Home >> Cultural Exchange

Framing futures: one photographer's journey of hope

Updated: 2024-07-10 06:19 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat
Liu Ailun (first from left) folds paper with children at Hands of Hope in Vientiane, Laos, on Sept 5, 2021. [Photo provided to China Daily]

One day in September 2020, Liu Ailun met two little girls in Laos. They were sitting in a tuk-tuk, a common form of public transportation in Southeastern Asia.

Captivated by their cheerful smiles and bright eyes, the 31-year-old Chinese photographer asked their father, who was the driver, if he could take photos of them.

While chatting, Liu learned that the two sisters were of school-age, but their family couldn't afford their school fees. Liu offered to provide financial support for their education and arranged to meet them the next morning, but the father didn't show up.

Determined, Liu managed to locate the family by the end of the day, but they were initially hesitant to trust him. With a local friend vouching for Liu, the family eventually accepted his generosity. Just four days later, the sisters were enrolled in a primary school.

"I found comfort and inner happiness in helping the girls, so I didn't want to stop," Liu said.

In October 2020, Liu initiated a long-term public welfare project called Hope Vision under his own photography brand — "Hope" is also his daughter's name. The project cooperates with a center for disabled children called Hands of Hope in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Each month, Liu gathers a group of volunteers to visit the hearing-impaired children at the center, providing both material support and emotional companionship.

They bring items such as stationery, drinks, food, toys, and other necessities. They also spend half the day engaging with the children by playing games, attending classes, or "chatting" with them using sign language.

When the Songkran Water Festival approaches, they would buy a water gun for each child. "This idea came from my daughter and son, who enjoy playing with the kids there," Liu said.

In fact, Liu and his two children have set up a family project called Pay it Forward. Occasionally, they help one person in need and suggest that this person also help someone else in whatever way they can, ensuring that the kindness continues and doesn't stop with them.

1 2 Next   >>|
Hot words
Most Popular