Aramco Asia recently launched “Aramco Youth Program — A Journey of Art” for 40 local students of ethnic minorities from less fortunate families in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The project, which falls within the framework of Saudi Aramco’s corporate social responsibility and the Asia Pacific Donation Program 2017, was kicked off through close cooperation with Aramco-Asia, China Daily and the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF).
The inauguration ceremony that was held at Guangxi Arts University in the regional capital city of Nanning on Jan. 15 attracted more 100 participants, including Nabil Al-Nuaim, Aramco-Asia president and CEO, Waleed Al-Helal, Aramco-Asia government and public affairs director, Zhu Baoxia, secretary general of China Daily, Yang Chunlei, CYDF deputy secretary general, Wei Junping, vice president of Guangxi Arts University, officials from local government entities, faculties from the university, state and local journalists and volunteers.
Nine days of opportunities
The nine-day program is designed to provide the kids with a fun-filled, art-customized atmosphere that allows them to embrace new learning opportunities. They are given the chance to enjoy sight-seeing, outdoor painting, receive training through lectures, and engage in an art competition. The children also receive mentoring from professionals at Guangxi Arts University.
“We strive to promote sustainability on social and economic development wherever we have a presence,” Al-Nuaim stated in delivering the opening speech. “It is our duty to help make the communities in which we operate better places to live and work. We strive to improve the environmental health and safety of these communities and promote energy sustainability through conservation and efficiency efforts. I hope you will enjoy these programs.”
Zhu Baoxia mentioned that the program gives the children an opportunity to admire the natural beauty of their hometown, and to receive professional guidance from teachers as they paint what Guangxi looks like to them.
“I do hope the children can draw the beautiful scenery with their colorful brushes so as to open up their dreams. You are the future of the nation and the country. We feel very pleased to help you with this,” she added. “I want to thank Aramco Asia, which always attaches long-term attention to sustainable development and public welfare in China. Your sense of social responsibility does you credit.”
“It is one of our CSR projects that highly exhibits our care and love for the young generation,” Al-Nuaim told one reporter from the Economic Daily during a question- and-answer session, after watching a group of youngsters in their national costumes entertain the audience with folk dances and a talent show.
Also at the ceremony, Kong Lingyu, deputy dean of Lijiang Painting School under Guangxi Arts University, amazed everyone with his on-the-spot painting of beautiful scenery of Lijiang River with Chinese ink and water colors.
A journey of art and young hearts
It is a well-known fact that arts can enlighten one’s wisdom and purify one’s heart.
As CYDF’s Yang Chunlei pointed out, “It will be a lifetime benefit for the students if they have access to professional culture and arts training in their childhood. All of the children are living in beautiful Guangxi. They enjoy the green mountains, clean water, bamboo grove and sea of flowers. Now we give them an opportunity to record the beauty with their brushes under the help from teachers in local arts school.”
Yuan Aijuan, a girl who was selected to speak on behalf of all the children, showed her deep appreciation to all the people in Aramco Asia, China Daily and CYDF for hosting this art program.
“Do you know how much I was excited when I heard I could take part in the Aramco Youth program — A Journey of Art? It was not just because I could finally have a chance to go to Guilin, but I could also have an opportunity to learn from teachers in Guangxi Arts University, and do the sketches in Lijiang and Dayu ancient town.”
“Although I don’t understand what sketching means, I do know my dream is going to come true that I can paint my hometown. I will paint what I see and share it with my friends. I want to say a big thank you to you.”
It is the second time that Aramco Asia has coordinated with China Daily and CYDF to host the community program that benefits children of ethnic minorities in China’s underdeveloped southwest frontier.
“Opening a Window to the World for Needy Ethnic Minority Children” — the first Aramco Youth Program in 2015 — brought 30 minority kids from Yunnan province to Beijing for a week-long summer camp, which was a great success that received much social attention.
It is an investment in knowledge and community that fosters the healthy well-being of the children.