Success Story – Weixiao Zhang

Meet Weixiao Zhang, who transformed from a passionate student volunteer into ACTAsia’s first staff member.

From the ancient province of Henan to the bustling city of Hangzhou, Ms. Weixiao’s journey has been marked by a deep commitment to education, animal welfare, and public service. ACTAsia is proud to spotlight this long-time friend and supporter. 

Ms. Weixiao’s story speaks to the profound connection between personal growth, philanthropy, and the enduring influence of our programs. She was born in Dengfeng City, where the echoes of history shaped her childhood. Graduating from Beijing Normal University Zhuhai, Ms. Weixiao found herself drawn to public service and charity. Little did she know that her path would lead her to ACTAsia and eventually to a pivotal role in the Public Welfare Department of the Alibaba Foundation

Ms. Weixiao’s introduction to animal welfare and ACTAsia

Ms. Weixiao’s first encounter with ACTAsia took place over a decade ago during her third year of university. The catalyst for her lifelong concern in animal welfare was a “Refuse Fur” campaign organised by an ACTAsia volunteer. Ms. Weixiao recalls a poignant image of a fox on a poster accompanied by the words “My Mummy is missing.” This struck a chord with Ms. Weixiao. ‘I got lost in thought,’ she said, ‘Then I learnt about what ACTAsia was doing.’  This moment of awakening sparked her interest in the organisation’s mission and laid the foundation for her deep involvement with ACTAsia’s Caring for Life (CFL) Education Programme.

Driven by a passion for international organisations and a belief in the transformative power of public service, Ms. Weixiao became a student volunteer. Her journey unfolded as a public service lecturer, contributing to the curriculum development and teaching practice of ACTAsia’s highly impactful CFL Programme. 

Weixiao engages with young minds during a CFL class

Empathy in action: Ms. Weixiao’s time at ACTAsia

‘There were many unforgettable experiences,’ Ms. Weixiao shared. She recalled a memory from 2013 when ACTAsia travelled to rural schools in northwest China to promote CFL and assess its impact with student surveys. Without access to phones or computers, thousands of children completed surveys with pen and paper. Moreover, in these rural areas, mail delivery was not an option. As such, Ms. Weixiao said, ‘the questionnaires for thousands of children were stuffed in the suitcases and dragged along on our trips.’

‘We[ volunteers] would sit in the open space under the school dormitory, sort out the questionnaires one class at a time, and pull heavy suitcases through the countryside. It seemed very hard and tedious, but we were all very happy to do the work.’

Ms. Weixiao’s impact at ACTAsia extends beyond her volunteer days. After nearly two years as a volunteer, she officially joined ACTAsia as the first-ever CFL Education Specialist. Ms. Weixiao played a crucial role in shaping the empathy-infused, multifaceted framework that continues to shape young minds today. 

Ms. Weixiao’s written contributions extended beyond the classroom. Her articulate preface to a CFL Education textbook highlighted the far-reaching significance of the programme, intertwining ecological civilisation and sustainable development.

Weixiao (second from left) leads a dedicated group of volunteers

Enduring lessons from CFL

Reflecting on her inspiration from ACTAsia’s CFL Education programme, Ms. Weixiao emphasised the profound impact on her worldview. The interconnectedness of all living things, the reciprocal nature of care and respect, and the cultivation of empathy became guiding principles in her life.

As a result of working with ACTAsia, ‘I am deeply aware of the existence of the “web of life.”’ Ms. Weixiao shared. ‘All living things are on the same web. Our lives are connected to each other. Human beings, other living beings and the environment hold each other’s care and respect.’ 

This mindset, she continued, lets us ‘make decisions not only for the benefit of people, but also for the sustainability of the environment and the development of thousands of living beings.’

Weixiao with children in rural Gansu province

Supporting ACTAsia: A lifelong connection

Transitioning to Alibaba’s Public Welfare Department, Ms. Weixiao has continued her journey in the realm of philanthropy. Responsible for managing Alibaba’s public welfare accounts on various platforms, she became a storyteller, weaving narratives of positive social impact through the company’s products and services.

However, her connection with ACTAsia remains resolute. She recognises the organisation’s tireless work to champion positive change has become a major donor. Her choice to continue to support ACTAsia is fuelled by both personal affinity and a shared commitment to the transformative power of education. Having witnessed CfL’s profound impacts first-hand, she emphasises the lifelong influence that participation in the programme imparts.

A message of care and respect

To close, Ms. Weixiao leaves us with a powerful message: ‘The world is like a mirror. You care for others, others care for you, you care for the environment, the environment gives back to you. A better and more civilized world starts with education.’ By caring for others, the environment, and all living things, we create a harmonious cycle of care and respect. Weixiao Zhang’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of education, empathy, and a commitment to making the world a better place—one step at a time.

Our life changing programmes that foster empathy, awareness, and positive change are made possible through the generosity of our supporters. Donate now to contribute to ACTAsia’s vision of a compassionate and educated world.