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Plight of Poor Uni Students Rectified
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Shanghai will launch a program this year to provide needy ethnic minority university students with renowned scholars and entrepreneurs for financial subsidy and free counseling services.


Initiated by the Shanghai Committee of the China People's Political Consultative Conference, the "Sunshine Education" program comes in response to a public proposal to help needy students studying in the city.


The first batch of 10 students coming from a poverty-stricken countryside has been chosen. Each will have a personal mentor, who will donate 5,000 yuan (US$644) each year to finance their living and study for the next three years.


Mentors will also sign a letter of commitment promising to provide regular living and career-development counseling services, as well as creating internship opportunities.


"Donations are everywhere," said Zhang Su, office director of the Shanghai Committee of CPPCC's ethnic and religious affairs committee.


"But what we wish to offer is combined financial and intellectual support to secure ethnic minority students a life equal to their local peers."


China is home to 55 ethnic minority groups. Shanghai has more than 10,000 ethnic minority students from nearly 20 ethnic groups studying at universities.


About 80 percent of these students are from poor rural families, according to a report by the Shanghai Ethnic Minorities' Federation.


"Poor family background plus cultural shock in large cities have put heavy psychological pressure on those students, making them always feel inferior to their peers," said Zuo Hong, the federation secretary.


(Shanghai Daily May 11, 2007)

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