In March 2005 as Li Wenhen was about to start his career as a high school teacher in his home province of Yunnan, he came across a recruitment advert for the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation’s New Great Wall Yunnan Office, which was tasked with providing financial aid and support to extremely poor university students.
Li submitted his resume and, in line with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation’s strict recruitment process, undertook multiple assessments and interviews. The Yunnan office only had four posts available, and given he had not yet obtained his graduate certificate and lacked relevant work experience, Li was specially recruited as a “+1” volunteer. After a one-year observation period, he became a qualified full-time public welfare worker initially responsible for communicating with colleges and universities, raising funds for enterprises and organizing activities for students from poor families.
In December 2005, Li was asked to go to Beijing to help prepare for the Poverty Alleviation China Tour charity night event held by the foundation. This was the first time he had left his hometown and the trip marked an important turning point in his life. While there, the leaders of the foundation asked Li about his aspirations and if he would like to work in Beijing. Given his desire to leave his home in Yunnan and make something of himself, Li leapt at the opportunity and in April 2006 he was transferred to the Resource Development Department in Beijing.
As Li adjusted to his new role, he faced a number of challenges; however he was able to overcome these and succeed with the help of the leadership and his colleagues at the foundation. In 2012 he was transferred to the newly established Brand Communication Department, where he was made responsible for building the organization’s credibility and brand image, both of which are particularly important to a public fund. This was a significant role for Li and although initially there were only three other people in the department, it was rated outstanding in 2014.
The department has continued to grow and in October 2021 it organized the successful “Feel $6.3” event, which corresponded with World Food Day and International Eradication Day. The event received positive media coverage from major national and local media organizations.
In 2016, Li moved to the Administrative Affairs Department where he was responsible for administration. Li admitted that the move was a challenge and given the difference between the positions, he said that it was like starting from scratch. But he never complained and simply adapted his mentality, stating that the most difficult transition was the need to consider the bigger picture which would be fundamental to succeed in his current role.
In the 16 years since joining the foundation, Li has successfully worked in several different departments and he believes that good deeds are the foundation of happiness. Today, Li is affectionately known as the organization’s “majordomo”, and the Administrative Affairs Department is developing rapidly under his leadership.
Li feels that his 16 years at the foundation equates to 16 years of self-cultivation, and that his greatest achievement has been gaining a deeper understanding of the true meaning of “goodness” in his work. It has also enabled him to write a manifesto about caring for others based on his own work and life experience. In the future, he plans to continue exploring how best to maximize the positive impact of his work.
This article was kindly translated by a CDB volunteer.
Photo: China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation