Protecting girls: one volunteer’s fight to raise awareness

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In a powerful testament to compassion and determination, we delve into the remarkable journey of a volunteer teacher who embarked on a life-changing mission from Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, to the distant land of Aqtau in Xinjiang.

For the past decade, Girls’ Protection has been at the forefront of the fight against sexual abuse, enlisting countless volunteers who have become passionate instructors in the field of child protection.

On Feb 9, this courageous volunteer teacher bid farewell to her school, the third elementary school in Xinyu High-tech Zone, Jiangxi, as she set out on a transformative mission to Xinjiang. The farewell party was filled with anticipation and gratitude for her unwavering commitment.

As a symbol of trust, He Hong, the deputy secretary of the Party branch, presented her with two meaningful gifts – the flag of the Jiangxi Xinyu unprotected team of the Girl Child Protection Fund and six copies of the “Girl Protection” children’s manual on preventing sexual abuse.

With the weight of this heartfelt mandate, she arrived in Xinjiang, ready to make a difference. As the first semester drew to a close, she reflected on her deep connection to Girls’ Protection, which had grown stronger over the years.

Her journey began with a fortuitous encounter with a photo of He teaching classes, shared among friends. The heartwarming feedback from the children and the unwavering dedication of the volunteer team sparked a fire within her. She felt a resolute desire to become a “girl protection” instructor.

With the guidance of He, she successfully passed the examination in December 2019, earning the title of a “Girls’ Protection” junior instructor. Alongside her colleagues from Gaoxin Three Primary School, they formed the “Girl Protection” Jiangxi Xinyu Unprotected Team, led by He herself.

Driven by the goal of raising children’s awareness of sexual abuse, they launched their first class, “Love and Care for Our Bodies”, on May 6, 2020. Under He’s leadership, the team expanded their services beyond the school, reaching out to sister schools and the community. The volunteer teacher passionately delivered powerful “Girls’ Protection” courses, sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with young minds.

In February this year she arrived in Xinjiang, ready to impart her wisdom at the Aktau Experimental Primary School. To her surprise, she discovered that the children there had not received any safety education regarding sexual assault. With the support of the school leaders, she proposed introducing the “girl protection” curriculum, an idea that was wholeheartedly embraced.

Setting a personal goal to provide an additional 32 public service lessons per semester, she dedicated herself to teaching children about sexual assault prevention and raising awareness. Starting from March 22, she incorporated four to six “girl protection” classes into her already busy schedule, reaching over 1400 students.

Despite the physical demands, her spirits were lifted every time she entered the classroom and saw the children’s eager anticipation. The gratitude and warm feedback she received from both students and colleagues fueled her determination. Children on campus flocked to her, affectionately calling her the “Girl Protection” teacher and seeking her company for photographs, a source of immense pride and honor.

Recognizing her outstanding efforts, the leaders at the Xinjiang teachers’ work conference commended her for successfully implementing the “Girl Protection” sexual assault prevention curriculum among fourth and fifth graders at Aktau Experimental Primary School. Such rewards and support validated her unwavering commitment to the cause.

With unwavering resolve, she plans to continue her mission of delivering the “Girl Protection” curriculum during her time in Xinjiang. Furthermore, she wants to inspire and mobilize others, spreading awareness and advocating for the safety and well-being of children.

As Girls’ Protection celebrates a decade of transformative work, this volunteer teacher’s remarkable story stands as a shining example of love, knowledge, and unwavering dedication in the protection of girls and the prevention of sexual abuse. Her journey inspires us all to join the cause, protecting the innocence and childhoods of countless children.