|Maggie Cheung and the young presenters, including Xi-xi (far left).|
© UNICEF/China/2010/Martin Ye
Wednesday 1 June was National Children’s Day in China, which made it the perfect time for me to visit Beijing. For the week leading up to Children’s Day, UNICEF China ran a campaign around the issue of child poverty in rural provinces. The face of the campaign was actress and UNICEF Ambassador Maggie Cheung. I studied film at university and wrote my dissertation on Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, whose films include Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love, both starring Maggie Cheung, so I was looking forward to meeting her in her UNICEF role.
To prepare for the campaign, a group of UNICEF staff and Government partners took Maggie and a film crew to see child welfare projects in poor communities in Liangshan, Sichuan Province. This already deprived area is now also affected by HIV and drug use, with many children growing up without one or both parents. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) to establish a child welfare system that can protect the most vulnerable children in China. Liangshan is one of the pilot sites for the project.