Chen Ming is from Luzhou, Sichuan, China. He currently serves as the Shanghai Education Coordinator for CWEF.
“In the spring of 2008, as I was about to graduate from university in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, the famous May 12 earthquake happened and destroyed many parts of northern Sichuan. My classmates and I heard a lot of sad stories and saw many sad images from the earthquake area. We felt so bad and cried together during that time. Like many other college students, I wanted to do something to help. I told myself that if I got a chance to help the people in the earthquake area, there’s no doubt I would go.
Right after I graduated, this chance came to me. I got to know CWEF through Toni Wang, the manager of the Guangzhou office at that time. She introduced me to the work that was planned for the area around Nanba, a small town that was badly damaged by the earthquake. I was very excited; my first job could be to help other people. I visited Nanba and decided to spend two years there.
The first year of life in Nanba was very hard. There was no clean tap water, no buildings, no air conditioner. All this was kind of a shock to me as a city boy experiencing “real life,” but the people there treated us very well. We visited many homes and talked to the mothers who experienced the pain of losing their children, only to witness their joy in getting pregnant again and having new-born babies. We climbed mountains to build water cisterns to replace the ones that had been damaged in the earthquake. We helped the local school equip their new library building with books, computers and furniture. We organized different activities to enrich the local students’ school life.
In 2011, I moved to Shanghai to help set up new CWEF programs with migrant schools, which is what I am doing up until now. In my work with CWEF, I have to deal with different issues which can be very unexpected and challenging. I always have to learn new and different things to accomplish my work. If I was working in some other job in China, I probably would just need to repeat the same thing everyday.
In Nanba, all the work we did was very welcome by the locals, but they didn’t know why we did it. At the time, I didn’t know why CWEF had asked us to do those things either. I just knew CWEF existed to help people. Since I moved to Shanghai, I have experienced some deep changes in my beliefs. I still get to learn many things in my work, but now I realize it is much more meaningful than simply how I can improve myself. Now I know we were designed to serve others. I’m happy to work with CWEF because what we do matches what I believe in.”
-陈铭 Chen Ming