Hua Dan Project

The Hua Dan Project has been running since 2004. Its main focus is on the migrant population of China, individuals at the cusp of the enormous rural to urban migration that is taking place as part of China’s growth. The majority of its work is with migrant women and children.

Project Stories

Children’s Education Programme
Provides opportunities for migrant schoolchildren that allow them to develop interpersonal skills, creativity, teamwork, communication skills, self-expression, and self-confidence.
Key achievements:

  • Delivered performances and workshops to over 1,700 migrant children in partnership with local schools and community centres
  • Provided training to teachers on how to integrate creative and interactive learning into existing curricula
  • Hosted winter camps for migrant children, parents and teachers to foster better communication skills
Women Empowerment Programme
Since 2006, Hua Dan has been helping marginalised women to structure their personal capabilities through increased confidence, discovering personal talents, improving communication skills and creativity, in an attempt to change their lives.
Key achievements:

  • Over 1,000 women have directly benefited from this programme.
Sichuan Children’s Programme
On May 12, 2008, the devastating earthquake in Sichuan severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of survivors. The psychological effects of the disaster will be felt for years to come, and schoolchildren are among the worst affected. Very soon after the tragedy struck, Hua Dan began working in Sichuan, bringing our workshops into the disaster area, and has been present ever since.
Key achievements:

  • “Qing Cao” Children’s Project, which aims at applying participatory drama in student after-class activities in earthquake-stricken regions, helping the children rebuild confidence and better express their feelings.
  • Teachers’ workshops, and camps every summer and winter to help children get support and understanding from teachers and parents, with the goal of building a good relationship and better communication between the adults and children.
Migrant Vocational Training and Employment Programme
Hua Dan trains under-served groups to use the power of participation in theatre workshops and performances as a tool for personal and social transformation in their communities. There is a particular focus on working with migrant women for the reasons of addressing the inequalities of opportunity rural women often face in China, coupled with their skills and natural aptitudes for working in the creative sector. Furthermore, since Hua Dan also works with children, it are creating a model of female leadership inspiring and influencing the next generation.
Key achievements:

  • Hua Dan has trained XX migrant women and provides full-time employment to YY.
Consulting Programme
Hua Dan runs a range of different consulting programmes for both corporations and other non-profit organisations. Hua Dan creates tailored activities designed according to client needs, to help corporate employees gain soft skills and improve team-building through creative and interactive theatre methods. All proceeds from this programme subsidise the other, non-profit activities of Hua Dan.
Key achievements:

  • To date, Hua Dan has provided almost sixty workshops to help corporations disseminate information and resources to employees, or to target beneficiaries from the migrant worker and youth population to build skills and knowledge to improve work and personal lives.
  • Services were provided for clients such as Citibank, Acona, Beijing Broadcasting Station, the International Council of Toy Industries, Leader’s Quest, DLA Piper, and UCCA.
  • In September 2011, Hua Dan was invited to deliver an interactive and participatory workshop at the Forum for Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.

Facilitator Stories

There are many young migrant workers who have benefited from Hua Dan’s Migrant Training and Employment Programme and who are now helping to run other programmes, inside their own communities. By donating to Scheherazade, you will also contribute to training more young migrant workers, giving them a sense of purpose through the ability to foster positive changes in their communities.

Zhong Na, Children’s Programme facilitator

“If you were a boy, you could join the army.” Every time I heard my father’s voice and looked at his solemn face, I felt scared and helpless knowing I was such a disappointment to him. At school, the situation was also difficult. I had trouble concentrating, especially during science class! My fear of being mocked by the other children also prevented me from taking any initiative.

I came to Beijing when I was 21 and worked as a housekeeper and waitress. I had always dreamed of being a teacher, but my limited education meant this dream was unlikely to ever come true. That day when I saw Caroline on the CCTV programme “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” changed my life.

Inspired by her enthusiasm and warmth, I started to attend Hua Dan workshops. In this atmosphere of mutual respect and equality, I began to express my thoughts in front of everyone and started to uncover my hidden talents and abilities. At Hua Dan, I received training to become a drama teacher and today my dream has come true! After five years working for Hua Dan in Beijing, my aspiration is now to go back to Shandong and share what I have learned by conducting Hua Dan projects in the local schools. Hua Dan has filled me with love and warmth, and I now feel confident I can share this love with others through my work. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to continue to spread Hua Dan’s values in my work and my life!

Luo Jinqiang, Children’s Programme facilitator

From third grade — when I started to attend a school for children of migrant workers — until I graduated from high school, I attended classes taught by Hua Dan. Before beginning these class, I didn’t know that it was possible to learn through participatory theatre methods, in a relaxed way, while sharing my thoughts and experience with others.

I learned a lot, and later was given the opportunity to join the Hua Dan team. Working together, learning together, helping migrant children discover their potential has brought me so much happiness and pride! I believe that what we do is very useful for these children. In most cases the problem is not that they don’t study well, but that the current education methods are too rigid and do not allow children to think for themselves.

The Children’s Education Programme we run in migrant schools help them to explore new methods of apprenticeship, and to experiment with their creativity while learning about the importance of team work. Hua Dan brings so much joy and transformation to the children and their communities; I look forward to being able to run a new children programme.

Guo Jinlian, Sichuan Children’s Programme Project Manager

“Nothing is impossible, just try it!” When I first joined Hua Dan, these words were the ones that impressed me the most. I tended to think too much, hesitate, and this could weaken the impact of my work. After I graduated from university in 2008, I joined Hua Dan first as a volunteer and now as the Sichuan Children’s Programme Project Manager.

Over the last three years, I have learned a lot and grown in confidence; I am more flexible and my passion for drama keeps growing! By participating in Hua Dan’s drama workshops, people are able to discover their hidden talents and face life challenges with a more relaxed and creative attitude.

Through each workshop I lead, I witness, again and again, the incredible transformation that happens inside the children. At the moment, the Hua Dan team is cooperating with Tongchang Middle School in Beichuan County to help teachers to incorporate participatory theatre in their teaching methods. Through these methods, abstract concepts such as confidence and teamwork can be experienced by children in very real and concrete ways that will influence their behaviors and values. We need your support to continue to bring more joy to the Sichuan school!

Dong Fen, Hua Dan General Manager

My name is Dong Fen, I come from the town of Sanbao, in the province of Yunnan. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t able to continue going to school because my family didn`t have enough money. This has always been one of my father’s biggest regrets, but I kept telling him: “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

While I was working as a beautician, I met several excellent mentors and friends, especially at Hua Dan. Hua Dan allowed me to see a world beyond that of a beautician, to understand my strengths and weaknesses, and to define my life’s goals. Hua Dan also gave me a platform to better develop my talents, allowed me to widen my experience and perspective, and provided me with the opportunity to use my skills to positively influence many young men and women like myself.

I believe that everyone’s development is highly impacted by the influence and guidance they receive. As a young woman from a small town, I have been so fortunate to have received the help and guidance of so many teachers, elders and friends on my road that enable me to become the person I am today.

Hua Dan is a very powerful organisation. Through theatre, it unearths and stimulates each person’s latent talents, and helps him or her to become an honest, courageous, innovative and confident leader.


Project Websites