Mental health rehabilitation home visit to Yongning

This was my first day among the volunteers. We left United Family Hospital on a bus, actually a mobile clinic, to visit a town called Yongning (永宁), located in Yanqing (延庆)District of Beijing. On the way I found an unusual, extraordinary environment and a colorful atmosphere, very different from the crowded and modern part of Beijing.


Upon arrival at Yongning, the first thing I have been aware of is the enormous discrepancy between the city and the countryside concerning hygienic and sanitary conditions.


Madam Bai introducing Aid and Service Association


Our first stop in Yong Ning is Aid and Service Association (仁爱协会). This organization had been look after many needy and disabled people, currently providing rehabilitation for about 15 patients with psychiatric diseases. Madam Bai (白老师), both the founder and therapist, who studied psychology in Italy, has made this open-air space based upon her studies. The patients are free to move wherever they want with no restrictions and they are always encouraged to participate in many creative activities such as dancing and gardening.



In the afternoon, AHA(American Heart Association 美国心脏协会) registered instructor Li Yan gave Basic First Aid training to the patients of this rehab home as well as volunteers and caregivers. It was a very good activity to enhance the social awareness of CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation 心肺复苏) since it was useful for the personnel. They practiced on their own and, above all, everybody had a lot of learning and fun


volunteers and caregivers practicing on their own

Then we visited another branch of Aid and Service Association, a car wash and repair center, built by International volunteer Thomas from Switzerland (来自瑞士的国际志愿者,大家都亲切地叫他 “马哥”) . The center offers inhabitants, especially for migrant young people with limited education, a chance to work and to learn, in order to live a better life.

At 15:00 we left Yong Ning and this experience was special for me. Many people might not be aware of this part of the world. It is very important to know what is happening around us and what we can do to make things change.


Franco De Marchi, international volunteer from Italy