October 2019
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Watch the highlights of the Ambassadors’ special service to Chengdu.

Watch the highlights of the Ambassadors’ special service in Chengdu.

Future homeowner Mr Wen in his old house.
Future homeowner Mr Wen in his old house.

In June, Swire Properties Community Ambassadors from Hong Kong teamed up with colleagues from Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou for a five-day volunteering trip to Sichuan Province. During the trip, the Ambassadors assisted with a village house-building project in Lezhi County, in partnership with NGO Habitat for Humanity. They also visited the Sichuan Community Centre at Shuanghong Village in Guihua Township, Pengzhou City, where they donated more than 600 children's books and took part in a range of fun extra-curricular activities with children from the nearby Fengle Nine-Year School. The Ambassadors helped teach English to the school children through interactive games and singing English songs.

John Swire & Sons (HK) Head of Group Public Affairs, Cindy Cheung, joined the trip and tells us about her house-building experiences:

"I have participated in different Community Ambassador Programme projects before, but building a house was quite a different experience, as it is such a tangible way of giving service to the community. Our mission was to help build a new house for a farmer, Mr Wen and his son in Xiajiagou Village in Lezhi County, which is approximately two and a half hours' drive from Chengdu. Before the trip, I was a bit nervous, because I didn't have any house-building experience or brick-laying skills and was worried that the tasks would prove too daunting. When we arrived at the site, I was shocked by the dilapidated state of the farmer's house. It was basically a leaking shed – with no proper roof and walls, let alone any decent furniture – and it was in danger of collapse. (In fact, it had collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, and had been temporarily restored to its present state). It was quite an overwhelming sight, and we immediately understood how important our undertaking was for the farmer.

With strong team spirit among the Ambassadors, the group formed an assembly line to pass and pile up the bricks efficiently.
The Ambassadors form a chain to pass and stack bricks efficiently.


After we set to work, I found that the tasks were not as daunting as I had earlier imagined. We helped pick up, pass and stack bricks in an efficient assembly line that kept the construction process moving quickly. It was raining on the morning of the first day, but that didn't dampen our spirits or efficiency. Luck was on our side, as the weather improved towards the afternoon and on the following day, so we brought the same efficient teamwork to mixing concrete and laying courses of bricks for the walls of the new house. Mixing concrete was quite a challenging task, as we had to muster all our strength to mix it properly with water. Laying bricks was very satisfying, as we saw the walls getting higher and higher. We all focused very hard on learning the skills taught us by the construction foreman, as he told us that if we didn't lay the bricks correctly, it would affect the foundations of the house! Although we didn't manage to finish the entire house before we left the village, the majority of the walls were completed. Hard work and sweat aside, there was excellent teamwork as well as laughter and fun for the Ambassadors. I will never forget the big smile on the farmer's face as we said goodbye to him. I think the build project has not only transformed his life, but also mine as well, as I have come to realise that a little effort can have such a direct impact on another person's life. I hope the farmer and his son will settle in their new home soon".

Cindy Cheung and other Ambassadors preparing the concrete mix from scratch.
Cindy Cheung and other Ambassadors preparing the concrete mix from scratch.

After two busy days of house building, the Ambassadors moved on to the Sichuan Community Centre in Shuanghong Village, where their lively learning games were a big hit with students.
After two busy days of house building, the Ambassadors moved on to the Sichuan Community Centre in Shuanghong Village, where their lively learning games were a big hit with students.

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Swire News September 2019 issue
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