Living Compassion: A look back over six years’ charity work in China


Translated By Andrew Yang

Practising the spirit of compassion and loving kindness

Living Compassion is a charitable institution fully funded by the International Buddhist Temple. Established in early 2017, the organization has been dedicating itself to supporting impoverished families in mainland China with a mission of poverty alleviation, education assistance and emergency relief. Those receiving aid include children not under direct care of their parents for reasons of work availability, orphans, widowed and widower seniors and families of the disabled.

Our volunteer members are recruited on the basis of their aspiring compassion, sense of gratitude and work experience. With help from local volunteers and teachers who share our vision, we identify families in need of assistance and conduct on-site visits to understand their specific needs. In addition to aiding students from impoverished families, we undertake projects such as donating extracurricular reading materials and bookshelves and building clean drinking water facilities for schools located in remote mountainous regions. Furthermore, we extend assistance to individuals and families facing financial crises resulting from unexpected adversities.

Our dedicated volunteers take regular visits to the regions covered by our aid programs, including the remotest and most treacherous. Dedicating themselves wholeheartedly, they sometimes go on multi-day journeys without taking proper meals or even rest. Due to practical challenges, including funds available and distance to school from home, some families living in mountainous regions are not motivated to send their children to school. To encourage them, Living Compassion offers accommodation and meal subsidies on the side for children who board at school.

Some schools situated further out in mountains only have one or two teachers working. They face added predicament with insufficient resources and a lack of even the most basic amenities such as books and drinking water. In response, Living Compassion sponsors books, bookshelves and water dispensers, and volunteers maintain regular contact with the teachers to understand their changing needs. Additionally, we provide them with income subsidies to support their compassion and long-term devotion to education under extremely challenging conditions.


Children living in mountains face unique hardship in accessing educational resources. After completing compulsory middle-school education, pupils encounter obstacles in pursuing further schooling. Some may have to drop out due to financial constraints, despite having done extremely well at school. After learning the challenges they face, Living Compassion volunteers give them individualized guidance and support, helping them select and apply to suitable vocational schools and programs. The aim is to encourage students to continue their education and equip them with the necessary skills for a brighter future.

Our volunteers have also intervened in cases where students, eager to pursue further education, fall victim to scams, and have helped them avoid losses. Additionally, we spare no effort in helping children who have given up resume schooling, finding appropriate schools and programs for them and exploring various avenues to facilitate their reintegration.

In countless cases under their watch, Living Compassion volunteers have demonstrated a firm commitment to fostering continued education through hands-on assistance while providing support to reduce poverty, making a lasting impact on the lives of those they work with.


Starting in June each year, our volunteers get busy with summer-break home visits. They check whether aid has been delivered as planned, gather information on changes within each assisted family and assess the children’s academic progress while continuing to offer encouragement and assistance. They help grandparents too with skills on caring for their grandchildren while the parents are away, emphasizing how besides food and shelter they need to instill values such as diligence and courtesy through home upbringing.

During these visits, many neighbours, villagers and school teachers are moved by the compassion shown by Living Compassion and start to assist in its work with enthusiasm. For example, the principal of a primary school in Guangxi initially did not trust our volunteers and suspected an ulterior motive. However, after witnessing their compassion and dedication, he was deeply touched and began to refer cases and give personal help to our programs.

In the past six years, the volunteers of Living Compassion have quietly and selflessly brought aid to families in remote mountains, embodying the Buddhist spirit of compassion and loving kindness. They have radiated warmth and light along a path of altruistic service and delivered timely care to many in need.

Notable recipients

Over the years, Living Compassion has successfully assisted numerous cases, helping poverty-stricken children from mountainous regions realize their dream of making it to college and university. Here are a few of the many heartwarming cases,

  • Twins Wang Jia and Wang Qiao’s father has physical disability and their brother has mental disability, leaving their mother the sole breadwinner of the family. In 2019, when the sisters were accepted into senior high school, the looming increased tuition forced their parents to consider letting one sister continue her studies and the other find work. Luckily, they received timely assistance from Living Compassion for both to continue at school. Last year, both sisters achieved top scores in their school exams. Jia was admitted to Kunming University of Science and Technology and Qiao was accepted by Dianxi University of Applied Sciences.
  • When Huang Jingjing graduated from Wuzhou Pharmaceutical School in 2021, she returned in August to her hometown, Huanglian Township of Guigang, to work at the local health clinic. Last year, she obtained her license as a pharmacist. Remarkably, when she received her first pay cheque, she eagerly handed it over to Living Compassion, saying, “I have been waiting for this day for a long time. When my family faced the hardest times, you reached out to help us, and that paved the way for me and my brother to be where we are today. That’s why I look up to you and strive to become a capable person with a kind heart”.
  • Tan Huimei initially gained admission to a regionally designated senior high school, but had to quit along with her younger brother due to family finances. Three months after they started to work in the fields, however, Living Compassion’s aid enabled her to return to school. Once back, she showed remarkable determination and within six months, she was able to to catch up with all her missed lessons. As a third-year student at Guilin Normal University last year, she was awarded the esteemed Will to Aspire national scholarship for her excellent school work.
  • Qin Han and her two sisters, all orphans, rely on their over-70-year-old grandfather who collects mountain herbs to support them. Unfortunately, Qin Han also suffers from a congenital vascular tumour that caused severe swelling to the left side of her face. After multiple surgeries, her condition relapsed but despite the challenging circumstances, Han remained optimistic and steadfast, and worked hard to excel academically. Last year she achieved an impressive score of 568 in the national college entrance examination and was admitted to South China University’s oral medicine program.
  • Feng Weimin had an accident in 2017 while helping her family thresh rice, with her right arm getting caught in the grain machine. Due to poor family finances, after several surgeries she almost gave up. Living Compassion reached out with emergency aid, allowing her to continue her skin graft treatment. Furthermore, home visits and support by volunteers helped restore her confidence. All this led to an amazing full recovery of her right arm. Last September, she was accepted into the accounting program at Guangxi Baiyun School of Commerce and Technology.
  • Liu Jinglei’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, leaving the family with debts amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. She passed away worried about the wellbeing of her three young children and their father, who suffered from lung disease. Eventually, emergency assistance from Living Compassion kicked in to ensure continuation of the children’s education. Of the three now, older sister Jingyi is currently in her second year at a vocational technical school, younger sister Jinglei, who excels in both academics and character, has been admitted to a well-resourced senior high school and the younger brother is in Grade 2 of junior high.
  • After Li Jinjie’s father died of illness in 2018, the family was unable to pay off the medical bills nor afford the funeral expense. Once more, Living Compassion came to their help and undertook to cover both the medical and funeral costs. In 2019, Jinjie was admitted to Shenzhen Advanced Vocational College, majoring in smart health and elderly care management, and last September saw her start an internship program. Her younger sister too passed the national matriculation last year and is currently in her second year at Guangxi Vocational Normal College.

Numbers in education assistance and poverty alleviation Living Compassion programs

Mission accomplished

With China’s rapid economic development, every remote region is now covered by highways and telecommunication facilities. In fact the nation has proudly claimed to have successfully eradicated poverty. At the same time, challenges posed by the pandemic over the last three years have made it increasingly difficult for our volunteers to carry out home visits, assessment and other on-site work. In light of this, Living Compassion has decided that having successfully honoured its mission over the past six years, the project in mainland China will now conclude and retire in 2023. We wholeheartedly thank the numerous donors for their loving support and extend our salute to the many devoted, selfless volunteers.

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