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Some leading Chinese charities have started launching specialist mobile applications in an effort to give information to people in need, and those offering to work as volunteers.

One of the

latest is a charity app called Voluntime, launched by China CYTS Bestway Expo Management Co Ltd, an organization which helps volunteering services pool their information.

"China has more than 100 million people volunteering every year, but there is still a lack of people in certain areas such as professional mental care, massage, and even hairdressing," said Liu Hongwei, CYTS's general manager, comparing its app in style to taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi.

The latest statistics show that nationwide, there are 70 million people still living in poverty, and another 200 million people who are 60-year old or above.

There are also nearly 61 million so-called "left-behind" children living in rural villages - children whose parents go to cities in search for work away from home.

Liu said he had heard of many organizations involved in activities as diverse as nursing homes and special education schools, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations that need people urgently, but find it hard to get their message out there.

On the other hand, some places received too many volunteers. For instance, nursing homes usually welcome a large number of volunteers during the Double-Ninth Festival, a traditional festival for the elderly, and held on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It was a waste of resources and invalid public welfare, Liu said.

Tong Liping, a staff member at the Beijing Shifangyuan Elderly Hospice and Mind Care Center, said that the Voluntime app has already provided it with crucial help in broadcasting its message.

"As an organization dedicated to hospice services, the center requires every volunteer to attend a full-day professional training before the volunteer work.

"We have training once a month, and we hope that with the help of the information app, more people can learn about those, and sign up for the courses."

The Voluntime app provides maps and volunteering demand across different regions.

The numbers of people and the types of services in need are clearly displayed, and volunteers can easily find opportunities best suited to them.

"Some nursing homes certainly require specific skills, and those who don't have the technical skill are actually discouraged from volunteering in some cases," Liu said.

"We plan to improve the app by introducing different languages, which will make it easier for foreigners to get involved in public service too in China."

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 Apps link up volunteers with needy

A volunteer helps hearingimpaired children with drawing. Volunteers organize various extracurricular activities like drawing, dancing and making handicrafts for those children every Saturday in Beijing's Shijingshan district. Provided To China Daily

(China Daily USA 02/25/2016 page15)