Ningbo, Zhejiang, China, 26 September 2013 – Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo General Manager Gregor Wateler and CINEMOUNT Design & Manufacturing Co., Ltd. CEO Chris Bugan are conducting intensive English classes for Siming Mountain Primary School students. Mr. Bugan is a long stay guest at the hotel.
Since the start of Embrace Programme in March 2012, expatriate employees or guests from Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo have conducted regular English classes every two weeks. Students love seeing the foreign faces who they could only see on TV before. Now, they are learning, communicating and playing games with these people who help open their minds and make English classes interesting.
Mr. Wateler is from Germany. In his English class, he brings German sausages, tells the story of the black forest cake, talks about famous soccer players and German cars, and watches Grimm’s fairy tales with the students. This tall German guy has shortened the distance from Germany to this mountainous school in the students’ hearts.
In the other class, Mr. Bugan, who is from America, talks about American culture to the students. He comes to class with his six-year-old daughter, who can speak both Chinese and English and acts as her father’s teaching assistant.
“We love to join Shangri-La’s programme of caring for people, which is called Embrace Programme,” Mr. Bugan said. “At the same time of helping these kids in school, it is also a good education for my little daughter. I want her to know some people can live a better life with our assistance and we get respect and happiness through the whole process. As a leader of a company, I would love to do something to share our love and return to the society as same as what Shangri-La is doing.”
Siming Mountain Primary School is located in the Siming Mountain area, and is about a two-hour drive from the city centre by limousine. The school has 281 students, with over 200 of them living in the school dormitory. These students return to the school every Sunday afternoon with rice and salted dishes for their meals in the school during the week. The school’s cooking facilities are out of date, which makes it difficult to cook fresh nutritious dishes. The school’s dormitory and other facilities are also very simple. Because of these conditions, the hotel’s management decided to support the school and improve its equipment as well as to conduct a few activities for the students to broaden their horizons.
The Embrace Programme’s Healthy Kids and Happy School is a sustainable 10-year project. Every year, the school development and improvement goals the hotel needs to achieve are set. Since Embrace was launched last year in March, the hotel has garnered volunteers to upgrade the school kitchen with new equipment, build a 20-metre washing sink and repair the main door of the canteen. Three new cabinets to carry dishes and glasses were installed in the canteen to ensure hygiene standards. At the same time, more interactive activities are ongoing to elevate the quality of education and open the students’ minds. For example, English classes by hotel expatriates every fortnight are held to increase fluency across the school. In addition, the hotel doctor has conducted a personal hygiene class for the children.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts remains committed to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible manner whilst balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders. In striving to be a leader in corporate citizenship and sustainable development, a corporate-level CSR Committee drives the company’s initiatives in the strategic areas of stakeholder relations, environment, health and safety, supply chain and employees. These focus areas are unified under the umbrella brand of “Sustainability”, together with Shangri-La’s core CSR projects “Embrace” and “Sanctuary”. Hotel-level Embrace programmes focus on Shangri-La’s Caring People Project, which aims to promote the highest level of education and health support in underprivileged communities. Sanctuary programmes concentrate on Shangri-La’s Care for Nature Project, which promotes the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. For more information, please visit the group’s CSR section on www.shangri-la.com