Have you read the latest issue of "Doing Good," SVG's newsletter on grassroots nonprofits in China? Each issue is a labor of love for us, as we get to share about all the interesting happenings we are seeing in the sector. We hope you enjoy this issue and give us your feedback!
Six months after the May 12th earthquake that hit Sichuan, I had the
chance to return to Chengdu and conduct research there for a period of time on
behalf of an SVG client.Being not as
seriously damaged by the earthquake, Chengdu has quickly recovered from the
disaster and there are now no obvious traces of the earthquake in the
city.However, residents are still
talking about and sending assistance to the nearby affected areas.It seems that almost everyone I talked to is
is trying to contribute in some way, either through volunteering or through
donations.The most tangible change is
that that many nonprofit NGOs have emerged, including international NGOs,
government-run organizations, NGOs from other parts of China and new grassroots
disaster relief groups in Sichuan.Most
of these organizations are using Chengdu as their base of operations and are
providing different earthquake relief or reconstruction efforts in Sichuan.
Sam (our Board chairman) sent me this article today in the WSJ about the massive reverse migration that is occurring now as factories are closing and migrants are returning to the rural areas ('China Fears Restive Migrants as Jobs Disappear in Cities'). I encourage you to take the time to read it as it not only highlights a slow reversal of one of the largest human migrations in history, but it also is a foreboding message about brewing social unrest in China. Quite simply, what do you do with millions of unemployed and unskilled migrant workers who return to their farms, farms which were more or less already gainfully employing those who hadn't left? Where can you gainfully employ them, and what value can they bring to China's current economy?
Graham Thompson alerted me to this article in yesterday's South China Morning Post detailing some of the changes we are beginning to see in attitudes towards volunteering and giving, post 5-12 earthquake.
I would agree with the sentiments expressed here, and the picture in my mind is of small green grass shoots sprouting up after a winter freeze. We are beginning to see the start of what we hope will be the springtime of grassroots charity and NGO work in China. The earthquake has certainly catalyzed public interest in the sector. What remains to be seen is the long term effect that the quake will have on giving.