Yang Chia Shan, also known as “Captain Yang” or “Elder Yang” by many who love him, was born December 2, 1924, in Beijing, China.  After studying in primary and secondary schools, he graduated from the National Merchant Marine Academy in Guangzhou, China and received his official rank as an officer in the Merchant Marine.  After graduation, he worked for a Taiwanese shipping company for 14 years and quickly rose through the ranks as a ship’s officer and became the youngest Captain in the shipping company’s history.  In 1962, the Taiwanese shipping company sent him to the United States to work as a broker to provide international shipping services. In the mid-1970s he started his own shipping brokerage company, Great China Shipping Co., which he directed for more than 30 years, expanding the business to 7 locations.  In 1995, Mr. and Mrs. Yang felt called by God to minister to the Dungan people in Kazakhstan. Consequently, Mr. Yang retired from his shipping company and gave the company to his employees. He used his life savings to start a charitable foundation in the United States, called C.A.S.A. (Central Asia Sharing Aid) to fund his mission. This mission would be Mr. and Mrs. Yang’s greatest joy in life because together, they believed God called them and led them every step of the way.  Mr. Yang recruited local people, resources, international partners and favor with the local government to accomplish the work. 

In 2000, Mr. and Mrs. Yang moved to the city of Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan to help care for and educate the children of Kyrgyzstan by opening schools and orphanages, based on Christian principles and ethics, as well as providing a strong academic program.  Growing up in China, Mr. Yang benefited from attending a Christian School, founded by overseas missionaries in China.  He wanted to provide the same thing for the children of Kyrgyzstan. The Ak-Bata School of Blessing in Tokmok was the first school he opened in 2000, and the first to receive state registration. Mr. Yang also created the Yrayim Christian Charitable Foundation in 2000, which has opened 5 schools (Tokmok, Ivanovka, Kara-Balta, Belovodsk, Jarbashy), 3 orphanages (Karakol, Kara-Balta, Tokmok), and a boarding school for children with disabilities in the city of Kemin. As the students graduated from high school, Mr. Yang saw a need to provide these students with a college education.  With the support of Camilla Sharshekeeva, James Hung and other educators and donors, Mr. Yang opened the Yrayim Professional Institute in 2008 and it became the International University of Central Asia (IUCA) in 2009. Through the dedication of Camilla Duishebaevna Sharshekeeva and Dr. John Rosslyn Clark, IUCA continues to strive for the highest academic standards and the best preparation of our students for the careers that they want to pursue.

Mr. and Mrs. Yang loved Kyrgyzstan and her people very much.  During their 16 years in Kyrgyzstan, they gave an enormous amount of financial resources and helped raise international support for our system of education.  In 2004, Mr. Yang became an honorary citizen of Tokmok. Mr. Yang was also awarded a medal by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.  With the assistance of Mr. Yang, Mr. Chuck Howard and Mr. Butch Rafferty, the cities of Tokmok and Rockford, Illinois, U.S.A. signed a Sister City agreement in 2008.
In the summer of 2016, as Mr. Yang’s health was failing, he asked G.L.E.C. (Global Life Enrichment Center in California, U.S.A.) to continue the work of IUCA and Yrayim Christian Charitable Foundation.  Since Mr. Yang’s passing, Mrs. Yang and the Yang family are grateful to C.A.S.A., under the leadership of President Butch Rafferty and G.L.E.C. under the leadership of Rev. Susan Chou and Rev. Hung for continuing with the mission which began in 2000, to provide high-quality education to the youth of Kyrgyzstan, the future of Kyrgyzstan.

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Elder Yang's updated photo

FAITH in God, HOPE for Kyrgyzstan, LOVE for each person no matter their background, social status, and ethnicity – living with integrity and service – these are ethical foundations Captain Yang put into IUCA. All glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.   

-Yang Family, 2019 Thanksgiving