Half the Sky’s 33rd Children’s Centers opened in 2007 serving the Shaoguan Social Welfare Institution with an Infant Nurture Program.
Shaoguan is located in the hilly northern part of Guangdong Province, and the Shaoguan dialect of Cantonese is spoken locally. In World War II, Shaoguan was a strategic military site. Its downtown area lies on a peninsula shaped by the Zhen River on the east side and the Wu River on the west, which merge at the peninsula's southern tip to form the Bei River flowing south to Guangzhou. Shaoguan boasts 20 kilometers of tree-lined riverside esplanades and seven bridges crossing the three rivers.
Nanhua "South Flower" Temple is located 24 kilometers south of Shaoguan, nestled among many ancient trees. It was home to the revered monk Hui Neng (638-713 C.E.), who is said to remain in the Sixth Master Hall as a sacred lacquered mummy. Other relics include the Sixth Master's kasaya robe embroidered with 1,000 Buddhist images, his alms bowl, shoes, and a stone pendant. Hui Neng, who was instantly enlightened when he heard a man reciting a line from the Diamond Sutra--"Depend on nothing, you must find your own mind"--later became The Sixth Patriarch. He founded the Dhyana (Chan) School of Sudden Awaking, which emphasizes that sudden Enlightenment is possible, given the right teacher and method. After Hui Neng’s death, his works were collected and classified as the only Chinese Buddhist sutra, called “The Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra.” The Sudden Awaking sect is the only major surviving Dhyana School of Chinese Buddhism.
45 kilometers from Shaoguan is Danxia Shan, the Danxia Mountain area, China’s “Redstone Park,” whose beauty rivals the legendary limestone cliffs of Guangxi Province’s Guilin: "The mountains and waters of Guilin are the finest under heaven, but they are still inferior to Danxia in Guangdong," says one Chinese saying. The Danxia Mountain area was formed from reddish sandstone that eroded over time into a series of mountains surrounded by steep cliffs and many unusual rock formations of the type now known as "Danxia topography". There are a number of scenic spots in the Danxia mountain area. The Yangyuan Mountain scenic area is called "a naked park" for its penis-like big stone, vagina-like cave, and rocks shaped like breasts and a naked "sleeping beauty” peak. The suggestive rock formations inspired a sexuality museum open to adults.
The red stones gave the area its name “Danxia,” which means “red cloud,” but there is also a legend stating that the name stems from a love story. There was once an honest and hardworking young man called Dan Zai. A fairy named A Xia fell in love with him and came down to the world of mortals to marry him. The couple lived a happy life until the Jade Emperor ordered the fairy to come to his palace. The fairy refused and, in his rage, the emperor turned the fairy into a beautifully reclining stone statue by the Jin River, and the man into the Monk-hood Peak on its opposite bank. So, the mountain gets its name, Danxia, from the first syllable of the man's name and the last of the fairy's name.
Shaoguan Social Welfare Institution
#301 North Hui Min Lu
Shaoguan, Guangdong, China 512026