‘From China with Love’: profile of a volunteer

Kiki was born in China, an hour’s drive from Hong Kong. In 2016 she visited the UK for first time and was lost late at night one evening in London, not knowing how to get back to her accommodation. Along came the man who (though she didn’t know it yet) was the love of her life, Dean, who helped her find her way. Exchanging numbers and staying in touch turned into a long-distance relationship and an eventual decision to move to the UK permanently, which she did in March 2020 – just in time to enjoy the first lockdown.

Arriving in Reading determined to plunge herself into British culture, Kiki searched Eventbrite for interesting social possibilities. She booked herself on one of the last local events that were able to go ahead face to face – a Reading Recruitment Charter Launch event on 12 March.

To keep herself busy in lockdown Kiki offered free virtual Mandarin lessons, and was interviewed by BBC Radio Berkshire for their series of ‘Making a Difference’ community features.

At the beginning of summer Kiki and Dean got the green light from the council to have a marriage ceremony – attended by 6 people in person and by her family back in China via livestream through a phone on a tripod. The wedding reception was held under a gazebo on a camping site – with guests doing their best to socially-distance their way round the sandwich table. Even the oppressive weather couldn’t dampen everyone’s spirits for an unusual and unforgettable day.

After the wedding, Kiki recalled having met Gurprit, founding director of Ethical Reading, in March. She got back in touch with him and soon became a volunteer, with assignments focused on ethical recruitment charter, working alongside Antoine.

Kiki’s story is just one of many that have led to Ethical Reading. During pandemic times, it isn’t easy to establish positive and meaningful connections with people, but Kiki reminds us all that no one needs to be lonely if they are prepared to search for and discover a welcoming community of common interest. Get in touch – Kiki loves to talk about Chinese and British cultural comparison!

Ethical Reading exists to make Reading a better place to live and work. We run events, online meetups and discussions on ethics in life and business. We are currently planning our 2021 calendar – join our mailing list to be kept informed what’s coming, and how you can get involved.

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