RCEF: What is a Civil Society?
_[Rural China Education Fund (RCEF) is a non- profit organization that promotes education for people in rural China. Huimiao Sun is a teacher from RCEF who works in these areas, teaching children basic level of education. She regularly writes blogs and posts them on the website toumingyu.org (the Chinese branch of Transparent Fish), where it is taken and translated by a U.S. Intern. Below is one of Ms. Sun's recent blog posts.]
This week, our focus point is on Civil Society by Lao Mo. So what is civil society? Civil society is a type of social governance. It gives the citizens space to move about freely, enabling them to participate more actively in public affairs. Usually, the government and the market are the two main forces of society. The more developed a country is, the greater the citizen participation and community efforts. In a developing country, there is a small government and a large society. On the contrary, in a third world country, there is a big government, but a small community.
Civil society can lead a country towards the direction of justice and fairness. The main values of civil society are reflected through three aspects: rights, participation, and tolerance. The “rights” that are spoken of here are in existence to protect an individual’s rights and values, but their individual rights and values are achieved through the community. “Participation” refers to groups that contribute in developing themselves and their community. “Tolerance” means the acceptance of social diversity and differences, the act of understanding, and compromising.
_[Mianzhu Family’s service volunteer team is currently working on a project to help the elderly around them to live better lives. This post is an overview of the purpose and budget of Mianzhu Family, written by the organization's leaders as part of their application to partner with the TFish Fund. To learn more about Mianzhu Family, please go here.]
Mianzhu Family’s kind hearted volunteers have covered every corner of the city of Mianzhu, taking care of the elderly, providing them company, playing games with them, and doing chores for them. Through these activities we have slowly understood the necessities of the people we serve. To improve upon our service in the future, we will do our best to play the role of their family members (who are oftentimes missing in their lives), so that they will feel more at home and less lonely. In order to provide them with a more comfortable standard of living, we are starting to visit their homes on a regular basis. Our activities include running health check-ups, cleaning around the house, hairdressing, holding birthday celebrations, providing every day products, washing/replacing clothes, and much more. Also, twice every month, our team has visted nursing homes to provide entertainment. From 2008 to 2011 we have served the single, the elderly, and the disabled. In 2012, our focus is to care for those who are lonely or struggling with financial difficulties.
_[The following is a translation of the Ryoko school's application for reconstructing the Ryoko primary school's basketball courts. The NGO sponsoring this project is YongNing Students, which serves to aid in the renovation and improvement of dilapidated schools. To find out more about YongNing Students, visit here!]
The Ryoko School, located in the Lijiang Ningland Yongning Township, is a small primary school in the village of Ryoko, which has approximately one thousand villagers. In the fall of 2011, the County Board of Education required the school to reintegrate their resources, transforming their five-year program to three grade schools, consisting of 29 students.
The school buildings were in a tremendously poor condition. Luckily, the Grace Foundation of Hong Kong donated enough for the school to build a two-story brick building, walls, floors, and other facilities on campus. Additionally, the Hong Kong Shun Tak Fraternal Association also donated school buildings and classrooms. The classrooms, like the buildings, had become extremely worn out. Desks were old and fragile, tables and chairs were cramped together, and broken glass was prevalent throughout the rooms. Accordingly, YongNing Students initiated projects for the school to replace desks and renovate the glass. The school is now in better shape than it previously had been.
Simple Scholarships: Recent Home Visit
_ [Simple Scholarships is a program that seeks to give out scholarships to kids rural China. Travel Expense Contributions is a branch under the NGO that delivers the aid in person. These volunteers personally visit the students to identify need and then deliver these donations to make sure that 100% has reached the correct recipients. The following is an update on their most recent trip. For more information, please visit here.]
The volunteers from the Xiamen Simple Scholarships station met up at the KFC by Xiamen Hospital of T.C.M. for their trip. At the same time, volunteers from Fuzhou and Zhangping dispatched in the rain to convene with local volunteers in Wuping. At 14:00 on Jan. 15, they finished their visit and returned via Xiamen.
This visit is comprised of four cars of volunteers from three cities. Volunteers from Fuzhou traveled 1200 kilometers; those from Xiamen traveled 700 kilometers. They are: Liu Linzhen, Hellorita, Fangfang, Meizi, Feng, Zhen Bing, Huang Mengya, Qing Qibing, Lu Renjiang, Xuelan, Wuping, (the following are local) Wang Haitang, Xiu Guanlong, Lan Baituteng, and Liu Jiao.
They split up into 6 groups and visited 20 kids. They gave scholarships to 16 kids, totaling 9800 rmb. This trip also brought the kids 20 scarves, candies, oranges, books, and other New Year’s presents.
LRS: December Hospital Update
_[Little Red Scarf is an NGO that sponsors congenital heart surgery for children in rural Gansu. This is a hospital update from 12/23/2011 about some of the children that LRS supports. To learn more about Little Red Scarf, click here.]
Currently, there are 17 patients who are subsidized by Little Red Scarf in the hospital. Out of these, six patients are in the General Hospital of Lanzhou Military Region and the other eleven patients are in the First Hospital of Lanzhou University.
Among the six patients in the General Hospital of Lanzhou Military Region, one is receiving preoperative examination, one is receiving surgery today, and the rest are on their ways to postoperative recovery. (Click "Read More" to see photos of the rest of the children!).
Update on my experience so far :)
This is only the second time back at the office since 2012, but we've already done so much! We've recently started translating, editing, and rewriting updates on various NGO's. We've also been assigned to a specific NGO, for which each of us are responsible. I'm learning about Little Red Scarf Care, specifically 3 of the kids in the program, and YongNing Children's project of creating a basketball court. Little Red Scarf Care provides scholarships for students with financial needs, distributes nutrition boxes, and supports local farmers by purchasing high quality produce for distrubtion to low income families. YongNing Children's Support Group renovates schools and allows for a more sanitary, pleasant school life. In addition, they are working to build a basketball court for their primary school. Please continue to keep up with the EV blog to learn more!:)
Furthermore, we are already planning the next couple events for fundraising! Be sure to check back on our blog to receive the latest updates!
Ally Nguyen, EVSS Intern
Saint Francis High School, California, Grade 11_
__On January 2nd, the East Villagers interns gathered together at Stanford Shopping Center in order to spread awareness about the name and vision of Transparent Fish Fund. The game plan was to split into three groups, and then station each group at different sections of the mall. Each group carried fliers that contained information about the TFish Fund, and began stopping people respectfully in order to talk about the organization. We hoped to communicate our vision behind spreading a movement of philanthropy.
I was assigned to a group that consisted of three volunteers and myself, an EV intern. The experience was exciting, but at the same time, nerve-wrecking. We were all nervous at first, unsure how to approach people, and had to do a quick “rehearsals” before asking people walking by if we can borrow some of their time. Like any other mission, there are times of success and failure, and after a couple of rejections, people began to stop and listen to what we had to say. A few caring individuals were genuinely interested in our work and message and listened attentively, making our jobs as the communicator easier. After talking to six people, our group was stopped by the mall’s security official, stating that we could not continue because we needed to sign paperwork for permission.
Even though our mission had to conclude earlier than expected, the experience was still worthwhile. Together as a group, we sat in chairs in the center of the mall and debriefed the one hour that we had spent talking. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the experience, besides the challenges of rejection, and the early conclusion of the mission.
Now that I am more exposed and comfortable with communicating to the members of my community about the TFish Fund project, I cannot wait to spread the vision of TFish Fund through the many other projects coming forth this year!
Sophia Huang, EVSS Intern
Los Altos High School, California, Grade 11
_[The following article is about Ms. Zhou's Psychological Counseling for Rural Women. It chronicles a day in Ms. Zhou’s experience as a counselor for the mentally ill. To learn more about this organization, please go here.]
“Responsibility allows me to forget pains of the past.” -- Ms. Zhou
Yesterday, Zhou got a visit from a man who looked about 30 years old. He was wearing a hat as well as a mask, so she did not realize that she knew him until after he sat down. He turned out to be the son of one of Zhou’s former colleagues. He said to her, “Ms. Zhou, I’ve been wanting to come visit; but I was too afraid to do it. I hesitated for 20 minutes or so before calling you today.” After chatting with him, Zhou learned that he is plagued by serious clinical depression due to complicated family problems. His SDS is as high as 78, while the average for most people is only 50. Zhou suggested that he take his condition seriously and go visit a doctor, as there are medications to help him. He left after an hour and proceeded to send Zhou several texts later, all of which expressed frustration and sadness. Ms. Zhou tried to resolve his confusion through her kind replies. This visitor remained on Zhou’s mind throughout the night. So she texted him, hoping to obtain his family’s contact information and communicate with them. But he did not message back. Zhou was worried all night, concerned that he may take extreme measures. His condition was so bad that any setback may break him down completely, leading to drastic decisions.
Wild Lily: Poetry from the Fields
_[Summary: Every month, NGOs supported by the Transparent Fish Fund write updates on their latest activity and progress. This poem was written by a staff member from Wild Lily Foundation, describing the lifestyle and living conditions of the children who are living in the Guangxi Province. Wild Lily Foundation is an NGO that focuses on supporting school children with generally low nutrient intake, and helping them to balance their physical and mental developments.]
D-Starine: Working Dogs in Shanghai
_[Summary: D-Starine (海豚星空号) is an NGO that is currently running the Working Dogs Program, which purchases pedigreed shepherding dogs to send to Tibetan herdsmen to increase pasturing efficiency as part of the NGO’s overall goals of disaster relief and community reconstruction. Learn more about D-Starine here.]
Chris Yuan Yi, the leader of D-Starine, met with Ms. Viky, a staunch supporter of D-Starine. She was once an apparel designer, and D-Starine’s fantastic logo was designed free of cost by her company. She and her husband are fond of dogs and aspired to buy a Labrador to have it trained in Dog School, so they went to the D-Starine Working Dog program.
Mr. Wu, the administrative assistant of Shanghai Brilliant Dog School, which is the cooperative school of D-Starine, found a seven-month-old, black Labrador that was appropriately mild to be a canine aid for children with special needs. His name was Dingding, and he spent a great weekend with Viky’s family.
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