Zhang Zongyou, a native of impoverished Jinzhai County in east China's Anhui Province, has been enrolled in Nanjing University to study for a doctorate in classical Chinese literature, thus becoming the first doctoral student sponsored by Project Hope.
In 1990, Zhang was on the verge of dropping out of high school, as his family could no longer afford his tuition fees.
But thanks to Project Hope, Zhang was able to continue his studies, and was enrolled at Fuyang Normal College in Anhui Province in 1992, having been granted a special Project Hope scholarship.
Zhang became Project Hope's first graduate student in 1996, when he was admitted to Nanjing University in east China's Jiangsu Province to pursue a master's degree. At the end of the three-year course, he was offered a teaching position at the university.
Driven by the desire to be a competent teacher, Zhang worked hard to get admission for doctoral studies.
"Project Hope has changed my life, and I will use my knowledge and talent to repay my motherland and society for the care given to me," said Zhang.
Since it was launched in 1989, Project Hope has received over 1. 5 billion yuan (about US$180 million) in donations from domestic and overseas sources. The fund has been used to build over 6,000 primary schools and help 2 million school dropouts in China's rural areas return to school.
China's "Hope Project" is a public welfare project initiated and developed by China Youth Development Foundation from October 1989 which aims to help children of impoverished regions continue their study in primary schools and improve the education environment in these areas. In the over ten years, 1.78 billion yuan donations have been used to construct more than 7000 Hope Primary Schools and helped more than 2 million children back to school.
(People's Daily 09/29/2001)