Project Hope is a social welfare program founded by the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) in October 1989. Its mission is to mobilize nongovernmental financial resources inside and outside of China to provide and improve education in poverty-stricken areas.
In its 15 years of operation, Project Hope has raised more than 2.5 billion yuan (US$302 million) and helped 2.6 million children continue their studies. The project has built more than 11,000 Hope Primary Schools and provided equipment for 13,000 Hope mini-libraries. The program has provided funding for training more than 12,000 village schoolteachers.
About 80 percent of Project Hope's schools and kids are in the nation's less-developed western and central regions. Out of every 100 rural primary schools, 2.5 are Hope Schools.
In the past 15 years, more than 150 Hope Internet Schools have been built to provide distance education to rural teachers and students, and more than 130,000 needy college and middle school students have received Project Hope scholarships.
From 1997 to 1999, the National Statistics Office and the Association of Statistical Estimates conducted a study on the impact of Project Hope. Some 94% of respondents had heard of Project Hope and 64% had contributed in some way. As a result of the enduring efforts of its staff and supporters, Project Hope has become one of the country's best known and most successful social welfare programs.
A frontrunner in China in terms of management and supervision systems, Project Hope was the first charity organization to employ certified public accountants to manage accounts and release audit results every year.
Rapid urbanization makes the education of migrant workers' children one of today's most pressing needs. On January 13, 2004, the Project Hope–Arawana Scholarship Fund for Children of Migrant Workers was set up in Beijing with a contribution of 50 million yuan (US$6.0 million) from Kelly Oils & Grains (China) Co., Ltd. to help these youngsters go to school. Every year from 2004 to 2008, the fund will provide 600–900 yuan (US$72–109) per student to more than 50,000 beneficiaries to help them complete elementary school.
At the same time it set up the Project Hope–Arawana Scholarship Fund, the CYDF also sent out an appeal for contributions from the general public to the Project Hope Sponsorship City Program. As 2004 draws to a close, Project Hope has helped more than 20,000 children of migrant workers in 27 cities.
(China.org.cn by Wang Sining December 23, 2004)