“How much difference can one make? I’ve always wondered. Through my effort, and many others’ efforts, I hope to make a difference to the otherwise missing country health education, to raise public awareness on the issue and call for more people to be involved in this cause.”
— Dr. De Qing Zhao, Volunteer of OCEF
Dr. Deqing Zhao in red in the rear line with students, in front of classroom
Dr. De Qing Zhao is a local coordinator of OCEF Comprehensive Support Program in Zhijing County, Guizhou Province, China. 96% residents of Zhijing are Miao people, a minority ethic group in Southwest China. As a girl in a 7-kid Miao family, Zhao had not received any education before her 12. Without family support, Zhao struggled for schooling by borrowing RMB 5 Yuan from her relatives as the first term tuition, and paid the rest of tuition through selling her embroideries. 4 years after Zhao graduated from G9,a charity changed her fate fundamentally. Zhao was granted a scholarship to pursue her dream in medical field, and lately became the first female doctor in her village.
2010 spring, OCEF stated a comprehensive support program in Zhijing. Feeling the power of education, Dr. Zhao volunteered to work as local coordinator. Beginning in liaising with OCEF and local schools, Dr. Zhao got involved into rural education and community service deeply. She applied financial aid for schools and students,conducted OCEF public health courses within school and her clinic.
In May 2011, Dr. Zhao was sponsored by OCEF to attend the 1st Non-Governmental Library Symposium hosted by the China Non-Governmental Library Association in Beidaihe, Hebei Province. On behalf of OCEF, she gave a talk at the symposium. It had always been her dream to set up a community reading room at her clinic, which only became firmer after she attended the pilot library training. During OCEF coordinator Liu Xiu’s visit to Zhijin, Dr. Zhao disclosed her plan to OCEF staff. She thenoffered a large room next to her clinic to build a community library, the Blue Moon Community Library later. The first community libraryin this county was thus formed.
The Blue Moon Community Library
In this undeveloped rural Miao community, a community library carries its functionalities of educating village people, facilitating communication, and hosting holiday celebrations, etc. In this case a good librarian oftentimes becomes a secondary governor and forms the hub of the village’s community network.The Blue Moon Community library locates at the center of the village, which is on the crossroad of many student commuters’ routes. It is therefore very convenient for the kids, most of who are of Miao ethnicity, to borrow a book on their way to school in the morning. The books in library cover the subjects of medical health, life style, science and technology, agriculture etc. In the mean time, periodical health education seminars will be held in this community library and adolescent health education classes will be delivered at the schools.With the projector in the library, they are able to play movies and educational videos to the village people.
Dr. Deqing Zhao with children in Blue Moon Community Library
As a doctor, a teacher and an OCEF volunteer, Dr. Zhao was swamped. Merely an hour before she set off for the Non-Governmental Library Symposium in Beijing, there were still patients visiting. Learning that the doctor was leaving soon, the patient requested for a brief consultation. Dr. Zhao insisted in not rushing through a diagnosis to be responsible for the patient. At present, she is giving health education classes in four different schools, one per month for each. She could barely find time to archive the documents aside from preparing and giving the lectures. “Sometimes I could almost fall asleep while walking at night.” said Dr. Zhao. Thanks to her husband Mr. Yang, who is also a teacher, her burden is shared as he helps archive the documents and run the community library. Mr. Yang also attended the Non-Governmental Library Symposium with her. She managed to get one of her friends into working for OCEF funding aid program as well. “It is much better now compared to two years ago.” she told OCEF staff.
With charitable support, Dr. Zhao changed her fate from an illiterate to a doctor, and then changed her beloved community step by step. She proved that, an educated woman could be a doctor, and brought a significant change to the community. Dr. Zhao is so proud to be a volunteer of OCEF. We look forward to more and more “Dr. Zhao” growing in OCEF comprehensive support program.
OCEF Project Timeline:
February 2011, Adolescent Health Education Program and Community Reading Room applications submitted by Zhao Deqin.
March 2011, applications approved.
March-June 2011, adolescent health education classes carried out in 4 primary schools: Minghua, Zhongshan, Xihu and Jiale school.
Aprial 2011, over 400 books donated by Xinping Foundation were in place at Guanzhai Community Clinic, Zhijin,Guizhou.
May 2011, under the support of OCEF, Zhao Deqin and her husband attended the 1st Non-Governmental Library Symposium hosted by the China Non-Governmental Library Association in Beidaihe. On behalf of OCEF, Dr. Zhao gave a talk at the symposium.
May 2011, during OCEF site visits, small training sessions were held in the community library for teachers and parents of the students.
October 2011, community library relocated to a brand new street-side building owned by Dr. Zhao, and officially named Blue Moon Community Library.
October 2011, projection screen donated by OCEF put into use.
October 2011-now, Blue Moon Community Library opened to public. Periodical screening of health education videos are in trial run.