Mr. Chung To is one of THE ONE 2015 finalists. Since 2002, Mr. To has been working tirelessly on helping the orphaned children whose parents died from AIDS and those who have been diagnosed as HIV positive. He mainly works on sending the orphans back to school so that their future is not doomed by lack of opportunities and absence of parenting.
AIDS is one of the most horrifying diseases till date. Treatment, care and support challenges prevail in China. In 2013 alone, 28,000 people died from AIDS-related causes. The number of people living with HIV receiving treatment has steadily increased across the country. However, progress in reducing mother to child transmission (MTCT) rates is still regarded as slow as well as addressing the high levels of stigma and discrimination people living with HIV experience across the country.
Those affected by AIDS can suffer from unhealthy weight loss, lesions, prolonged swelling of the lymph nodes, unexplained tiredness, memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders. However, one of the worst symptoms about AIDS is the social stigma that the patient and those around them face. People fear to merely be in your presence let alone have physical contact, when in reality AIDS only spreads from exchange of bodily fluids.
In 2002, Mr. To, a former investment banker at the time, visited Henan province of China. Henan is one of the poorest regions in the Greater China region. He saw the ravages of AIDS on children there. AIDS had become a widespread epidemic in China due to botched blood trade in the early 90s. Feeling the misery of the Henan people and the need of making this his lifelong mission, Mr. To took action and started the Chi Heng Foundation. This marked the beginning of his humanitarian cause.
His mission is to help the children impacted by AIDS.
In order to be fully dedicated to helping those children, he quit his job as a top investment banker in Wall Street and committed himself wholly to AIDS impacted children full time. He started in a small village in which he supported the development and education of 127 children. Over the years, he has helped over 18,000 children.
Most of the children do not have AIDS themselves, but they are mostly related to people who have had AIDS, i.e. their parents. Mr. To has not forgotten those who do have AIDS. In fact, he has successfully gained support from the Bill Clinton and Bill Gates foundations in which they have donated medical drugs and other supplies to the afflicted children. His dedication has also brought him many awards and donations from all over the world.
Mr. To is a man of action.
He had a successful career and was bright and wealthy. He had the bravery and determination to put his comfortable lifestyle behind so that he can care for the children in misery. He embraced the poor children with his endless and selfless love to them. He has made it the priority of his organization to give the children a chance to live a normal life. Over the years, his tireless work has allowed 2100 students to receive university education and has helped many more children to learn skills in vocational schools. To him it was totally worth the sleep-deprived nights and sweat when he sees them being able to stand on their own feet and live a new life on their own.
Now, The Chi Heng Foundation practices a sustainable solution in which the lives of the children are set on a path which allows them to leave the stigma of AIDS in the past and look forward to a brighter future.
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