When I received an invitation to attend a charity auction sponsored by Change for Life, I realized it was not only a chance to support a worthy cause (providing hearing aids for hearing impaired students), but also an incredible opportunity to involve our daughter, Reina, in an event that helps others in need. I also thought we might be able to bring home a cute piece of student art.
For the past couple of weeks, the exhibition “Paintings for Life” was on display at the French Cultural Center in Beijing. The many impressive artworks displayed were all made by individual hearing impaired children from the Xining deaf and mute school and the Qinghai special school in Qinghai province in the west of China. Growing up in vastly different conditions from our own, many of these children ended up with hearing impairments due to illnesses that were not properly treated. On Sunday, 27 works of art by these young artists were auctioned off to raise funds to buy more hearing aids for the children at these schools.
Change for Life ran the charity auction, their first, like real pros. I’ve attended art auctions in Beijing before, even very large ones, and none have had the excitement and joy of this event. Many of the parents in attendance also brought their children and there were even a few heated bidding wars between children and adults. My own child learned the first three rules of art auctions, which apparently are: know your budget; bid on the piece you love; and exceed your budget. That is precisely what she did on the very first piece of artwork up for auction. I think the competing bidders just didn’t have the heart to keep going against such a determined young child. However, after this initial act of kindness to the children in attendance wore off, bidding prices continued to rise throughout the auction and more than one piece went for over RMB 5,000.
I spoke with the even coordinator, Kristin Rosenberg, a volunteer with Change for Life (they are all volunteers), and she told me they had hoped to raise an average of about RMB 1,000 (27,000 total) for each of the works being auctioned. She was happy to report that the total was actually RMB 46,900; enough to buy 33 hearing aids for the children!
Although the auction is over, it is not too late to help a child. Change for Life gladly accepts donations (they are incorporated in Sweden) and is always looking for self-driven individuals with the time and energy to lend a hand. Kristin pointed out that the entire organization is run on a voluntary basis and that every RMB they raise goes directly toward hearing aids or school improvements; no funds are used to cover the organizational costs of Change for Life. If you would like to contribute your time, talent, or to make a donation, visit the Change for Life website here. They also have a beautiful coffee table photo book and gift cards for sale that are available here in Beijing (inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org). This is a chance for you and your family to give one of the very best gifts to a child in need – the gift of hearing.