On January 10, 2008, southern China was struck by a violent snowstorm that lasted 3 weeks. The storm killed at least 107 people, destroyed houses and crops, ripped down power lines, and interrupted the water supply.
Over 100 Million people were directly affected by the snowstorm. 1.7 million of the population were forced to evacuate from the affected area and the direct economic loss was about 8 billion USD. The storm was unusually severe because southern China usually gets little snow and has few preparations for severe weather. Due to a disrupted rail system, some 500,000 people were stranded in a single train station for more than a week around the Spring Festival, which is the only opportunity for family reunion for most migrant workers. What’s more, those who suffered the most from the disaster were the farmers who lost their crops and animals and the poor who could not afford food, electricity, and heating.
As news of the China snowstorm reached the HBS community, large numbers of people sympathized with those affected and felt the urge to help. A group of Chinese students organized a special fundraiser on March 17, 2008 – the 1000 Dumpling Party. The combination dinner and auction raised funds to help those affected by the storm. More than 30 students and partners from both EC and RC classes volunteered to help prepare the food and set up the whole event.
With the help of these volunteers, 1000 hand-made dumplings were prepared and served by a group of Chinese students in their traditional costume. In addition, numerous items were auctioned off. There was strong attendance for the event: more than 300 students, partners and faculty from HBS, KSG and other schools participated.
About $5,300 was raised through all types of donations and auctions during the party. The event also received support from the HBS Student Association (SA), which covered the cost of the party, and BCG Greater China, which matched every dollar raised. Thanks to the 300 attendees, SA and BCG, $10,700 was raised for the farmers and poor suffering from the snowstorm disaster and this made the event one of the most successful charity donations ever raised at HBS.
As a famous Chinese proverb says, you should “travel a thousand miles to give even a goose feather — a small gift may be a token of profound affection.” While it is true that $11,000 is a small gift when weighted against such a massive disaster, we (the HBS community) showed our concern for the people who suffered on the other side of the world, our commitment to those who needed our help, and our responsibility as future leaders.