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Project Hope Helps 2.9 Mln Children Return to School
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About 2.9 million Chinese school leavers have returned to class in the past 17 years with the help of a national program to help poor children in rural areas to continue their education.


Project Hope has set up 12,559 primary schools in the countryside since it opened its first in 1989 in east China's Anhui Province, said Gu Lan, an official with the fellowship center of the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF).


The CYDF launched Project Hope in 1989 to pool donations to help impoverished rural children to complete primary school education. Since its inauguration, Project Hope has received more than three billion yuan (US$3.75 billion) in donations.


The program also helps train teachers in rural areas, establish libraries for Project Hope primary schools and equip schools with computers, televisions and audio-visual equipment.


China faces serious challenges in providing universal education to its population of 1.3 billion and particularly to its rural population, despite steady progress in recent years.


In outlying mountain regions and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, many children of needy families still cannot afford to go to school, and every year about one million pupils leave school to help support their families.


Project Hope has played an active role in promoting elementary education in China's rural areas, especially in economically-backward rural areas, said Gu.


(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2006)

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