Project Hope has enabled more than 100,000 dropouts to return to school in southwest China's Guizhou Province since the project was initiated in the province in 1990, according to the province's youth and children's foundation.
Deng Shoucheng, secretary general of the foundation, said that the province has received approximately 200 million yuan (US$24.18 million) in donations since 1990, allowing it to build 1,000 Project Hope schools.
The province has also used the donations to train more than 500teachers, establish libraries for more than 300 primary schools in rural areas and equip 438 primary schools in rural areas with computers, TV sets and audio-visual equipment, provided by Project Hope.
China launched Project Hope on October 30, 1989 to pool donations to help impoverished rural school children to complete primary school education. Since its inauguration, Project Hope has received more than 2.2 billion yuan (approximately US$265 million) in donations from domestic and overseas sources including individuals, government organizations and major transnational corporations. By November 2004, 2.6 million needy students in China had benefited from the project.
China faces serious challenges in providing universal education to its population of 1.3 billion and particularly to its rural population despite steady progress made in this field over the past years.
In some 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 drop out of school to help support their families.
There are still 200,000 children dropping out of school due to financial difficulties in Guizhou each year.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2005)