own holiday time makes it even more remarkable.  I am sometimes asked by people outside Huili what exactly it means to be a part of our learning community.  In future, when I am asked such questions, I will use this example of our pupils’ generosity and hard work to explain. This fundraising activity was a short-term project, but the life lessons it imparted will last for a long time.  We believe that with our Huili Values of integrity, kindness and responsibility in their minds, Huili pupils are not afraid to assume their social duties and devote themselves to their country.  We shall continue to come together to overcome hard times while looking forward to brighter days ahead. Fundraising activity follow-up This spring, a sudden outbreak of Covid-19 disrupted all aspects of our daily lives.  Whether we are talking about infected patients, frontline medical workers or everyday people like us whose daily lives are affected, no one is immune to an event such as this.  Even though we began to conduct self-quarantine, this did not restrict our kindness and support given to others.  The sudden changes brought on by the outbreak have forced us to stop for a while in the middle of our busy, hectic schedules and re-examine the meaning of life, to think about what it means and what level of individual responsibility we owe to our interconnected society. The epidemic did not defeat us.  After a short period of disorder, we have learned to reflect, change and hep each other. In the process of improvement, we have also gained wisdom, confidence and courage.  We believe that even the smallest efforts can give our beloved community, city and the country the kind of support and encouragement needed to pull through the hard times, as our induvial wills unite us like a mighty fortress.   List of hospitals receiving medical supplies donated by grade 7 List of hospitals receiving 3500 sets DuPont protective gowns donated by grade 6 An initial list of hospitals receiving medical supplies donated by grade 6 To be continued The project-management experience and the community collaboration achieved by the house captains and parent volunteers in the initial fundraising project, were applied to great effect during the second charity activity. Currently, protective gowns purchased overseas are in the process of transportation and customs clearance.  Parent volunteers will continue to keep in close contact with hospitals in Wuhan and Shanghai, ensuring that donations will be delivered to designed hospitals accurately, timely and safely.  Later, we will release more information about these donations, such as how they have been allocated and who has received them. Donated materials are arriving...

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