【专栏】| Conlumists >微公益 | MicroCharity
By Yibai, Jointing.Media, in Shanghai 2011-07-01
Five years ago, a seventeen-year-old Tibetan managed to stay in school thanks to a charitable donation. Since graduation from college, he has been busy raising funds to improve the living conditions of those in his home area. The strangers who gave him the opportunity to continue his education unconsciously sowed the seed of philanthropy, and it has since grown into a flourishing tree. Over the years, this young Tibetan man has founded primary school libraries, implemented solar energy projects, done running water projects for intensely impoverished rural communities desperately in need of drinking water, completed irrigation projects, and founded inexpensive village medical clinics. His many projects have given him confidence and his dreams have grown.
He founded the locally based public welfare organization, Friendship Charity Association (FCA), in Qinghai Province in 2008 with help from many people.
This is the story of Nangchukja, a young man who never stops striving to realize his dreams.
Seed of philanthropy
The proverb “A single seed can change a whole world” epitomizes Nangchukja’s story.
JM: How did you learn about public welfare services?
N: I entered college in 2005. At that time, some of my classmates were doing interesting, public welfare projects, though they had limited funds.
In 2006 I enrolled in the Tibetan-English program at Qinghai Normal University, but it was difficult to continue my study due to my family’s poverty. To realize my dream, I had to look for financial aid and finally found someone who supported me with 10,000 RMB a year.
“Sustainable Development” taught by a foreign teacher was one of my courses and it greatly impacted me. Meanwhile, a few teachers encouraged students to participate in public welfare projects. At the very beginning, we assisted these teachers and soon we started to do things independently.
JM: Tell us about your first project.
N: It was a library project in 2005. The Lillian Kirby Fund donated around 5,000 RMB to help build a library in my village primary school. However, being only seventeen years old meant villagers didn’t have much hope that I would be able to complete this project and bring positive change to my village.
JM: And you succeeded. What did people say about that?
N: They were grateful because I solved a concrete problem. Gradually, people began to trust me and shared of their real-life difficulties, hoping I could help. I increasingly began to realize that I could really do something to help others.
JM: Did the success of your first project encourage you to move on for more?
N: Yes. I had been writing grant proposals and reports and had been making contacts with foundations since 2006. Friends introduced me to the German Embassy in Beijing and helped me prepare three project applications that included a library, solar electricity panels, and solar cookers. The solar energy project was needed because it took a really long time for people to do housework at night because they couldn’t see in dim lamp light and students in the village were able to do their homework in the evening using solar electricity powered lights. Solar cookers meant they had used less sheep dung as fuel. These proposals were quickly approved and this gave me confidence.
JM: What is significant about you doing projects?
N: We nomads are Tibetan Buddhists and taught as children to help others. During my second year in college, our school increased its enrollment, including students from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. After a few conversations with these students, we realized that living conditions in these areas were no better than in Qinghai. It occurred to me that more people needed help and by helping others I could increase the value of my life.
(To be continued)
Translated by Ryan
Edited by Robert