Drawing from our collaborations with village communities, and our deep understanding of the rural Chinese context, we are offering our services as a rural liaison.
When villagers and outside organizations are seeking a partnership, we help advocate for the needs of both parties. As specialists who have one foot in each world, we have the patience and skills to help parties find symbiotic ways of reaching their goals. As we are working in the home communities of villagers, we prioritize orienting partnerships so that villages have their best chances to thrive.
What does it mean for a traditional rural community to thrive? Ultimately this is up to the community to decide. As outsiders, we have noted some tools and principles about how we can responsibly and effectively participate in a community’s journey.
How we work
Our job and our skill is to deeply immerse ourselves in a place, and to participate where we are invited. Mainly we are observing and practicing empathy, doing something akin to the work of cultural anthropologists, design researchers, or artists. We watch, learn and have lots of conversations.
Where appropriate, we share tools and lessons learned from our past experiences. We engage in dialogue around topics such as water, waste, food, nutrition, tourism, migration, culture, education, economics, well-being and family. We believe these exchanges across diversity bring mutually beneficial discoveries and empower us to make our own, more informed choices.
We also publish stories about villages with our online community. We highlight local history, and promote local products, giving villagers more market access. We tell villagers’ stories in their voices, and share our Core Team’s perceptions and insights.
3. Catalyze initiatives
Once information is being shared effectively, and parties understand each other, appropriate actions will often arise without effort.
Our role in this phase is to provide ongoing support to make sure communication continues and parties are acting accountably. We provide encouragement where helpful, act as guarantors of trust, particularly for villagers who know that we are committed to long-term relationships with their communities.
To address where communities are less resourced than our own homes, and in appreciation of their generosity toward us, we are giving back.
We give back directly through contributing to village funds. Laojia’s business itself also strives to be a market-based catalyst, investing in local initiatives that translate to community-defined sustainable development. We gain alongside the community, and we err on the side of giving back more to these villages in whose hometowns we are operating.
Building trust by doing
Our work is founded upon building trust. It takes time, sharing transparently, equal exchange and giving back. Most of all, in the Chinese countryside, trust is an ethic of doing rather than promising.
Additionally, villagers trust that they can be themselves with us, that they will be understood, empathized with, and that we can relate through the experience having traveled and studied the countryside well.
Work with us
The nature of our team
Our international Core Team brings perspectives from domestic and foreign culture and markets. Collectively we have spent decades living, visiting, immersing and collaborating with rural Chinese communities.
Our Local Teams are comprised of villagers who share Laojia’s vision, and with whom we maintain close relationships. Local Teams host educational programs, own and operate guesthouses, and are leaders of local initiatives we support.
Call to action
If you are an organization or individual who wants to make a sustainable impact through building relationships with rural Chinese communities, we’re here to talk.