Water Heroes Academy Spotlight: Shanghai

Water Heroes Academy, supported by Xylem and Cityzens Giving, is a global network of youth-led projects aimed at tackling water challenges in local communities using the power of football.

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In Shanghai, China, Young Leaders are providing water sustainability education for all, with a focus on children with intellectual disabilities.

Over half of Shanghai’s 2,500 lakes and rivers near the city are heavily polluted. 1

Gao Qiang, one of the Young Leaders on the ‘Love Football and Treasure Water’ project at Shanghai Pudong Special Education School, is working not only to engage his students, but everyone in the community of Pudong.

"I imagine that our project is one of the first public welfare sports projects in China that combines football with water.

Our unified football lets people with and without intellectual disabilities play together in training and competition, so that they play unified with each other, helping each other to improve.

Through the project, they have improved their confidence and their ability to communicate.”

Another Young Leader, Nie Junhao, has also seen first-hand the importance of local education on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

“Some of my friends don’t know how precious water is. They have no idea that Shanghai is a city that lacks water. Through this project, we can better raise our awareness of water issues.”

To date, the project has reached more than 500 participants across schools in Shanghai.

This Cityzens Giving project is delivered in partnership with Special Olympics, and generously supported by Xylem.

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Note 1: Source Quartz, 2013