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More than just donating
Latest Updated by 2004-03-11 10:23:56

MARK NDESANDJO has been teaching children at the Shenzhen Social Welfare Center how to play piano since June 2002. A successful businessman in telecommunications, Ndesandjo is also a self-taught musician.

"When I first came to Shenzhen from Florida (in the United States) two years ago, I started collecting VCRs, DVDs and pianos from my classmates in the executive MBA program in Atlanta, Georgia and donated them to the welfare center," said Ndesandjo.

But soon Ndesandjo found that every time he went there, it seemed like a big party. "Children were dressed up and organized to meet us,"he said.

So the volunteer decided not only to give material goods, but his time as well. "Visiting these orphans on holidays and giving away gifts is a good place to start. But I want to go further," he said.

"The children here don't need food, but there is no art, or music to appreciate. Music connects human beings on the spiritual level and can have a lasting impression on the children, so I thought of setting up a program in arts education in the center," said Ndesandjo.

So he began giving piano lessons and so far has taught about 10 children.

After two years, Ndesandjo said he wasn't bored and said he was happy to see their success when they progressed to playing with two hands and mastered songs such as To Alice independently.

He said that the orphans appreciated the music more than those raised in normal families. "The orphans are very eager to learn, particularly if they feel someone wants to give them love and affection.

"These children see the music and the affection as one thing, and they value it much more every time they play. As the music becomes more personal, they develop a sense of accomplishment and independence," he said.

Under his influence, a handful of his friends also go to the center to teach subjects they know well.

Ndesandjo is currently planning a charity concert performed by expatriate musicians in Shenzhen to raise money to buy more musical equipment for the welfare center. He is looking for corporate sponsors and for more foreign participants to join the program.

Editor: Wings

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By:Wang Weilan Source:szdaily
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