Over the past year, I have been preparing my applications for university. During this process, I spent a lot of time talking with different people about their work experience, weighing my interests and future aspirations while also evaluating what I would like to study and potential career tracks. I have had the privilege of having a comfortable and stable upbringing and growing up, I was always struck by the extreme poverty seen in the news. It was hard for me to imagine so many adults and children, especially in rural China, living in such poor conditions and the suffering they endure every day. Seeing them on television made me wonder what is the source of their economic instability and how can this be changed.
As a result, I started investigating the many charities in China. There seemed to be thousands of people both in China and abroad focused on supporting these charities but I wondered what the direct outcome from all this interest truly was. Many more questions came to mind. How do NPOs allocate the donations they receive? Is there ways of ensuring donations are used efficiently and effectively?
Because of these questions, I was eventually introduced to the Social Venture Group. In all honesty, I was surprised and extremely happy they were willing to take on a high school student. At this point, I do not feel as if I have many skills I can offer a consulting firm but over the course of this summer, I was exposed to many concrete skillsets like how to provide technical assistance to an NPO and what project management means. I also learned a lot about the regulations NPOs in China must follow and general facts about social sector. In the end, I found that a lot of my original perceptions about the nonprofits in China were incorrect. Working for nonprofits here is hard work! People working in this industry have very difficult jobs.
Next year, I hope to study economics and public policy with the hope that I can work on policies that help alleviate poverty here in China. After my time with SVG, I understand that this dream is a very big one but one that I still plan on pursuing. Though the tasks I accomplished over the summer may seem trivial in the big picture, I feel honored that I was able to play a part, even if it was a very small one, in helping to improve the lives of others in China.