What we have achieved together
At the start of the year Dr William Samuels, of City University New York presented his independent evaluation of ACTAsia’s children’s education programme, Caring for Life. Speaking on a webinar to education specialists in China, he cited the unpreceded results of the programme. His research showed a dramatic improvement in environmental attitudes of participating children, as well as substantially lower rates of aggression, better understanding of others’ emotions and a greater responsibility for themselves. Most significantly, Dr Samuels explained that through the Caring for Life curriculum “we have been able to establish ways to measure hope and kindness – a first in the history of education”. It means that we can change not only children’s knowledge but their hearts and minds. He believes that the programme can serve as “an inspiration for international co-operation, which will guide us to a kinder, gentler more sustainable world”.
At the 2021 China Charity Festival ACTAsia received an award for ‘Best Charity Programme for ACTAsia Caring for Life Education’. That same month we celebrated the final publication of our lesson plans in English for all 6 years. This is a huge step forward and means that we are now able to share the Caring for Life curriculum with every country in the world.
In partnership with Vets for Compassion Australia, ACTAsia’s vet training programme, Train the Trainer, helps promote fundamental standards in the treatment of companion animals in China, where vet knowledge is mainly limited to farm animals. One benefit to have come out of Covid is that due to training now being held online, we have been able to reach substantially more vets through expert tutorials and lectures. Our training programme attracts specialist vet trainers from all over the world who willingly volunteer their time and expertise to support vets working in China. In March we were delighted to welcome Dr Kieren Maddern from Singapore who volunteered her time to give a vital tutorial on pain management and anaesthesia.
On April 22nd the world celebrated Earth Day. A day which aims to champion the voices of millions of people to stand up for climate action and raise awareness of the greatest existential threat to our planet. While climate change affects everyone across the world, it is arguably our young people who will be most affected. Educating and inspiring the next generation about the environment, biodiversity and sustainability is key to achieving lasting and meaningful change.
ACTAsia joined in with those celebrations in its first collaboration with Earth Day by offering enrichment lesson plans to schools and organisations to use from the 12th to 23rd April. We were delighted by the response, with 52 schools in China signing up to “Restore the Earth”, the theme of this year’s Earth Day. Through 544 classes, over 23,000 children participated in workshops and activities, either on climate change or biodiversity. In addition to these schools, we also reached 11,000 children in hard to reach rural locations through our online digital platform Hu+.
2021 will be the first year we have doubled our efforts to amplify the fur-free message to consumers and industry. In May we hosted our first Fur Free Forum online event of the year focusing on businesses and brands and their crucial role as change makers in sustainable, cruelty free fashion. In attendance were some leading figures from the media and government with representatives from the sustainable fashion industry such as Joey Pringle from Veshin – a plant-based leather factory whose goal is to be the most sustainable factory on the planet. The event attracted huge interest with over 5,500 people attending online and a staggering 4 million people also viewing the video of the event.
In June ACTAsia received the incredible recognition of two awards from the UN. We were awarded the UN Good Practice for our Caring for Life children’s education curriculum and our Consumer Education campaign. A UN accreditation is recognised worldwide, and these two accolades acknowledge the impact and importance of our work in China.
The UN award signals the way for our Caring for Life programme to be rolled out in more schools across China and we anticipate that having this UN recognition and endorsement will encourage even more schools to promote the CFL programme. Our Consumer Education campaign award will help us to raise global awareness about the dangers of using fur in the fashion industry. Having our fur free programme recognised by the UN Sustainable Development Goals is truly ground-breaking. ACTAsia is the first organisation to successfully put forward the fur issue to the UN as part of the Responsible Consumption Goal.
These awards recognise the impact we have achieved over the past 15 years in creating a kinder more compassionate world.