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Red Cross Volunteers Sworn In

Shanghai's first batch of 140 Red Cross volunteers were sworn in at Shanghai Children's Medical Center at the weekend, ready to start service at 10 city hospitals.

They will visit patients, help tutor children, give psychological support to terminally ill people and give guidance inside hospitals.

"All volunteers promised to work at least two hours a month and keep serving for one year or more," said Teng Guixiang, an official at Shanghai Red Cross. "Only those passing examinations after the training can be our volunteers."

This is the first time that Shanghai Red Cross has recruited, trained and managed volunteers for long-term and regular services in hospitals.

After announcing the project in May, more than 200 residents and some companies stepped forward for the training.

Since June 2, the volunteers have been learning first aid, communications skills, voluntary service skills and attended lectures by psychologists and experts in child development.

The 140 volunteers who graduated range from 15 to 77 years old and come from all walks of life, including university students, doctors, office workers, teachers, psychologists and sociologists. About half are in their 20s and 30s.

Volunteer Wan Peifang, a 65-year-old retired doctor, was a hospital patient herself but asked leave from her doctors to attend the swearing-in ceremony. "Serving other people is very meaningful for me," she said. "I'm glad that Shanghai Red Cross can organize such a project to give us a chance to make full use of our professional skills and spare time to serve sick people and spread the spirit of the Red Cross."

Teng said: "Many volunteers are couples, parents and children, or sisters and brothers. There are even pregnant women accompanied by their husbands. We are moved by their passion in helping patients."

(Shanghai Daily August 20, 2007)

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