Since Deng Xiaoping ushered in an era of market-oriented economic development in 1978, China has experienced varying degrees of economic growth. With this has come a significant rise in the quality of living for a population of more than 1 billion people, though the increased wealth inequalities have been unkind to the less fortunate. China has several pressing concerns such as water scarcity, pollution, disparities between the more urban eastern coast and the more rural western area, and continued political restrictions. Education in the country is government provided, and is free from ages 6-15; students in more developed areas have some of the world’s highest math, science, and literacy test scores.
However, undocumented immigrant children and children located in more rural areas, especially in the western provinces of China, have limited access to education, lack of facilities, and higher illiteracy rates, meaning there is still urgent need for improved educational systems in the underserved areas. There are more than 20 million migrant workers in China.
Most migrant workers are not able to pay for their children’s education; they have no choice but send the children to disadvantaged privately run schools. Most private schools don’t have sufficient capital, and do not have the necessary facilities to provide a good environment for education.
Design Your Life
While China continues to experience economic growth, many young people in rural areas are getting left behind. This lack of opportunity is in stark contrast with the highly competitive nature of Chinese schools in large cities like Beijing. This is especially so in Dali Prefecture, which experiences high and increasing levels of unemployment, especially among young people.
Shambala Foundation believes that education is the best means of alleviating poverty, and works with rural students to help them break the cycle of poverty and live their full potential. PaperSeed is partnering with Shambala Foundation to bring 10 young women in Yunnan province to a 128 hour intensive training program designed to help them find direction and take action in their lives. With business training and rigorous action planning, these young people will have the means to find gainful employment, start businesses, or pursue higher education.
We are excited to be working with an innovative partner like Shambala, and look forward to sharing updates from their participants as the program progresses.
Library and Computer Lab for Rural Students
In China, there is major achievement gap between schools in urban areas and rural schools. While students in China's urban areas boast some of the world's highest math, science, and literacy test scores, students in rural China have higher illiteracy rates, due in part to lack of access to quality education. As a result, these students often have little opportunity once they reach adulthood. Insufficient facilities and equipment are a major contributor to this issue. In fact, a survey conducted over a period of two years found that in rural areas, 80% of libraries do not meet national standards for education. Supporting and upgrading rural schools is one way to ensure that all students receive the quality education they deserve.
Fundraising for this project was a huge success, thanks to our global network of NGOs, individual donors, and business partners. This year, PaperSeed was chosen to benefit from the Hawkins Wright & Brian McClay & Associates Shanghai Symposium. Hawkins Wright and Brian McClay & Associates made donations on behalf of all symposium attendees, and gave us a platform to share information and raise additional funds, for which we are extremely grateful. Additionally, CellMark agreed to match Hawkins Wright's donation. All proceeds from our fundraising efforts at the Shanghai Symposium are going directly to this project; subscribe to our newsletter for updates!