Play Video: The story of Liu Jing, a public welfare professional.
Liu Jing: The first primary beneficiary of Project Hope from China who returned to work for the programme.
Liu Jing was a little girl when her mother passed away from illness, leaving her with a vague memory of the motherly figure. Her father also suffered movement impairments in both his left limbs following a stroke and had to rely on crutches to get around. Over the next decade, Liu Jing’s father managed to raise all four children despite his handicap. Liu Jing looked up to her father who was stronger than just a pillar of support.
Liu Jing’s family was poor. Her relatives advised her father to only send the boys to school since girls could get married earlier and that he could lessen his financial burden. However, her father did not heed their advice to give up on his daughters’ education. He believed that knowledge was the only tool to change the fate of the poor. It pained the siblings till this day when they recalled how their crippled father would hop around the village hastily to borrow money for their school fees.
In Primary 3, Liu Jing decided to drop out of school just so she could lend a hand in the farm and ease their family’s financial burden while taking better care of her father. She had never once come across the outside world at that point and was too young to understand the repercussions of leaving school. Fortunately, Liu Jing was enrolled into Project Hope half a year later which helped waive off her school fees of 20yuan per semester. With such financial support, Liu Jing could return to school!
In the past, poverty compelled Liu Jing to decide on a more practical path while faced with the crossroad of life. Luckily, Project Hope showered her with love and hope. It created a bridge to the world beyond her hometown where she could feel a connection to a larger community. She also understood that there were alternative ways to stay alive. With such realisation, Liu Jing found the strength to muster up more courage in the battle against her own fate.
Project Hope planted a seed in her to do good and contribute to social welfare. With time, the idea took root and grew into a seedling. As she began to wonder the kind of an organisation it was and the kind of people they had, Liu Jing gradually developed a keen interest in philanthropy. The thought of pursuing social welfare for the rest of her life began to take hold.
In 2003, Liu Jing participated in the China Youth Development Foundation at the Heilongjiang province. She was determined to help more children in need from rural areas, children who were just like herself when she was a kid, in the same way others lent her a hand when she needed it the most. After joining the foundation, Liu Jing gained more knowledge and insights into common welfare practices. She attained many achievements worth noting, such as the 20-Year Long Term Contribution Award of Project Hope and its Leadership Award.
As she carried more responsibilities on her shoulders, Liu Jing began reflecting on her position. What other responsibilities can she undertake in her lifelong commitment to public service? From a tiny idea to a bigger concept, Liu Jing saw the importance of not just Project Hope, but the development of the entire industry through new forms of service.
Therefore, when she came across the admission enrolment sent out by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of National University of Singapore, Liu Jing decided that she will defy against all odds to study in Singapore during the COVID19 pandemic.
After arriving in Singapore, Liu Jing recognised the characteristics of the local public welfare organisations. They are smaller, yet more refined and specialised. Though they are not significant in terms of scale and the number of staff, but they do have high leveraging power. Singapore observes good practices in managing areas such as impact investment, social enterprises, social innovation and family philanthropy. These factors made Singapore an inviting country for learning and exchange.
The first phase of the China Philanthropy Leaders Fellowship, as initiated by Li Foundation, was launched in June 2021. Li Foundation was astounded by the life story of Liu Jing and enrolled her as the first participant in the programme. With the help of Li Foundation, Liu Jing was offered the opportunity to take on an internship at the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC). Her time at APC opened new avenues to building her understanding on the Asian philanthropy circle and local philanthropic organisations. She also participated in ongoing projects, which seek to create more possibilities in days to come.
Under the programme, Liu Jing received systematic training from Li Foundation and insights into philanthropic development in Asia, cross-cultural communication and leadership, philanthropic finance, philanthropic organisation operations and family philanthropy planning during her APC internship. She also visited social organisations in Singapore of various calibre.
Liu Jing: “I have gained a lot from the past one and a half years in Singapore. It opened doors to concrete international opportunities, and the possibility to explore and promote international philanthropic exchanges and collaborations in near future. I believe this is just the beginning, as Li Foundation continues to identify and nurture more outstanding young leaders who can create life-changing impact on the international philanthropy scene. Moving forward, I believe that the Asian philanthropic community can take on bigger roles on the international platform.”
Play Video: The story of Liu Jing, a public welfare professional.
My father never gave up, no matter how difficult our situation was. Whenever he worked in the fields on his crutches, he would yield the crops with one hand while supporting himself with the other. He would then take a tiny step forward before propping himself up and hoeing again. From one end of the crop field to the other, her father would cover 500 to 600 metres, with one step at a time.
With 20yuan, I could return to school again. Since then, I have never once thought of giving up. Certain days were perhaps tougher than before, but it is not the same anymore…
I have always believed in chasing the light of life. As long as we don’t give up on ourselves and keep that light in our hearts burning bright, life would not be too miserable. If the light is warm and powerful enough, you can shine on others too. If everyone can preserve the light in their eyes and love in their hearts, hope will surely carry them beneath their feet. And for this reason, I am willing to go on.
The most socially impactful public welfare project in China.
It’s a Chinese public service project organized by the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) and the Communist Youth League (CYL) Central Committee. Started on October 30, 1989, it aims to bring schools into poverty-stricken rural areas of China, to help children whose families are too poor to afford to complete elementary school education. They have also sought to improve educational facilities and improve teaching quality in poorer regions.
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