_[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.
The main functions of civil society are supervision, social services, and social resources. “Supervision” is mainly necessary to limit the rights of the state in order to protect the freedom and rights of individuals. “Social services” refer to a user-friendly and low-cost provision of service. “Social resources” includes network, equality and reciprocity, in order to promote healthy social relationships between people.
We also learned about NGOs and how they relate to community development. Community development primarily refers to the four areas of political, economical, cultural, and social development. So what are the characteristics of NGOs that take part in community service? Their characteristics are mainly reflected in three aspects: 1) NGOs are based on third-party involvement. They serve as an external force. It functions to promote citizen participation I public affairs. 2) NGO work is driven by the community. In other words, the work of an NGO must meet the needs of the community. 3) The working approach is bottom-up. Their work includes discovering the necessities of the community, and using appropriate methods to work.
Determined by the nature of this work, you must conduct a detailed research of the community you will serve. The three main researched areas? Community resources, community needs, and structure of community rights. Community work is mainly to promote the self-organization of citizens and to increase civic awareness.
Through the study of this course, I not only absorbed this knowledge, but I also gained a better understanding of NGOs and their missions. NGOs strive to promote social justice, which is also a significant responsibility every citizen carries.
[The original post by Huimiao Sun can be found here. The article translated and edited by U.S. Interns Kaitlyn Cheung and Imperia Mendoza.]
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