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Project Hope Models in Beijing

Three former Project Hope image ambassadors gathered in the program's Beijing headquarters on Saturday and spoke of their own success stories to underline its accomplishments in helping children from poor families to access education.

The three's images, taken by then China Youth Daily photographer Xie Hailong in 1991, touched the hearts of many, helping raise the profile of the project and ensure it overwhelming support.

Su Mingjuan, who had been nicknamed "Ms Big Eyes," has finished college and now works at a bank in east China's Anhui Province.

Hu Shanhui enrolled in the army. In his poster picture, he was captured shouting out Chinese characters. The image was interpreted as an earnest desire to attend school. As he had a runny nose in the picture, people named him "Long Snivel."

Zhang Tianyi, currently at college in the eastern province of Jiangsu, is the youngest of the three. In his picture, his head was shaved clean. Although he was only about seven at the time, his eyes told of a fascination with study that made him hard to forget.

In the capital to appear in a China Central Television program, they said it was very exciting entering the office and that it was like returning home, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

Project Hope was founded by the China Youth Development Foundation in October 1989 to mobilize nongovernmental financial resources inside and outside of China to provide and improve education in poverty-stricken areas.

By the end of 2004, it was reported to have helped 2.75 million students, opened 11,888 primary schools, and pooled funds from home and abroad of 2.73 billion yuan (US$330 million).

(China Daily May 23, 2005)

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