Volunteer Day in Lanzhou Lanzhou -- Thu, Jul 28, 2005 Another great volunteer day. This school is a small school that started less than 2 years ago. There are less than 10 kids that attend it now, but there are 30 members (ie families that can't afford to attend but still get advice, etc. from the school). Note -- this is the only school in Lanzhou (a city the size of Kansas City) for children with autism.
We started the day by participating in some of the morning exercises -- ie some chinese song that I couldn't understand but involved clapping and marching -- before having an interview with one of two TV stations of the day. After the TV interviews and one newspaper interview, we went to a radio station for a live 30-minute session discussion on autism and our bike trip (the director of the school was also there). Then we went back to the school and joined about 20 people for a bike ride and publicity shoot around the city.
Today we had two TV interviews, four newspaper inteviews and photo shoots, and a 30-minute live radio program. Now let me explain why this isn't just a silly ego boast, but actually one of the key parts of our trip.
As I have noted before -- many Chinese people have never seen or really had exposure to people with autism and some other mental disability. We are helping create that exposure -- piggy backing on what we are doing and my white face. It gives these incredible schools full page advertisements at no cost.
Starting this trip, I didn't really know if we were going to be able to get any coverage of this event in China. I don't know Chinese and don't know how to navigate the Chinese media. But things have worked out incredibly well -- thanks to Fang Wen Guang, Wen Ray, the leg work by the schools, and some friends that have also helped me link up with press in Beijing and Shanghai.