Success Story – Yiling Chen

Yiling Chen is a mother of four, charity volunteer and humane educator in Shanghai who specialises in ACTAsia’s Caring for Life education programme.  

Yiling has been supporting ACTAsia’s mission for years both as a teacher and picture book editor. Ms. Chen is a team leader at the Parent Power Team at Shanghai Jinhui Experimental School. We are thrilled to spotlight this Caring for Life warrior!

Yiling is passionate about the collective force of education. Hailing from Taiwan, Yiling worked as an accountant for over a decade before shifting into education. Yiling moved to Shanghai in 2006, and shortly after changed careers. Her work centres around ACTAsia’s Caring for Life (CFL) education For children programme. Yiling is an educator specialising in CFL education courses and an editor of CFL picture books.

“My career in education is really thanks to my kids,” she shared, “the experience of having and raising children changed my thinking about and approach to education.”

Education with and through parenting

Yiling credits her dramatic career shift from finance to her children. “My career in education is really thanks to my kids,” she shared, “the experience of having and raising children changed my thinking about and approach to education.”  

As a mother of four, Yiling has accumulated a wealth of experience in parent-child education. Her role as a parent, she shared, helped her develop profound insights into the role of Caring for Life education for children of all backgrounds. 

Yiling’s work in education started with storytelling. “I wanted parents to go to school to tell stories to children,” she shared. She was already engaged in this when she first heard about ACTAsia. However, learning about the CFL educational framework transformed her approach to teaching and parenting alike. Raising and managing four children, Yiling shared, was initially a daunting, stressful experience. However, her encounter with ACTAsia’s CFL Education framework changed her perspective. She found herself feeling lighter and empowered, with a newfound sense of purpose and balance in her life. Inspired by CFL, she continued to achieve her certificate in education.  

On how ACTAsia’s Caring for Life framework has supported her journey, Yiling reflected, “I used to use traditional, strict methods for education and parenthood, such as punishing those who made mistakes. But then I learned about people-oriented education and learned how to change my approach.”  

“After discovering my value, I was able to truly achieve effective companionship with my children. When children see their mothers happy, they too feel happiness.”  

In 2011, Yiling began exploring the use of picture books as a medium for teaching ACTAsia’s CFL Education for Children framework. “I wanted to combine storytelling with Caring for Life Education,” she shared.

“We need to guide children to do everything with empathy,” said Yiling.

What is Caring for Life?

ACTAsia’s Caring for Life (CFL) Education for Children programme seeks to nurture compassion and responsibility for animals, the environment and others amongst children across Asia. This remarkable six-year program is built around UNESCO’s Four Pillars of Education, weaving together themes of social welfare, citizenship, animal welfare, and environmental stewardship. 

CFL Education for Children is a unique journey into the world of humane education. ACTAsia’s innovative approach teaches students the value of compassion and respect for people, animals, and the environment. CFL revolves around understanding how everything in our world is connected, highlighting the importance of One Health. This transformative experience is catered for children aged between 6-12 years old. By instilling these values early on, CFL aims to inspire a generation of compassionate and responsible global citizens who care for the well-being of all. 

“The courses have many different topics, but the underlying value is empathy. We need to guide children to do everything with empathy,” said Yiling.   

“Kindness is a choice, but it is also a skill to be learned. It requires a broad mind, magnanimity, kindness, and at times, wisdom.”

Parent Power Team  

Yiling’s approach to education is holistic and collaborative. Parents are teachers and teachers are often parents. With this in mind, Yiling inaugurated the “Youlijiazhang (Parent Power) Team” at Shanghai Jinhui Experimental School to implement the CFL programme. “We use the lunch break to tell stories and teach the Caring for Life programme to children.”  

What started as volunteering at Yiling’s childrens’ school became an official programme in 2017. 

The Parent Power Team aims to get parents involved in CFL, “creating a bridge between parents and their children’s school.” With the Parent Power Team, parents have the opportunity to learn to be teachers and are encouraged to be involved in the education of their children.  

“Learning how to interact harmoniously with people in modern society is of utmost importance. Kindness is a choice, but it is also a skill to be learned. It requires a broad mind, magnanimity, kindness, and at times, wisdom.”  

The impact of CFL education is lifelong, expressed Yiling. “I firmly believe that if one can love small animals, cats, and dogs, they will be capable of loving everyone around them in the future,” she said. 

“With the Parent Power Team, parents can bring the school’s educational framework into the home. If the new generation of parents are aware of CFL education and can educate their kids with it, we will have a better future.”  

“Everyone can change for the better. Family education is so important.” said Yiling.

“Everyone can change for the better. Family education is so important.” said Yiling. “I want to keep impacting as many people as possible by continuing to grow the Parent Power Team.”  

Thank you, Ms. Yiling Chen, for your incredible work in expanding ACTAsia’s vision!