This summer, 30 teenagers and young adults in Half the Sky’s Youth Services Program gathered in Beijing for a Digital Publishing and New Media Training workshop made possible by a generous grant from Barclays.
During the five-day workshop, the participants learned abut the history of Half the Sky and the Youth Newsletter. Many said they were proud to be part of the Youth Newsletter’s production team. Zhao and Li explained that the team is a community of like-minded youth:
“We all share the dream of producing a better and better newsletter so we can show people that even though we come from a forgotten group of people who grew up in orphanages, we have talents that we can showcase in the newsletter.”
The participants also learned how to use InDesign software, a complicated and powerful program that is commonly used in layout, and “WeChat,” a popular social media tool developed in China. Then they worked in groups on mini-newsletters to test out their new knowledge.
Several of the invited speakers encouraged the young people to follow their hearts and not give up on their dreams. Ms. Chen Hemei, editor-in-chief of SELF magazine, reminded them of the old saying, ‘Failure is the mother of success.’
After the last workshop session, everyone went to “must sees” Tiananmen Square and Qianmen (a pedestrian street with restored Ming and Qing Dynasty style buildings). Finally, the group gathered for a final, hot pot dinner after which Jianing summed up what many were feeling: “We will never forget these wonderful Beijing days full of joy and tears!”