Monday, 19 November 2012

Ma Zhengzhou: An AIDS Relief Practitioner on the Frontlines

As part of her series on NGOs in Anhui, CDB Senior Staff Writer, Guo Ting, tells the bittersweet story of an AIDS relief practitioner’s ultimately successful efforts to set up a Chi Heng Foundation office in Anhui province, register it as a NGO and deliver financial assistance to HIV-infected families in the area. Ma Zhengzhou’s story reveals the difficulties faced by NGO practitioners in China yet also illustrates how they can overcome those difficulties by persisting through adversity and rejection, and building good relations with local GONGOs.
At the end of 2011, I received an anonymous reader’s letter.  The letter in fact consisted of only a single line, "please pay attention to the tragic fate of rural HIV-infected people," while the body was completely empty, without a name or contact details.  Curious, I wrote back to seek an understanding of the writer: He was Xiao Dai, a young man from rural northern Anhui, whose parents contracted HIV through blood transfusions in the 1990’s, bringing further hardship to this already poor family.  He had to study hard to secure a place at a university, and yet he arrived  carrying his bedroll, unable to pay his tuition, and prepared to be rejected and head south to do manual work.  He avoided this fate thanks to the generosity of the Chi Heng Foundation (智行基金会), an organization that provides financial aid to children affected by AIDS and which, having learned of his situation, provided tuition fees and living expenses.  Today Xiao Dai has graduated and is married with children.
Read more: China Development Brief

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