The Foundation often has donors who wish to support children’s projects in China. However, due to the difficulty in overseeing projects which are far away from the Foundation’s home base in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the Foundation has been fairly restricted in its ability to support projects in China.
The Foundation continues to review project proposals from China, though a fairly high and strict standard is maintained in assessing the Board members’ ability to oversee the projects before any funding is approved.
SUNRISE IREAD PROJECT IN HENAN
There is a significant imbalance in access to reading resources between urban and rural children in China: rural children represent 70% of the population but have access to only 11.1% of the books accessible by children living in the cities.
Sunrise Library is a Shanghai based not-for-profit organization started by a group of volunteers determined to address the imbalance. They started in 2005 setting up libraries in village schools benefiting Grade 4-6 students in earthquake-stricken Wenchuan in Sichuan province. As of June 2017 they have continually operated 15 libraries in 5 provinces.
The Foundation started a partnership with Sunrise in 2017 based on our common mission to improve the education of less privileged children. We appreciate Sunrise’s model of operations which is not limited to stocking libraries with books. Sunrise ensures the sustained effectiveness of these libraries by the following measures: they select schools where there is strong commitment from the principal and local government for the project; they organize training camps in Shanghai for village school teachers to impart skills and methods aimed at fostering the children’s love for reading and lay the foundations of critical reasoning; and their volunteers conduct site visits to the village schools to evaluate the performance of the teachers and the impact to the children.
In 2017 the Foundation has connected Sunrise Library with professional librarians who are friends of the Foundation to provide consultation on the library setup, book selection and categorisation. Starting with the 2017-2018 school year, the Foundation provided financial support to set up the iRead Project in Dajing Elementary School in Henan Province. Since then, every year 5 village school teachers attended Sunrise training camp in Shanghai and returned to Dajing to deliver approximately 50 delivered iRead classes benefiting over 300 students. Reading corners are set up in classrooms managed by student librarians. Read More..
The Foundation’s directors paid visits to Dajing in the summer and fall of 2018 and witnessed first hand the positive impact iRead has on the teachers as well as the students. Teachers and parents started to notice that the children spend less time on video games and are more attentive to school work. The students, as well,are demonstrating independent thinking in the book reports submitted.
Encouraged by the success of the iRead program at Dajing, the Foundation committed to supporting the expansion of iRead to another elementary school called Lu-zhuang in Henan Province during the 2019-20 school year.
CIWEI CHILDREN’S CHOIR IN SHEN ZHEN
The children of migrant workers are usually severely disadvantaged. They are unable to attend the regular public schools because they do not have residence status in the cities. The private schools they attend are usually poorly funded and many of these children are not expected to attend senior high school after graduating from Grade 9. To help these disadvantaged children, our Foundation has been supporting a children’s choir to help address both their learning and their social needs. Read More..
The main purpose of the children’s choir is to benefit the children by encouraging positive changes in their social and behavioral development through music and group activities. In addition to raising the children’s interest in music, singing can help improve verbal ability. Group activities allow them to develop their social skills, and public performances help increase the children’s self-confidence and self-discipline.
In addition to choir practice and performances, the choir members attend a series of personal development education classes. Some topics of these classes are: interpersonal skills, understanding oneself, how to be a good listener, how to say no politely, understanding and respecting others, personal hygiene, proper etiquette and social ethics.
The Foundation’s goal is that the children’s choir will help many of the children to become better people, and to be able to better manage their lives in society.
Ciwei is an NGO in Shen Zhen which manages social centre operations in a few locations in Guang Dong Province on contract with the local governments. Its head office is based in Da Peng, a community by the sea about 40 kilometers east of the city centre of Shen Zhen. It started a children’s choir in Da Peng in 2007 but operations were restricted due to the lack of funding.
The Foundation started its support for the Ciwei Children’s choir in 2014. As of the end of 2017 the choir group had 51 members. Choir practices are held on Saturday mornings, and personal improvement classes are held in the afternoon. During the year, there are at least four performances and also volunteer and team building outings organized for the children.
There are many more choir activities and classes during the summer months of July and August, as the children do not have to attend school. The choir can offer choir practices and classes during the week.
In the summer of 2016, there were increased choir and musical instrument practices. Summer classes included 5 sessions on basic drama and 6 sessions on manners. Also there was a volunteer’s day to educate the children about social service and to cultivate compassion and respect for the elderly. Ten children received training prior to visiting a senior home. The social worker designed a finger exercise for the children to teach the seniors to promote blood circulation. The children performed singing, taught the seniors the finger exercise and presented gifts.
From 2014 to 2017, the funding for the children’s choir project was 75,000 RMB (approximately $15,000 CAD). A small increase was approved in 2018 to start a class on how to play a folk music instrument called hulusi. During 2019, funding was decreased to 50,000 RMB (approximately $10,000 CAD) in hopes that Ciwei would be able to begin to identify alternative funding. The Foundation continues to work closely with Ciwei to monitor the progress and needs of the choir programme, and to consider its need for ongoing funding.
The Ciwei Children’s Choir funded by ourFoundation is the only children’s choir in Shen Zhen that is established for the benefit of the children of migrant workers.
2001 to 2015
THE PAUL AND EILEEN LIN ENDOWMENT TRUST AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
In the fall of 2001, the Foundation’s founders Professor Paul Lin and Mrs. Lin donated $190,000, and the Foundation raised $110,000 to set up the Paul and Eileen Lin Endowment Trust. The funds were invested in a diversified portfolio for capital preservation as well as income generation. Income from the endowment trust had been disbursed as the Paul and Eileen Lin Endowment Trust Scholarship, administered by the Foundation on behalf of the Trust, to talented students who were otherwise not able to attend senior high schools. Read More..
Establishing a Senior High School Scholarship Program in China from 2003 To 2011
In 2001, the Foundation learned from the Education Consul of China’s Consulate General Office in Vancouver about a gap in need of attention in China’s education system. Due to the Chinese government’s policy mandating free education for children attending Grade 1 to Grade 9, there was a tremendous outpouring of support from the community to build “Schools of Hope” and provide financial aid to students in poorer regions. Providing support to students attending senior high school, however, did not receive nearly as much attention. As a result, many children who successfully finished Grade 9 could not afford to attend senior high school due to financial constraints.
The Foundation saw a need to bridge the gap through a scholarship programme. We hoped that our scholarship programmes could change the lives of young people by assisting them to pursue higher education. Through the provision of assistance to these students at an early age, we hoped to promote the concept of giving and caring for the less privileged. It was hoped that students benefiting from our scholarship programme would learn these values as they grow up, and become useful and responsible citizens of society.
The Foundation engaged Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Beijing as our local agents. They helped us to identify senior high schools in four of the most impoverished regions in China as the recipients of the financial aid. Every year, RMB 1,000 was distributed to each of the students selected. They had demonstrated academic excellence and a true need for financial assistance. They were selected by a committee consisting of the teachers of the schools and representatives from the local school district. Information on the recipients and their progress throughout the school years was reported to the Foundation through our local agents.
The schools which received the endowment trust scholarships were:
- Nan Xi Middle School, in An Hui Province
- Gu Yuan No. 2 Middle School, and Hui Minority School, in Ning Xia Hui Autonomous Region
- Wu Dan No. 1 Middle School, in Inner Mongolia
- Xing Long No. 1 Middle School, in He Bei Province.
Between 2005 and 2011, The Foundation also received donations from supporters to directly fund the distribution of financial aid to senior high school students in Ning Xia Hui Autonomous Region. This was administered separately but in parallel to the Endowment Trust scholarship program.
Over the years, Board Members have traveled to these schools on their own time and at their own expense to meet with the students and their teachers. We have never failed to be impressed by the students’ appreciation of our help and their determination to succeed.
A most heart-warming moment came in spring of 2010, when Board member Marian Leung was visiting Wu Dan No1. Middle School in Inner Mongolia. She met with one of the scholarship recipients from 2002-2005, Ms. Zhang Wei Hua, who had recently graduated from the University of Inner Mongolia’s English Department and had chosen to go back to her alma mater to teach with a “grateful heart.” Ms. Zhang said that the scholarship gave her hope during a time when she was in despair due to her family’s financial difficulties and her severe health issues. Receiving the scholarship helped her to regain her confidence and provided her with the motivation to study hard. Ms. Zhang is proof that the scholarship achieved its dual purpose of not only providing talented students with access to higher education but also inspiring the young people to help others.
China is a growing economic power and we were delighted to see that the need for financial aid for senior high school students has gained attention. In some impoverished regions, the government has started to provide assistance to schools for disbursement to the students based on the size of the student population. Local businesses and individuals have also started to give financial support to the students. Suffice it to say that the gap in the Chinese education system identified by the Foundation ten years earlier, began to be filled by many.
Termination of the Endowment Trust in 2015
In July 2012 the trustees, who were also Board members of the Foundation, made a decision to discontinue the high-school scholarship programme with a six-month advance notice to the schools. The decision was based on the fact that the schools were then more properly funded and that it was difficult for the trustees to maintain close supervision of the administration of the funds that are disbursed in China.
In 2015, satisfied with due diligence that was performed, the Endowment Trust distributed its capital to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to establish the Endowment Fund for a ‘Paul and Eileen Lin Grant” to support a student outreach program called “Connect”. This program aims to enrich student learning and raise their social awareness through service workshops, held twice a year in China. The students are encouraged to use their own initiatives to identify, plan and execute the social service workshops, balancing their focus with the needs of the community, identified with input from local partners.
THE STARS AND RAIN EDUCATION INSTITUTE FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
Between 2006 and 2009, SCLCFC provided support to the Stars and Rain Education Institute for Children with Autism ("Stars and Rain", or "S&R"), a nongovernmental organization located near Beijing, China. The Stars and Rain Institute was founded in 1993 by Tian Huiping (English name: Hope Tian). It was the first, and for a long time, the only organization in China providing teaching and training for children with autism and their families. In 2007, Stars and Rain initiated the establishment of the Heart Alliance, a network of nonprofit organizations that help children with autism, which allowed education provided to Stars and Rain to be spread throughout China. In no small part because of the efforts of Stars and Rain, understanding of autism, and knowledge of methods for teaching children with autism, have spread throughout China, and children with autism now have far more educational opportunities there. Read More..
SCLCFC’s assistance to Stars and Rain took several different forms:
- 2006-07: provided funds to help hire a part-time assistant director to manage the day to day operations.
- 2006 and ongoing: The Foundation helped the S&R leadership enhance governance and managerial skills. SCLCFC director Howard Chu was instrumental in helping S&R organize a Board of Directors. He has also been generous in mentoring the new director on management, organization and finances.
- financed the purchase of a used van to replace S&R's defunct car.
- In 2008, SCLCFC Board member Hugo Chan taught a one-day workshop on “Positive Behaviour Support” to families attending Stars and Rain.
- In 2008 and 2009, the Foundation sponsored two five-day workshops on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behaviour Approach (VBA) to teaching children with autism for teachers from Stars & Rain and other organizations affiliated with the Heart Alliance. Both workshops were led by Dr. Suzanne Jacobsen, a leading North American specialist in autism. Each workshop was attended by over 60 teachers. The Foundation provided financial aid to the S&R to provide a bursary to teachers attending workshops from remote areas.
- In recognition of Hope Tian’s tireless effort in bettering the education and welfare of children with autism in China, SCLCFC bestowed the “For the Children” award to Hope Tian with Dr. Suzanne Jacobsen as the co-recipient at the Foundation’s 2008 fundraising dinner. This event raised over CA $15, 000 for S&R.
- In the spring of 2009, the Foundation sponsored two S&R teachers to come to Vancouver to receive 3 weeks advanced training at the GABA Program, under the direction of Dr. Suzanne Jacobsen, who generously allowed the teachers to receive this training without charge.
- In the fall of 2009, the Foundation co-sponsored a half-day Symposium in Beijing titled “Understanding and Interventions for Autism.” Board member Dr. Helena Ho spoke about the medical aspects of autism, and Dr. Suzanne Jacobsen introduced Applied Behavioural Analysis and some other advanced methods used to teach children with autism in North America. This symposium was attended by about 90 special educators, autism teachers, and doctors.
In 2009 Stars and Rain received a generous grant from the prestigious Jet Li One Foundation, in recognition of its sterling reputation and key role in addressing the needs of children with autism, thus rendering SCLCFC’s financial assistance less necessary.
REBUILD SCHOOL IN HE BEI
Funded the rebuilding of a school in Luan Ping County, He Bei Province to the northeast of Beijing, China, for 400 students, Grades One through Nine.
FUND THE BUILDING OF A LIBRARY IN NING XIA
Funded the addition of a community library at the Chi Ying Middle School in Ning Xia, which SCLCFC helped to rebuild in 1994.
Fostered the very important Chinese Poetry Project in China to encourage children to understand and appreciate the ancient art of Chinese poetry.
AN HUI SCHOLARSHIPS
Established a Scholarship Fund for outstanding teachers and students in An Hui Province, China.
CHILD EDUCATION OUTREACH
Established a separate fund to support Outreach Programmes in Child Education, administered through the Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation.
FUNDED REBUILDING OF A SCHOOL IN NING XIA
Funded the rebuilding of a school to benefit 1,300 children in Gui Yuan County of Ning Xia Autonomous Region in north central China.
FUNDED REBUILDING OF A SCHOOL IN NING XIA
Funded the rebuilding of a school to benefit 1,300 children in Gui Yuan County of Ning Xia Autonomous Region in north central China.
ESTABLISH RESEARCH CENTER
Helped establish the SCL Child Development Research Centre in Shanghai, China.