About the project
The Badi Foundation offers the Moral Empowerment through Language Program (METL) to local schools in Macau. The curriculum is offered to junior high school students during school hours and as an extracurricular activity facilitated by older youth trained by METL. In a joyful environment they are able to explore their purpose in life, consult about challenges they may be facing and strategies to overcome them, and find concrete ways to serve each other and the wider community. The content of the program invites the participants to explore a series of themes such as confirmation, intellectual and spiritual excellence, hope, and the power of speech.
All in-person activities were suspended from January – June 2020 due to the pandemic but the junior youth groups continued over Zoom. In July, activities resumed in 2 of the 3 schools that Badi works with.
How we help
The Badi Foundation’s Moral Empowerment through Language Programme seeks to provide junior youth and youth with an opportunity to interact and explore meaningful ideas in a relaxed and joyful environment.
Macau has experienced rapid changes over recent decades, particularly with the expansion of the gaming industry. Many parents are employed in the industry, and their work often involves long and irregular hours. A government report indicated lack of communication between parents and children as being a concern, and another study indicated that “research also reflects a dramatic increase in youths’ stress levels, originating from pressure at school as well as family conflicts” (Luk et al., 2013, p. 1). Recently, the Director of the Education Bureau in Macau expressed his concern about the phenomenon of suicide among youth in Macau, and commented on the need for the underlying causes of this phenomenon to be addressed through a broader “social effort” involving the collaboration of a number of actors in Macau, including educational institutions and families.
Against this backdrop, older high school students are trained to volunteer as mentors (animators) of junior youth through the Program. Transformation is clearly evident in both the older high school students and the junior youth. Older youth arose to take on responsibility for the development of those younger than themselves, and junior youth eager to share their thoughts about meaningful topics with each other and their animators.
 Luk, A., Chan, W. & Hu, S. (2013). Macau, world capital for gambling: A longitudinal study of a youth program designed to instil positive values. Frontiers in Public Health, 1(58).
 See https://macaudailytimes.com.mo/education-chief-sees-emotional-support-as-a-social-effort.html
In 2017, Badi Foundation staff visited three CBOs carrying out the Environmental Action Program in the southern region of China at a regional gathering to consult about their progress and provide assistance and resources to support their development.
In addition, foundation staff had Regular conference calls with nine CBOs carrying out the Environmental Action Program in the southern and nothern regions of China to consult about their progress and provide assistance and resources to support their development.
Of the nine CBOs implementing the Environmental Action Program, five have been able to officially register with the government. One area of focus in the consultations with the CBOs that haven’t yet been able to register was helping them advance the process or registration.
In 2017, the nine CBOs carried out Environmental Action Program trainings with 831 rural women in 44 villages, whose activities have benefited 2,839 villagers.
While activities of different CBO vary depending on the needs of the villages, the outcomes observed in BeiNong Home Community Service Center, DeBao County, BaiSe City, GuangXi Zhuang Minority Autonomous Region are representative of continued capacity building of these village-based organizations, working to improve the social and economic status of their communities.
By the end of 2017, BeiNong had been implementing the Environmental Action Program for 4 years in 7 villages.
In 2017, BeiNong identified 21 facilitators in local communities, who independently facilitated participatory courses and other activities in the Program.
Program participants initiated various collective economic development projects:
- 6 participants from DaLong, GeMu and GeLi planted velvet beans
- 3 participants from DaLong planted navel oranges
- 2 participants from DaLong planted chili crops
- 6 participants from DaLong planted konjac
- 4 participants from PoTang learnt making flower baskets out of wheat straws. This is a long-term economic development project that BeiNong is planning to expand to other villages.
Other activities program participants were involved in include:
- Environmental protection and sanitation: 10 community cleanups in 7 villages
- Participatory courses: 23 villagers from DaMen and ShangShuo completed studying “Building a Prosperous and Harmonious Community”
- Skills training: 1 session in each of the 5 villages
- Ethnic cultural activities: 14 gatherings in 7 villages where all members of the villages were present
- Community cultural activities: dance teams were active in all 7 collaborating villages, and Zhuang ethnic drama performance teams in DaMu village
We have observed the emergence of a number of small scale economic projects from the programmatic activities of the CBOs. The general pattern has been that these sorts of projects emerge over a period of time. Initially the CBOs introduce the Environmental Action Program in rural villages, and rural women are attracted to participate in the training that is offered. Participants are empowered by their study of both scientific and spiritual concepts, and soon after their study most form groups that undertake simple service activities. At the same time, initiatives that foster greater unity and fellowship in the broader community, such as artistic and cultural performances, take place.
Throughout these endeavors, capacity is raised among the participants and in the village. Subsequently, villagers often consult about the need to improve the economic life of their community, and often small scale economic activities, such as the ones described above, are started.
What has been especially heartening to note has been how the program participants take into account spiritual principles such as justice and unity in the design of their economic projects. For example, care is taken that the benefit of the projects flow to an increasing number of community members, and not just to a few, knowledge and resources are freely shared, and impact on the social and physical environment is carefully considered.
In the past year, due to changes in the regulatory environment in mainland China, the Badi Foundation’s Board of Curators decided to bring the operations of the foundation’s Beijing Representative Office to a conclusion. This is in part due to new regulations that pertain to overseas NGOs that are operating in China. As Badi Foundation is a Macau-based foundation and the definition of “overseas” in the new regulation includes Macau, this regulation applies to the foundation’s operations in China. The community-based organizations that Badi Foundation has nurtured over the years are considered to be domestic organizations, and thus have a larger social space within which they can operate and will continue to operate as their circumstances permit. Due to restrictions on their ability to receive funding from outside of China, these organizations will focus on raising funds from sources within the mainland.
With this development, the foundation will be focusing its resources on the development of its programs in the Macau Special Administrative Region, which currently include the School of the Nations, a kindergarten through secondary school operated by the Badi Foundation and the Moral Empowerment through Language Program, which is implemented by the foundation in collaboration with local schools in Macau.
For 2018, with the organizational change necessitated due to the regulatory environment in mainland China, Badi Foundation has shifted their focus to the Youth Empowerment Program in Macau.
As noted by experts in the field, the benefits brought about by Macau’s rapid economic growth have been coupled with many social challenges. The rapidly changing social landscape of both Macau and the world as a whole leaves many, especially the young, questioning their identity, their future, and their place in society. Youth in particular seem to be searching for standards by which to govern their lives and decisions.
Macau’s population is 566,000, with approximately 23.7% aged 24 or younger. Traditional values among the population of Macau include the values of family life, harmonious living and filial piety, as well as traditional Chinese values of collectivism and moral qualities of loyalty and faithfulness.
In recent years many changes have come as Macau’s economy has become highly dependent on tourism and gaming. The gaming industry in particular has led to rapid growth in Macau’s economy, with many residents finding employment in the sector. This has brought with it many challenges including social ills associated with the gaming industry, as well as many parents working long and irregular hours due to casinos operating 24 hours a day. Recent statistics show that 81,300 residents out of a labour force of 398,000 are directly employed in gaming, and taking into account casino-related industries some estimate that half of Macau’s labour force is employed in the gaming industry. In situations where both parents work in gaming or gaming related industries, children and youth are often left for significant periods of time without parental care or guidance.
The Badi Foundation does not view youth as powerless victims of social forces around them, or as a “crisis” population to be feared. Now, as throughout history, when they are appropriately guided, youth can be powerful resources for social advancement. Our experience in Macau is that when a broader perspective on the purpose of education is introduced—namely, that the purpose of education is to develop one’s own talents and use them to contribute to a better society—motivation to learn increases and many junior youth and youth express a strong desire to contribute to the betterment of their communities. As junior youth encounter profound moral concepts through their study of the texts of the Program and engage in meaningful service to their communities, all guided by an older youth or young adult, they are better equipped to make important life decisions amid challenging social circumstances and direct their energies towards the improvement of their communities .
Program objectives are:
- To empower junior youth to develop a sound moral structure that will help them to become agents of change in the betterment of their communities
- To increase the capacity of junior youth to identify community development needs and plan and carry out service activities that grow in complexity over time.
- To enhance the powers of expression of junior youth in English
- To build the capacity of youth between the ages of 15 – 30 to nurture the development of junior youth through peer mentoring
Activities resumed in July 2020 in 2 schools after a six month lock down
Trained 90 volunteer mentors to reach 247 junior youth in the Moral Empowerment through Language Program
Carried out 3 service projects in 1 community
2021 Project Goals
- Goal to work with 100 volunteer mentors (increase of 10) to work with 300 junior youth
- Expand the implementation of the program in the Chinese language