Sat 26th Oct. – Sun 3rd Nov. 2013 (Half-term): MBL Family Group Events for Masterpiece Chinese Painting Exhibition at V&A Museum

Sat 26th Oct. – Sun 3rd Nov. 2013 (Half-term): MBL Family Group Events for Masterpiece Chinese Painting Exhibition at V&A Museum


MBL Half-Term Event at V&A Museum:

Family & Children Fun Activities alongside The Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings 700-1900 Exhibition 

As an UK-registered charity, MBL has long been specialized in creating bridge of culture understanding between China and the West, particularly providing cultural support for British/international families which have adopted Chinese children. This October half term (26th October to 3rd November 2013), MBL Head Office XIAO Li together with Event Manager LI Xu organized MBL Family Group Day Visit event at V&A Museum, which provided adoptive families a wonderful opportunity to have a very unique taste of Chinese culture. Meanwhile 14 MBL volunteers from different UK universities took their responsibility on behalf of MBL to provide cross-cultural support to Chinese-culture-highlighted family activities at V&A Museum, which is one of the world’s greatest Museums of Art and Design.


imageMBL volunteers Valentina, WNAG Sheng (王晟), and LIN Ping are preparing materials for workshops

The families were firstly welcomed by MBL team leaders and V&A staffs as a group and then were brought to experience the Imagination Station. There, they could approach the Chinese lunar-calendar-based zodiac culture. Most of them were really interested in this, trying to find out with zodiac animals they and their family members belong to. Some of them already has some knowledge of this Chinese tradition and could name their own zodiac animals easily.

imageMBL Xiaoli was showing children’s painting to MBL adoptive family group

imageMBL volunteer LI XiNan was explaining  a painting of Chinese dragon to family visitors


After the lunch break, the families were accompanied by MBL volunteers to join the Pop-Up Performance, which introducing Chinese zodiac culture. Later on, the families and their children lingered in the Digital Kids part, some up-to-date digital technologies were introduced into this activity with some Chinese paintings were projected on the wall, and children could make changes to these paintings by stepping on the projected spots on the floor. Also, children could design their own Chinese robes in front of the computers and bringing their works home. MBL volunteers also helped the families reserve sessions in the most popular Make-It Chinese Painting workshop. During the Make-It workshop, MBL volunteers patiently helped kids to learn basic techniques of Chinese painting and encouraged them to create their own amazing art works.

 imageimageChinese fairy tales – Storytelling

imageimageChildren enjoyed music workshops

imageMBL volunteers YUE JingJing (岳菁菁) and Star are teaching children about Chinese Ink Painting

IMG_1886Learning to do the Chinese Ink Painting (photo was provided by Pippa)

V&A museum is well reputed as ‘world’s finest museum in art and design’. Normally only those very experienced persons are qualified to have the opportunity to volunteer. There is always a ‘long waiting list’ of volunteers for V&A, but through MBL’s collaboration with V&A Museum, our group of young volunteers with their passion in Chinese culture and love to children had a very unique opportunity to participate, and of course their outstanding performance won applause from museum staffs.    


About our volunteers

Group of MBL volunteers participated at this V&A half-term event are international students from different UK Universities. Some of them even traveled long way to get to London, such as from Birmingham and Edinburgh. They all had strong interests in Chinese culture and are passionate about charity work.

Generally, these volunteers did not have much social working experience. Though having the passion to help people, but not many of them had volunteering experience before. At the age of 20s, many young adult volunteers did not have many chances to communicate with children, nor did they work in a real international environment. This MBL’s volunteering experience might have given them a deep understanding of the way to their further life and career prospects.

Here we collected some personal feedbacks from MBL volunteers:

LI Beike (李贝壳): During the half – term, I worked as volunteer for MBL at V&A Museum. It was really worth doing it. There are somethings I want to share: at first I didn’t know how to communicate with shy kids, after talking and sharing with other MBL members I learned some skills of how to approach and communicate with kids, for example, we need to bend down to their eye level to make them feel comfortable. Secondly, through the chance I got to know a lot of friends form different universities and cities; they are all brilliant and kind. Last but not least, I gained some experience of working in the museum and got to know some great staffs working at V&A as well. Thanks very much for the opportunity.

PENG Yan (彭彦) (Erica): I think being a volunteer for V&A is really worthy. I volunteered for two days. For the first day, I worked in the studio. I met a lot of kids and their lovely parents, witnessed their great talent in learning a brand new art — Chinese brush painting. I got quite surprised at how amazingly good their works were, and in the meanwhile felt so glad about their love to Chinese arts. While for the second day, I worked at the imagination station. It was really a big challenge for me because I am so shy. When the staff asked me to do marketing, it was so difficult for me at first. Then another staff taught me some tricks and it went much more smoothly. At the end of that day, I was not afraid to talk to the strangers any more. I think I learned a lot through the experience. Though it was indeed tired, it is of great value. Hope I can have more such opportunities.

LI XiNan (李昔南)(Richard): This is not my first volunteering experience, but the most precious one for me. As a young man who had a few years’ work experience in China, I have to confess that initially I did not take this opportunity very seriously. My previous volunteering experience is only to add something into my CV. We all wish to make a better world, and volunteering is one of the best ways to achieve it. As far as I am concerned, ‘volunteerism’ is now to some extent missing among contemporary Chinese young persons. In China, many people have no clear conception about volunteering. Some see it as a means of accumulating work experience. Some view it as a kind of ‘exploitation’ of free labours. Volunteering posts are normally seen on some large (official) social events, exhibitions and some NGOs’ events. In these events, as I have experienced, volunteers would sometimes be paid, or the expenses of meals and transportation covered. However, if you expect all these benefits for yourself, volunteer might not be suitable for you. The Bible has revealed the truth of volunteering in very simple language: if you give, you will receive (Luke 6:38). In my opinion, volunteering is to give, to help, and to serve whole-heartedly, without the anticipation of rewards in any forms. Once you have dedicated to something good, there definitely will be a reward, perhaps not in the form of materials. I consider the rewards of volunteering for MBL at V&A is abundant for me. Firstly, it is the first time that I had such a great opportunity to work for a charity, which is also one of my future career options, in an international working environment. And later I realised that actually, it is quite a rare opportunity to volunteer in a world-class museum as V&A, which made me cherish more of this opportunity. Thus, as time permit, I chose to work for a relatively longer time than other fellow volunteers. I would also like to present my gratitude to MBL. It is this opportunity to be part of the V&A’s half-term Family Art Fun, that taught me how to communicate with children and how to love those cute little friends. Though I have a mother who has been a preschool teacher for over 30 years, to be honest, I do not really like kids. Previously, I found that it was difficult to communicate with children, and always regarded them as little trouble makers. This volunteering provided me an opportunity to reflect myself, the relationship between adults and kids, and furthermore, family. As suggested by V&A’s members of staff, I tried to humble myself more when facing children, to talk to them with a slow and gentle voice, and to give compliment to their works. Soon as I put these into practice, I found that it was not that difficult to establish a good relationship with children. Actually, when I humbled myself in front them not as an adult, but a peer of their age, to love them with my heart, I could also walk into their world. Then I saw a wonderful world different from adults, which was full of colors, imaginations, fairytales, and creativity.

Valentina Rigoni and Giulia Signorini (MBL Team Leaders): I consider having volunteered for MBL at the Victoria & Albert Museum a great experience and really worth it, not only as a chance to develop volunteering skills but also from a personal point of view. When I used to think about a museum, I used to depict it only as a place where to go and enjoy beautiful exhibitions, but now I look at it in a completely different way: a museum is a potential place for many different activities, from visiting galleries, to organize events, meetings and family activities as we did with MBL adoptive families. I volunteered there only two days and I mostly took care of MBL families that came to meet us for the first time to get a first approach with MBL and with what we can do for our families. It was an amazing experience both talking with the parents as well as playing with the children, from whom you can learn so much! Therefore, I am very grateful to MBL for giving me the chance to put myself forward in this experience and I hope there will be many more.

Elly from the V&A: I’m just writing to say thank you MBL volunteers once again for your outstanding contribution to the V&A. It had been a great pleasure working with and getting to know each of you throughout the week!


Up coming events:

On the coming January 19th, MBL will cooperate with V&A again in a particular event for Chinese New Year (The Spring Festival). All who wish to have a bite of Chinese culture are welcome to join us to experience the heart-warming Festival in this chill winter! Please feel free to contact MBL Head Office at:  for further information and details.

Support MBL:

MBL is currently looking for an office space, and your donation and membership support will make sure we could contibue our good work, and meanwhile to keep on MBL’s supporting disadvantaged children in China! Please make donation via HERE:

For voluneering opportunities, please contact:

For join our events & activities, please cntact:

Contributed By MBL volunteers李昔南 (Richard) and Valentina Rigoni Edited by MBL Head Office XIAO Li (肖莉)