Hong Kong Christian Zheng Sheng College teachers and students has arrived Vancouver on February 12, beginning their two week long schedule of activities and exchanges with the local communities. They were invited by Integration Youth Service Society (IYSS) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to promote for the “Canadian Youths Drug Free Project.”
The visiting group of students, who are in between the ages of 14-23 years old, consists of six males and five females, most are former drug addicts, with others having committed smuggling, theft, injuring others, drug-trafficking, drug concealing, involvement in gangs, violating probation, etc. Because of their background, they had to apply for special permits and police certificates. One of the student wasn’t able to receive visa, because of his past involvement in gangs.
Alman Chan, founder and principle of Zheng Sheng, laughed and said that to ask his students for police certificates, in another words, is asking for their criminal records. Upon their arrival, they were questioned by the immigration officers, which took around two hours, for everyone to successfully enter. So it wasn’t an easy for the students to come to Canada.
The youngest student in the visiting group is a 14 year old girl. She told The Gospel Herald that she is very grateful to have this opportunity to participate in the activities this time, because she knows that it wasn’t necessary for her to come. That day, she visited the drug-injection sites in east Vancouver. She couldn’t believe that such splendid city of Vancouver also has this dark corner.
The visiting group has visited schools, churches, and community centers to conduct sharing and exchanges. In addition, they’ve invited parents to participate in a public forum held at Richmond Cultural Centre to explore the problem between youth and drugs.
Ever since 2006, the school has been leading the students to go on trips abroad. Although they’ve always encountered some kind of difficulties in the process of applying for visas, Chan said that if everyone thinks of them as their own family, then one wouldn’t be bothered by any problems; when you see changes in your family member, then you will also try to give them another chance.
The last time that the student groups from Zheng Sheng visited Vancouver was in 2008. At that time, they participated in the “Canadian’s Youth Drug Free Project – North America Cultural Exchange Activity”.
This year, the visiting students and teachers will stay until the 27th before returning back to Hong Kong.
Christian Zheng Sheng College is a private school in Hong Kong established by the Christian Zheng Sheng Association (ZSA). The school aims to correct problematic students with drug addiction and other problems using life education.
[Editor's note: Luke Leung translated the article]