"The best way to predict the future is to create the future, and we must all be creators of peace."
On December 8, 2019, Michael Hermann - the Chief Representative of The Federation for Associations connected to the International HUMANA PEOPLE TO PEOPLE Movement (Switzerland) Yunnan Representative Office, was invited to participate in the Action League 2019 Charity Ceremony Summit. This summit was held in Beijing and was hosted by ifeng.com, the Online Channel of Phoenix TV, and undertaken by its Charity channel, gongyi.ifeng.com with the joint support of 9 foundations.
Michael Hermann – based on his long time work in Yunnan's education and poverty alleviation sector - gave the keynote speech ‘Chinese Public Welfare in the Eyes of an International Volunteer’. He said that targeted poverty alleviation must develop the capacity of people It is better to teach people to fish than to give fish to people. To solve the fundamental problems in the rural areas, we need to revitalize the rural areas. "No matter what, civil society organizations must “Go the Last Mile"
At present, all mankind is facing severe challenges. We need to unite to cope with the crisis and work hard to create a new global harmonious society.
How can we create a new global harmonious society? Everyone knows the ancient Chinese saying "When drinking water, think of its source" - but how many people still think about this ancient saying today and respect the natural world? Should we add to say "When using electricity, think of its source "?
Our daily behavior is based on history. All our many anchestors created our presence, passively or actively, through their labor and innovation capabilities. Think of them, and continue the work for a better future for mankind.
Why am I in China? Because I think China is an unbelievably exciting country. When I first read The Red Star Over China in 1973, I felt high regard for China. Today, China is extending a helping hand to other countries to fight poverty together. Following the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the modernization of society and productivity, and commitment to reforming the global governance system, the vision of a " community of shared future for mankind” has been proposed. After traveling and working in 45 countries, I chose to come to China in 2005 to contribute my own power to help society in the western mountain areas to develop.
We cooperated with local education departments in Sichuan and Yunnan poverty areas to set up ‘Preschools of the Future’ (POF) classes in remote rural villages, and provided high-quality preschool education services to children aged 3-6 years. We solved the problem that more than 20,000 impoverished children could previously not enter preschool, and we are the promoter of the "One village, One preschool" policy. At the same time, our Rural Community Development Projects and Famer’s Clubs Projects helped more than 10,000 people to improve their livelihood and ensure that children in preschools can eat one egg every day. There are still many underfed or stunted children in some poverty areas. Everyone thinks this is not a ‘serious illness’, but the consequences are actually very serious.
Regarding HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, our TEC project supported more than 2.5 million farmers to get control of malaria and helped 1 million farmers to control AIDS. We are also the promoters of “the Liangshan Prefecture 1 + M + N” policy. Today, 80% of our health programs is prevention education. It is good that everyone pays attention to AIDS orphans, but if we do not at the same time prevent HIV/AIDS in the first place, we can never completely solve the problem of AIDS.
In addition, we need to promote targeted poverty alleviation. However, it is necessary to cultivate the capacity of people, “It is better to teach people to fish than to give fish to people.” To solve the fundamental problems in rural areas, we need to revitalize the rural areas.
There are not enough people involved in public welfare and their power is limited. Regarding the survival and development of the public welfare sector, it should be the market to regulate and decide. If you deliver better work, you will get more support from the market. The current threshold [to start a non-profit organization] is too high.
If it is in Germany, no matter which nationality the Chairman of the Board would have, you could register universities, companies and foundations. I hope to see such changes in China.
No matter what, civil society organizations must “Go the Last Mile”.
We all need to become creators of peace, - peace between nations, peace between social interest groups, peace between families, peace between men and women, peace between children and parents, and peace between man and nature.