Deng Fei, the creator of the well-known “free lunch” (免费午餐) initiative, has now started a “Critical Illness Insurance” program providing help to children with serious diseases. The idea originated when Deng Fei visited the first “Free Lunch School” in Qianxi Town, Guizhou Province. At the school he came into contact with a girl who had pulmonary tuberculosis and was not being treated. It turned out that her father also had the same illness, and her family could not afford the medical care for both, so they chose to only treat the father, since he was the breadwinner. This experience inspired Deng to start the “Insurance Charity Fund for Chinese rural children with Critical Illnesses” (中国乡村儿童大病医保公益基金), so he could help this girl and other children who are in the same situation, with serious illnesses and families that cannot afford to treat them. The Fund received support from people from all walks of life, including celebrities like Ma Yili, Puge and Du Yuxuan. Beijing artist Yu Deyao helped the fund to raise 10 million RMB by donating some of his works; well-known enterpreneur Shi Yuzhu donated 2 million RMB to the fund. Various people also offered to provide accounting support, offices, insurance and other kinds of support.
After setting up the fund Deng contacted the head of Hefeng Town, Hubei province, the place where many of his programs were first carried out, and explained the theme and purposes of the fund. The town’s chief administrator was impressed with the program and decided to lend it his support. Following this, nine more towns decided to get involved and support the fund. Deng is particularly thankful to the government of Badong Town, which agreed to provide matching funds for the project. The fund is also making use of the “Mayi Financial Services” (蚂蚁金服) platform to make the donations and financial management more convenient and professional.
Although the project now provides lots of children with critical illness insurance to safeguard their lives, Deng is still hoping to get more towns and cities interested in the program, so they can provide more children opportunities to live healthier and happier lives.