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IBM helps students get a life
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A pioneering program was launched to help needy students yesterday by East China Normal University and IBM.

But this goes further than giving them money - it aims to help them develop self-confidence, responsibility, and learn practical skills such as foreign languages, team work, and how to find a job.

About 80 volunteers from IBM will help 185 needy students through Mentorplace, a Website developed by the company with the cooperation of the Shanghai Charity Foundation.

Free training will be given and the company will also provide internships.

Senior IBM managers will visit the students to tell their own stories, to encourage them to be more confident.

Yuan Cai, deputy chairman of the foundation, said traditional aid for needy students helped them pay for their courses and some necessities. However, their development as people was somewhat neglected.

"They need more care for their soul, to help them overcome their sense of inferiority, construct self-confidence, and build up responsibility to repay society," he said.

Yuan said the foundation will review the scheme in January and encourage more schools, colleges and companies to address the wider needs of students.

According to the university's survey of 94 needy students from October 11 to 20, most said they wanted more humanistic care than economic aid. About 69 percent said they'd rather choose humanistic care than material aid.

Students hope to get internship opportunities and learn more practical skills.

(Shanghai Daily October 31, 2007)

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