The idea of setting up a Drop-In Center was concieved in 2011 when we see many of the students (both under our sponsorship program or otherwise) will spent their time in the local internet cafes or just mixing up with the wrong group. The main reason for them to be addicted to internet cafes or mixing with the wrong company is because of the lack of parental guidance as their parents are not at home to care for them.
Thus, the main purpose of the Drop-In Center is to provide a safe alternate place for these students where they can come to talk with our staff, read books, tuitions and even go on the internet but under proper supervision, and staying over the weekend if these students do not have any adults at home to care for them.
We started our first Drop-In Center in HongYan in 2013 by renting a 3 storey building which was bult about 30 years ago and the owner used it as a motel. The building had a total of 8 rooms and it suited our purpose at that time. As the building is old and the owner refused to repair the windows that were already broken before we moved in, rodents become one of our main problem especially during the hot summer months.
In 2015, we found another building that had been recently completed and there are two apartments on 1st level are available for rent. After negotiating with the owner, we managed to rent the two apartments with an annual rental of 14,000 Chinese yuan, which is only 1,000 yuan more than what we had been paying for the old run-down 3 storey building.
The new center will have 6 bedrooms, two kitchens, 4 toilets and two big dining area. With 6 bed rooms, we can house up to 36 staff, volunteers or students at any one time. If there is a need to house more than 36 people, we can still utiltise the two dining rooms where 10 more volunteers can sleep on the floor with mattresses.
We have moved into this new centre since June and hosted the first team of volunteers from China, Hong Kong and Singapore in July during our summer camp.