Special Thanks to the late Mr. Rubin Huang
We are deeply grateful to Raybin Q. Wong Educational Foundation for many years’ contribution to Zigen’s work in rural education, teacher training and curriculum development. At Qinglong, Hebei Province and Gulingxi in Inner Mongolia, its donation facilitated Zigen’s building of green eco modern schools, teaching students to appreciate and preserve their own culture, history and local environ and to participate in the rebuilding of their villages. Its donation afforded two county village elementary schools, central grade and middle schools to accommodate the nine year compulsory government –supported education, estimated benefit reaching eighty thousand pupils and one thousand five hundred teachers. At the same time it upheld the notion that “together we can mainstream sustainable village development to build a national leadership team, to pillar a powerful concerted effort in promoting education and ecofriendly growth in China.”
——The Zigen Fund
Raybin Q. Wong Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Feb 1, 1999 and registered in New York State. Its purpose is to provide education to poor Chinese children who dropped out or missed attending school, including American Chinese in the U.S. Its founder was a Chinese American who had lived in the U.S. for more than half a century, Mr. Rubin Huang.
Mr. Rubin Huang was born on Dec 22, 1915 in Heshan County, XianJinGang BaiXiang Region, GuangDong Province, a village called Yue Qiao, or Moon Bridge. At 10 year old, he came to the U.S. for early education, unable to speak one English word on the first day of school. Fortunately, he had a great teacher and mentor, who guided him step by step onto a solid foundation. Mr. Huang as a young man returned to his village in China. During the Eight Year War against Japanese Invasion he passionately rallied for defense and immersed in guerillas activity. In 1940’s, he taught English in Heshan County High School as well as at Premier Zhongshan Memorial High School. The latter was superintended personally by Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s son. Mr. Huang loved profoundly this teaching post and even at his advance years cherished dearly the fond memories of being a teacher at his home village.
1949, Mr. Huang again came to the U.S. to study on his own. He was already 34 then, and attended classes while working at a restaurant to afford college and living. Through sheer hard work, he finally got his Bachelor degree and landed employment with the government. But Mr. Huang was not satisfied with the current status. He worked during daytime and evenings attended Electrical Engineering classes to earn New York State certification as an electrical engineer. By then he was almost 40 year. Growing old and reflecting on this part of his life, he often remarked, “It is never too late for a man to strive. As long as he takes pain to learn and improve, no obstacle can deter him.”
The following 20 years, after day job, he would volunteer to tutor new immigrants English, helping them integrate into the American society. He considered it his duty to take care of society in return for what he received. Over those years never at one moment that he forgot his home village. That was also the cold war period, when U.S. had no diplomatic relationship with China, which shattered his original hope to return home after study. Living by himself in the U.S., reminiscing those homesick days, he said, “Sometimes I sat by myself in NY’s Central Park longing for home and family, and tears streaming down my face.”
Mr. Huang had been thrifty all his life, frugal with himself. He could not drive due to an eye illness, using subway then buses to and from work, round trip taking 5 hours long. Yet he would never consider hiring a taxi. He was contented with 3 simple meals daily; and when a meal was done he would drink water from his rice bowl as not to waste one grain of rice or vegetable. Bones from the consumed chicken would be slated to make broth the next meal. For years he kept the same sets of clothing and would never consider getting new ones. As his savings accumulated, his compassion for others grew. He was committed relentlessly to charitable giving; so much so that it is difficult to take account of the innumerable donations he had given to various disaster and emergency reliefs. Every time I went to NY China Bank or Chinese charity organization to deliver his donation, he always reminded me that his donation be kept anonymous.
Approaching his declining years, Mr. Huang searched to establish a foundation that would provide education for impoverish children in China. Thus Raybin Q. Wong Educational Foundation was created. He designated 90% of his will be donated to education development for poor children, a yearning to help China. ‘Now I am at peace,” he contented. Mr. Huang’s lifelong dream is finally fulfilled.
Dec of 1999, Mr. Huang needed to stay in the hospital again. Knowing his health might not recover this time, he called his lawyer to confer at his bedside to finalize details of his Foundation. Mr. Huang became elated, expressing his hopes and dreams, reiterating the importance of education, trusting that we shall do a good job carrying out his intention. As his health waned, his spirit remained cheerful and upbeat, gratified that children back home will receive sound education, improving their opportunity for better life.
Although Mr. Huang has departed from us, he has left behind precious wealth for our stewardship. From the opening of the Raybin Q. Wong Educational Foundation up to now, 30million Yuan has been donated to improve education at China’s most destitute regions. Today we remember him not just for the monetary gift he left behind; rather we treasure more dearly his generous spirit of giving. Mr. Huang is an idealistic man. Today his spirit is glowing like an eternal flame, shining brightly to energize us to realize his ideals.
Translated by Bik-Kee Vuong, Volunteer
Edited by Biklam Lee, Board Director, Zigen Fund.