The initiative was just one of countless projects under the overall umbrella of Cityzens Giving for Recovery, a 12-month global initiative launched in June 2020 to help communities around the world to get back on their feet.
Mobilising CFG’s ten clubs, thousands of staff, players, coaches and millions of fans, the campaign has raised more than £1 million through donations from kind-hearted City fans and partners which CFG has matched pound for pound, seen over 10,000 hours of staff volunteering dedicated to local recovery-linked projects near to each of CFG’s clubs and supported over 100,000 people globally to date.
In Chengdu, the funds raised by the programme have enabled Adream Foundation to provide PE, sport and football for children in one of the most underprivileged areas in China.
The region of Daliangshan experiences particular challenges in terms of education, healthcare and employment, with the vital volunteer work undertaken by Ling Fung Wong, Football Service Delivery Manager at Sichuan Jiuniu FC, and his colleagues being hugely appreciated both by pupils and staff.
As schools and the children in the region have adjusted to changes and challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the access and delivery of sport and physical education programmes to continue to safely promote the health, development, and wellbeing of children has never been more important.
Thanks to funds raised through the Cityzens Giving for Recovery campaign, Adream Foundation is training teachers from schools across Sichuan province to help them teach thousands of young people about hygiene and education and improve their health and wellbeing through football.
Ling Fung and fellow volunteers arranged a specialist football coaching session which ranged from individual practice to small five-a-side matches.
The remote location of Daliangshan meant that for many pupils, the simple act of attending lessons requires huge sacrifices in terms of their own journey to and from school, with many travelling for miles on foot.
And Ling Fung said it was equally clear to see that volunteers’ selfless time and own sacrifices had given youngsters ‘hope’ –– and was proof positive that football acted as a powerful social vehicle to help inspire that drive and empowerment.
“I believe in giving back to the community and making a difference, and this trip opened my eyes,” said Ling Fung.
“Whilst my colleagues and I could travel in and out of the mountain region in hours by car, these are the same roads that many young people will feel trapped within for life if they do not have access to positive social values and equal opportunity.
“No one can choose the conditions that they were given with by birth, but everyone deserves a chance to lead a purposeful life.”
Ling Fung also recounted one powerful testimony as to how the funds raised by the Cityzens Giving for Recovery campaign were having a powerful and positive impact on pupils in the region.
“After leaving the school, I saw young children – some probably no older than six – walking without adults on those narrow mountain roads that had no pavements.
“I was very moved by this image: these innocent children carried a smile when they still had to walk for hours before getting home, and I interpreted this as a reflection of how much they love learning at school.”
For more information about Cityzens Giving for Recovery including project impact and volunteer stories, please visit www.mancity.com/cityzensgiving