Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Visiting NGOs along the faultline: Sichuan to Qinghai

August 5, 2010

It seems my life these days only revolves around NGOs, but hey there are worse things to be addicted to! Next week, I'll be bringing my son to look at a project in Sichuan started by the well-known Beijing-based environmental NGO, Global Village, with funding from the Chinese Red Cross and Jet Li's One Foundation. The project involves not just rebuilding Daping's houses, many of which were destroyed in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, but also revitalizing the social and economic life of the village and using the village as a platform for promoting tourism and traditional Chinese culture. I visited this project last year when doing research for a paper I wrote about the Wenchuan earthquake's impact on grassroots NGOs.

My son will be working with the YouChange (known in Chinese as Youcheng) foundation which is collaborating with Global Village on this project. YouChange, along with Nandu (Naruda), is one of a number of private foundations that has sought to create a new philanthropy model that emphasizes volunteerism, individual initiative, and support for grassroots NGOs. It also has other projects located in poorer areas in western China, as well as a project on the outskirts of Beijing.

After visiting Daping, we plan to head out west to the Tibetan areas in Sichuan, stopping in Kangding, and then making our way via the Sichuan-Tibet highway to Yushu, Qinghai where there was an earthquake earlier this year. I've never traveled in these parts before, and have heard it is both rugged and beautiful. I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully visiting some Tibetan NGO projects along the way.

I guess you could call this our "earthquake and NGO" trip because we're going from the site of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to the site of the 2010 Yushu earthquake, and seeing what kind of work NGOs are doing in these areas. As I've blogged about in other posts, the role of NGOs in disaster relief has been growing in China and deserves more attention and support.

I'll try to post news about our trip on this blog, so stay tuned!

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