Discovering life’s purpose through helping children in China

By: Gerry Rucchin

One graduate student is reaching beyond campus and making a difference in our society by helping the most vulnerable – sick children. What’s more, she also found her purpose in life at the same time.

PhD student at the Faculty of Education, Yijuan Ge, along with the help of volunteers in China, donated C$2,000 to the China Capital Institute of Pediatrics. The donation helped the hospital buy 500 children’s books and establish a children’s library at the hospital.

The hospital told Ge about the purchase on Valentine’s Day.

“I felt so excited. It was the best Valentine’s gift that I received in my life. I brought them happiness,” she said.

Ge’s journey to China began through her association with an online parenting group, which was organized by parents in China. As a mom as well as a doctoral student researching how parents and children share reading experiences, she thought it would be an opportunity to learn from – and contribute to – the group.

When the group discovered she was going to China with her supervisor, Dr. Kathy Hibbert, they asked if she would present a lecture about her research and how it could help them as parents.

Ge presented seven lectures in four cities over 10 days. Audience members paid $20 to attend each seminar. When the lectures were completed and expenses were paid, there was C$2,000 left over. Ge asked the group’s volunteers to use the money to buy children’s books for the hospital.

“In China, we don’t have that (libraries in hospitals). For some kids, especially those with childhood leukemia, they may stay in the hospital for up to six months, or even longer. They can’t access children books,” she said.

While Ge is happy with the group’s success so far, she wants to do more for children. She plans on going back to China to give more lectures so she can raise more money for children’s libraries.

Ge said without a doubt, her experience at Western Education has helped her find her path in life.

“Without our faculty, I would never have found myself. We need to find out ‘who I am’ and ‘what can I do for society.’ I found it.”