Kindergartens were once hard to come by in the remote Miao villages of Guzhang County, Hunan Province. Due to its isolated location, rough road conditions, and lack of kindergarten teachers, the county’s kindergarten enrolment rate was under 50 percent.
In 2012, the newly established CICC (China International Capital Corporation Limited) Charity Foundation partnered with the China Development Research Foundation to launch a pilot project aiming to build 70 kindergartens in remote villages enabling children to have easy access to preschool education.
In addition, the CICC Charity Foundation set up a fund to provide continuous training and learning opportunities, as well as resources for volunteer teachers who teach in kindergartens in remote villages.
A decade has since passed. The gross kindergarten enrolment rate in Guzhang has risen to 91.75 percent, the highest rate in Hunan Province. This success story epitomizes the charity foundation’s insistence on having a big vision and focusing on specific social issues.
The China International Capital Corporation Limited was established in 1995 as the first Sino-foreign joint venture investment bank in China. During its early years, employees decided to set up a charity. From having only a few dozen to several hundred members, as the size of the company expanded, the number of employees joining the charity also increased.
Before the charity officially turned into the foundation people know today, it raised money for several causes, from setting up a teacher training fund to disaster relief efforts after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.
In March 2012, based on several years of practice and experience, the foundation was officially established, dedicated to natural disaster relief, education, healthcare in poor areas, and environmental and natural resource protection.
Song Li, chairman of the foundation, said that from doing one education project to building a holistic support system, promoting education equity and breaking inter-generational poverty have always been at the heart of the organization.
Besides building kindergartens in remote villages, the charity foundation and the China Development Research Foundation have also launched the Early Childhood Education in the Villages Project in Hunan, Gansu, and Tibet, with the goal to promote the cognitive, linguistic, and social development of rural children in addition to their wellbeing.
More specifically, in order to promote student wellbeing, the charity foundation cooperated with Joyoung Foundation to promote the standardization of kitchens in rural primary and secondary schools and conduct health and nutrition training for school staff.
In recent years, environmental protection has been given unprecedented attention with the dual carbon goals becoming a national strategy. In this context, the foundation is increasingly focusing on green development, biodiversity education, and working with professional institutions to implement related projects.