Thousands of school dropouts in western China are likely to back to school soon with donations worth millions of dollars from a charity program named "China Children's Charity Day".
The program, jointly initiated by the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) and China Charity Federation (CCF) have collected donations of 130 million yuan (US$15.1 million) and materials worth 43 million yuan (US$5 million) for the school dropouts by its conclusion in Beijing Saturday.
89.6 million yuan (US$10.4 million) and materials worth 41.3 million yuan (US$4.8 million) will be used to promote elementary education in the poor areas in western China and help the dropouts in the west and the children of laid-off workers in some cities, announced the organizer at a ceremony held for donors throughout the country.
In addition, the organizer said that in accordance to some donors' requests, part of the donations will be used specifically for the other charity projects related to children, like the "
Smiling Project", a charity program to help children with cleft palate, which will get donations of 1.1 million yuan (US$127,907).
Chinese governments at various levels attach great importance to education, said State Councilor Wu Yi, who attended the ceremony, adding that from 1995 to 2000, a total of 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) was invested to improve the compulsory education in the poor areas.
Chinese central government will continue to invest 5 billion yuan (US$582 million) plus 2.25 billion yuan (US$262 million) from local governments to the educational
projects in China central and western areas, said Wu Yi, who is also director of the Women and Children Work Committee of the State Council.
There is no doubt that the "China Children's Charity Day" will play a positive role in improving educational status and overall social progress of China, she added.
Roughly about 100 million people of all walks of life in China as well as foreign friends had taken part in the program in the past five months, according to the organizer.
According to the CCTF, there are about 2 million dropouts in China. The organizer said that the program will be carried out annually in the future to help those dropouts back to school earlier.
(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2002)