Evelyn Lin




The second I finished my meal at the Market Psar Chaa in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a gang of disfigured and tattered children swarmed over my bowl from all directions to fight for the leftovers.
I saw innocent children with blighted lives, deprived of educational opportunity, bereft of limbs due to lethal land mines left from the days of the Khmer Rouge and living in grinding poverty.

The antiquated embodiment of impoverishment that I glimpsed during my travels in the past years has spurred me to want to render my expertise and education a human resource that helps forward an equal world. Natural calamities and institutionalized inequality have time and again offset development efforts in places I have visited. Ironically, at the same time, the other side of the world continues to reap benefit from advancement of technology and collective intellectual growth, which should have long banished poverty to the museum of human history. Such discrepancy cries for answers.

I asked myself one night, years ago working on a market research proposal, “Since everyone lives just once in this grand big world, what will I like to see when I look back on my life at the end of the journey? Will achieving commercial prosperity and advancement of my personal material life alone be a fulfilling answer? While a fifth of the world either lives in extreme poverty or is at civil war at this very moment, how can I take my comparatively easy way of life for granted?"

Leaving my tent one morning in the Annapurna Range, Nepal, I looked up to meet three Maoist rebels holding rifles, asking for toll fee. Later on my trip to Katmandu, I saw a mutilated corpse from a car accident lying abandoned by the road, witness to the shocking fact that human life and dignity is degraded and cheap in this part of the world.

With this in mind, I quit my job as a project marketing manager in an IT company in 2007 and got admitted to the ECHO-sponsored Master's program in International Humanitarian Action. Between January 2011 and January 2012, I worked in Jharkhand, India as a Right to Information Coalition coordinator and project management adviser with CUSO-VSO, Canada. Through the placement, I had the chance to help contribute to initiating a state-wide Right to Information Coalition in one of the most corruptive and deprived states, and promoting rights-based development approach among coalition partner and grass-root communities.

Because I cannot intervene everywhere, I do not conclude that I cannot intervene anywhere: Working for development organizations capitalizes on my field experience and academic training.