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China Dream: From a humble beginning

03-14-2013 20:10 BJT Special Report:My Chinese Dream |
Special Report:2013 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

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Many people follow their dreams to the big city. Some fail, while others are still fighting. But there’s one man who is making a difference not only in his own life but for many others.

Picun Village is on the outskirts of Beijing. The migrant population here is ten times that of the locals.

36-year-old Sun Heng is the man behind the movement. He came to the capital 14 years ago.

He had resigned as a music teacher to look for something bigger.

And as for most migrant workers, life was anything but easy at the beginning...

Sun Heng, Founder of New Workers Art Troupe, said, "My first job was a porter at the railway station. The workload was very heavy and I only earned three hundred yuan a month."

The excitement of arriving in a big city was soon cooled by reality. He went from job to job and finally took to the road with his guitar.

"I wandered around the country for a year and got to know many people who live at the bottom of society. They told me about their own stories. I used to write songs about my own feelings, but since then, I write songs for them." Sun said.

He came back to Beijing, and got a chance to sing for the migrant workers at a construction site.

And that's when he understood his purpose in life...

"I still remember the scene that day. They all stood up after hearing my song. Some of them rolled up their sleeves, waving and singing with me. They showed me where they lived. The area was small and smelly, but many people live there every day. After my performance, some of them went on the stage to perform. Everybody was getting into the spirit. I’d never thought people who can barely making a living need a cultural life. This completely changed my mind."

In 2002, he founded the art group with several talented migrant workers. They rehearse and perform in their spare time.

"Our purpose in setting up the art group is very simple. We want migrant workers to have their own culture. We hope art can help them express themselves, to let more people hear their voices."

The following ten years have seemed like magic. The group has gone far beyond its original intention.

"I never thought we could do this much. We’ve established a school with the money from our first album of the art group. So far, the school has enrolled a total of more than 7-thousand students who travelled with their parents to the capital, who live in or around Picun. It now has more than eight hundred students. We also built a shop to sell second hand clothing to migrant workers, which we collect from local residents. The first museum for migrant workers was also created here. It now has more than three thousand items, all donated by migrant workers. And there are many other programs such as training workshops and art festivals."

Among these achievements, their OWN spring festival gala stands out.

By performing in the most natural way...many migrant workers can share their own stories and show their talents. They’re joined by workers from Hong Kong and Taiwan...

And Sun Heng has even bigger dreams.

"We’ve done much but there’s still more to be done. We want more people to join us to help migrant workers to enrich their cultural life. More art groups like us need to be established across China, not just in the capital. There are 300 million migrant workers in China. I hope relevant authorities could built more communities for migrant workers and provide more educational resources to their children."

And these are NOT just the dreams of Sun Heng alone...

From singing for himself to singing for others, the past decade has not only brightened Sun Heng’s own dream, but also that of many.

Ordinary people working for a better life. Their dreams are the China Dream.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CCTV.com

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