In September 2009, Shangri-La launched Embrace as part of its corporate social responsibility project, Sustainability. Through Embrace, each Shangri-La hotel and resort supports local organizations working in child healthcare and education. Take a look at how some of our hotels in China are embracing the children in their communities!
China World Hotel, Beijing started Big Brothers and Big Sisters to mentor migrant children who arrive in Beijing with their families. The Big Brothers and Big Sisters program commits 90 hotel volunteers to mentor and guide the students for five years, focusing on career development and integration into city life. The volunteers keep close contact with the students of the Hua Ao School through writing letters, text-messaging and get-togethers. In January 2013, 18 colleagues were officiated as the third batch of Big Brothers and Big Sisters together with their student buddies. Since then, the program has continued with great success and the volunteers look forward to more years working with their student buddies.
Colleagues at China World Hotel, Beijing also work with students from the Guang Ai School, a non-profit foster home and school for orphans, children from low-income backgrounds and children with disabilities. The hotel teaches the older students hospitality trades and provides the opportunity to work in the hotel following the program. When the students complete their training, the hotel gives the students priority when hiring for an open position. Hired students are assigned to work in the kitchen, food and beverage operations, or the front office and are paired with a mentor to teach them their trade.
One of the students, Lazi, lost his parents when he was a young boy. After learning about Lazi’s situation, the hotel hired and paired him with a chef in Summer Palace to train him in culinary arts. Now, Lazi has worked in the restaurant for six months and has received good feedback from both his mentor and the Executive Chef.
Traders Hotel, Beijing also works with students from the Guang Ai School. The hotel offers summer internships that include housing, meals and an allowance to students staying at the school. Fifteen students participated in the internship program from 2012 to 2014.
One student, Ye Guo, lost his parents when he was a teenager. After the Guang Ai School began to foster Ye and his brothers in 2014, Traders Hotel, Beijing hired Ye as a chef trainee. Since then, his mentors have been impressed with his willingness to learn and his appreciation toward the culinary arts and the hotel industry.
“There is an old saying in Chinese – ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’” said Monica Shi, service manager trainer at Traders Hotel, Beijing. “We wish Ye can one day be a ‘Fishing Master’ and we hope he enjoys his journey at the hotel.”
In 2010, Shangri-La Hotel, Huhhot established The Shangri-La Home at Huhhot Children’s Welfare House to care for children up to three years old who were abandoned at infancy. Many of the children at The Shangri-La Home suffer from disease or disabilities. Since its opening, the home has hired five nurses to take care of the children and ensure they are looked after during their early years. The Shangri-La Home has helped over 60 children and looks forward to helping many more in the future.
In 2010, Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin committed to support Yan Kou Primary School, a rural school in Yan Kou Village that teaches over two hundred children from low-income backgrounds. Since the partnership began, the hotel has helped with building improvements such as repainting of classrooms, setting up a multi-media classroom, and enhancing facilities including the student canteen, toilets, and paving the main road.
The hotel has also renovated the schoolyard and set up a library, computer rooms, new blackboards, and training development for teachers. Training included communication in English, food hygiene and fire safety. On festive occasions, students are gifted new clothes, school bags and food items.
In October 2014, Shangri-La Hotel, Nanjing partnered with Nanjing Gulou Special Education School to start the Shangri-La Class, which offers students with disabilities programs and classes focused in hospitality. The hotel arranges colleagues from the food and beverage and housekeeping departments to customize courses for the students and provide working opportunities for them after they graduate. The establishment of the Shangri-La Class ensures the students receive the same opportunities as others to work in the hotel industry after graduation.
These are just some of the ways colleagues at Shangri-La hotels in China are getting involved with children in their communities. Thank you to our dedicated colleagues around the world who are committed to making a positive difference in their communities.