Sabrina here. Hope you all are outside enjoying the spring weather -- well at least it's getting warm here in Beijing! (hooray light jackets, walks in parks, and dining outside).
As you may or may not know from my bio, I was adopted from Beijing originally and now I live and work here, for a non-profit NGO called Humana People to People China. My background is environment but I also wanted a chance to work on the more social aspects of sustainable development and gain skills in fundraising. I've learned a lot about the social situation of China and it's huge inequality gap in this huge country. Something we see even in the richest countries -- in the US we also have a huge disparity between rich and poor and like all around the world, that affects the distribution of resources.
I'm adopted by a Jewish family and I consider myself culturally Jewish (or a secular Jew) - the community is important to me. Right now we are celebrating Passover, which is a celebration of freedom from when the Jews were enslaved in Egypt (the story of Exodus in the old testament) and also a time to remember the suffering they went through and how they came out of it.
At Seder (the Passover meal) in Beijing last night, we went around and talked about what 'freedom" means to us today. As a good exercise in reflection, I did think about what freedom meant to me, what it means for people. I work in poverty alleviation. I believe poverty takes away many freedoms in one's life, as poverty most of the time takes away choice (also if you are interested in development, you must read Amartya Sen's "Development as Freedom"). When you don't have a choice but to walk 3 hrs to get clean water, when you don't have a choice to go to school or not because there is no school in your village, when you don't have a choice but to leave medical conditions untreated because there is no clinic or doctors available. Poverty is oppressing, but I also want to make clear it does not mean someone cannot live a happy life (as we know rich certainly does not automatically mean happy). However people should be empowered so they have more choices -- so they are FREE to do whatever it is that they want to do.
I wanted to share with you some of the situations I've learned about working in China and I also want to post this link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/enroll-rural-kids-into-preschool-in-china/
I was thinking of more communities to reach out to, and I felt this would be a good one since we all have more personal connections to China. This is to support one of Humana People to People China's "Preschools of the Future" in Zhenkang County, Yunnan province. These kids are mostly ethnic minority (not Han) who live in remote rural areas.
|Michael our country representative visiting the kids at our Taozhizhai preschool class in Zhenkang Yunnan|
OK these are my thoughts recently and I wanted to share!
Also Happy Easter!! Someone eat a delicious Cadbury egg for me, will you?