Fund Aids Girls Who Are Dropouts

China’s educational child welfare services, especially for girls, have improved remarkably since the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund was established in 1981.

The Spring Bud Program, a plan of the foundation designed to help those who cannot afford school, has collected funds of more than 300 million yuan (US$36 million) since 1989 from home and abroad, and helped 1.1 million school age girls by the end of last year, according to Vice-President of the All-China Women’s Federation Gu Xiulian.

Gu released the information at a weekend gathering marking the 20th anniversary on Saturday of the fund, China’s first public welfare fund.

To thank efforts from the society to help children from poor families, more than 370 working units and personnel were rewarded at the gathering, including dozens from overseas.

As two-thirds of school dropouts are girls, the fund not only has opened special classes for girls, but also has trained and offered them practical skills to help them find work later.

“This has effectively promoted regional economic development and given more chances to girls in rural areas,” Gu said.

“The plan has changed my fate,” said Lan Tianying, a graduate in 1993 from the “girl class" in Rongshui County, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Using the knowledge learned from the class, Lan raised sheep, grew Chinese gooseberries and other plants, and soon became wealthy.

“I also pass on the technology to my villagers,” she said with pride.

Another program, the Ankang Plan, which helps prevent crimes, illnesses and injuries in children, was also started last year, said Cheng Shuqin, an official from the fund.

(China Daily 07/30/2001)

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