Thinking Strategically: An Interview with Duan Tao of the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation

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This interview was conducted by Dr Andreas Fulda ((Dr Andreas Fulda is an academic practitioner with an interest in social change, organisational development and documentary filmmaking. During the past ten years Dr Fulda has helped design and implement three major capacity building initiatives for Chinese CSOs: the Participatory Urban Governance Programme for Migrant Integration (2006-07), the Social Policy Advocacy Coalition for Healthy and Sustainable Communities (2009-11) and the EU-China Civil Society Dialogue Programme on Participatory Public Policy (2011-14). Dr Fulda is also the editor of the book Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovation in the PR China (Palgrave Macmillan, April 2015). Contact:; as part of a research project commissioned by Geneva Global. It is published by China Development Brief and Geneva Global. Geneva Global is an innovative social enterprise that works with clients to maximize the performance of their global philanthropic and social impact initiatives. The interview reflects the independent opinion of the interviewee and does not represent the views of the publishers.

To download the interview as a PDF click here.

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To view the Chinese-language version click here.


Andreas Fulda (AF): The Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation was established in 2008. What kind of societal problems did the founder intend to solve with its establishment? What was the motivation of the founder?

Duan Tao (DT): On 12 May 2008 a big earthquake occurred in Wenchuan, Sichuan province. This earthquake prompted our company, Sino-Ocean Land, to donate more than five million Yuan. At that time our CEO Mr Li Ming considered that apart from donating money Sino-Ocean Land could play an active role in the process of disaster reconstruction. From its initial establishment in 1993 and until 2008, Sino-Ocean Land has simultaneously developed its main business whilst taking on social responsibility for communities and the public. As a very important aspect of social responsibility it has undergone an extensive cycle of learning and understanding of charity and philanthropy. Sporadic donations, paying attention to key issues and a focus on environmental protection have all been part of this stage. Through the accumulation of experiences, regardless whether in the field of human resources or our implementing capability the company’s senior management eventually concluded that it already had a professional, specific and organized philanthropic and charitable arm of the company. Seen in this light the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake thus became a catalyst for the establishment of an independent Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation.

Against the backdrop of these two factors, our boss and company’s senior management reached a mutual understanding to establish an organisation, an entity through which we could ensure the sustainable development of our philanthropy and charity. We thus established a foundation with the Department of Civil Affairs. When deciding on our philanthropic direction we not only considered our longstanding commitment to environmental protection but also decided to get involved in disaster reconstruction. We also considered education a good fit for our foundation. The first reason is that in line with its residential development, Sino-Ocean has accumulated excellent educational resources and we have a strong interest to develop “education- centric” real estate.

Secondly, our boss has always had a dream. Since he used to be an instructor at university, he has often been joking that once he retires he would like to go back to university as a teacher. The third reason is, and this is the most important reason, since the foundation has been established we engaged in disaster mitigation. In this field education is a relatively easy entry point for us, especially as we are a small enterprises funded foundation. Micro philanthropy was the fundamental value when the foundation was established. Since we are not a charitable organisation, our investment can not be too big.

I would like to emphasize that Sino-Ocean considers both education and environmental protection a source of motivation for the future which is directly linked with the issue of social development. We take societal needs as our starting point and pay attention to the fields of education, poverty alleviation and environmental protection.

This is the background to Sino-Ocean Land’s establishment of the foundation and its decision to make environmental protection, poverty alleviation and education key areas of its philanthropic work. Ultimately, when we talk about the core motivation to establish the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation this can be summarized in the words of our CEO Mr Li Ming. He gave us two aspirations or two achievements to aspire to. The first one was that once we establish the foundation to engage in the philanthropic and charitable sector, we hope that through this platform company employees and senior management can participate. Only by ensuring that everyone participates, that everyone participates in activities which are meaningful for society, this way employees can learn about a sense of responsibility and nourish it. Once a sense of responsibility has been nourished, employees thus will respect what the company offers for them, respect customers. In terms of our future reputation in society as well the products we develop the first required achievement by our boss is that we meet the expectation of society and our clients. The second expected achievement is that our philanthropic projects have a positive effect on the people we serve, that they actually yield actual results. We are not doing this to chase fame. One of our aspirations is to ensure that the money we spend, the small investments we make, aren’t squandered.

AF: That is very interesting. When you choose from your philanthropic projects, do you have some specific standards? You just mentioned some of the requirements of your boss towards your work. Do you have any further criterion? When you engage in your internal decision-making process, to what extent do you ask yourself how the Chinese government would see these philanthropic projects? Is this something that has an effect on your decision-making?

DT: The core of the foundation is based on projects which realise their societal and philanthropic objectives. We had the choice to either establish a grant-making foundation (zizhuxing jijinhui) or a self-operating foundation (yunzuoxing jijinhui). The CEO of Sino-Ocean Land stated that the main intention was to educate its staff. The performance of the foundation would be measured against the number of employees and executives participating in this line of work. In order to meet this request, we became a self-operating and not a grant-making foundation. This means that we establish our own projects, which we also implement ourselves. In terms of the projects we fund, they need to come under the declared philanthropic direction of poverty alleviation, education and environmental protection. We focus on whether or not these projects help drive employee engagement and have an impact which leads to more people participating in them.

This basically answers the first question about the selection standards for our projects. As a self-operating foundation our first step was to form projects. The established projects and the fact that the company funds them led us to consider the company background and the areas the company concerns itself with. In terms of its business background, as I a mentioned earlier, Sino-Ocean hopes to include education in real estate. Secondly, we always pay attention to environmental protection. We hope that the products we produce represent the future and include environmentalist concepts. Finally, we hope that our products can have an impact on society and solve or prevent environmental pollution. So what the company pays attention to or where the business needs are informs which areas we will pay attention to and is decisive in terms of the direction of our projects.

Secondly, our choice is also based on research on what the government attaches importance to, this is very important. I should say that it is important to see what kind of policies the government supports, and what kind of societal demands there are. These are things we consider before we design a project, which are the companies’ concerns, and the government’s and society’s needs. In this sense, when it comes to the question of how to design a project, we first need to resolve its general direction.

AF: I am very curious to learn a bit more about self-operating foundations in China. I understand that more than 90% of China’s foundations are currently self-operating and that only few are grant- making. I am sure that you must have had good reasons to choose the self-operating model, but why did you do so? Why would you go for this model? As a matter of fact Chinese society is pluralising, and there are more and more new community-based organisations, civil society organisations which differ in terms of their capabilities. Some foundations are willing to provide small projects to third parties. They then implement these projects. Arguably, foundations can increase their impact this way. Against this backdrop I am curious why you chose the self-operating model?

DT: I think this has something to do with the reason why we set up the foundation. In the past our understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility was very narrow, and comprised of philanthropic and welfare investments. Between 1993 and 2005 our investments were very sporadic. When a big disaster struck we followed the principle of the leader of the company and donated money to some of the bigger foundations, including fundraising foundations. But this did not help the company to accumulate more experiences in this sector, and also did not help with culture change. In 2004/05 we started to incubate. By 2006 we started to operate and develop our own philanthropic trademarks. So we started from the perspective of our trademarks. At that time society also paid attention, for example to the issue of our environmental protection work. Our company also hoped that external forces would give an impetus for changed thinking among our employees. At that time we started to focus our attention on one point. To focus on one point had an impact. This impact had two sources, one was external and the other one was internal change among our staff. From this point onwards everyone’s focus was on environmental protection, influencing our development and construction and marketing for example.

In terms of the external engagement we engaged with old communities which we previously had no relationship with. We did some environmental protection projects where community residents took the lead. We realised that people felt very close and devoted to our company. We have this saying “where water flows, a channel is formed”. These activities were more important than if we had put up a lot of advertisements. At that time we thus realised that philanthropy can be a form of advocacy. This advocacy is about the cohesion of internal and external interests. So when in 2008 the earthquake happened we decided to establish our organisation. This is also why we were not hesitant at all to establish a self-operating foundation, just like our boss requested us to do. He hoped that through an organisation, a platform, more people could do this work and that we would not just give out money. In the past we would donate five million Yuan, ten million Yuan; it added up to quite a lot of money that we donated. But it seemed as if we retained nothing. Later when we started working on our own projects, our employees learned a lot. Externally we also received a high appraisal, even though this was not something we deliberately pursued.

Based on this understanding our senior management considered this option the best solution to allow more people to participate. They considered this to be more effective than to provide funds. Secondly, there has been a trust crisis. When we gave money in the past, and with the exception of the Yushu earthquake, we have painstakingly requested that we get some pictures as feedback or that our name Sino-Ocean Land would be written on the emergency shelter tents. Apart from this we would got very little additional feedback.

AF: When you implement projects on your own, how do you deal with bottlenecks such as access to communities? For example your headquarters is in Beijing but an earthquake happens in remote Sichuan province. So how do you access the communities in the disaster areas? It is quite likely that you are not very familiar with the local conditions in these communities. So are you working with some cooperation partners who help introduce you these community residents?

DT: There are two things related to this. When we launch a project we do so as a self- operating foundation. But that does not mean that we do not collaborate with other cooperation partners. As regards the projects you are referring to, we would definitively realise them with the help of cooperation partners, such as government departments or even organisations such as NGOs, schools, including our own service organisations. We chose those work units, organisations or companies which have a good standing in society. We do not simply give money to an organisation. Instead we are in charge of overall planning and organisation and bringing all of the resources together. The following value guides our work which is “micro philanthropy, everyone participates, sustainability” (wei gongyi, gong canyu, kechixu). These nine Chinese characters are the values of the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation. What we mean by “micro” is that we do not have much money, our projects are not big. But we hope that both internally and externally more and more people will make use of our platform and do more things together. What we want to achieve in the end is to combine various effects to promote sustainable projects, which in turn help us promote the country’s philanthropic sector and make a modest contribution to its development.

AF: When I prepared this interview I realised that particularly in Sichuan many of your project partners are affiliated with the Communist Youth League. I have trained some of their leaders in the past. Would you be at ease to tell me their mobilisation capabilities? Since you have chosen to work with them you must have had your reasons. What are the strengths of the Communist Youth League?

DT: The Communist Youth League’s system is set up in a way that they can enter schools. These schools include universities, middle schools and primary schools. This is one of their key functions or resource strengths. Aside from environmental protection projects we also pay attention and provide support in terms of poverty alleviation and the education of vulnerable groups in old liberation areas, minority areas, frontier areas, and poverty stricken areas (lao shao bian qiong). We hope that in terms of the disproportionate education we can contribute something which is within our grasp. The Communist Youth League’s system has this strength, which is why we hit it off readily. Through referrals of the Communist Youth League we found it relatively easy to link up with their education commission. The education commission would recommend suitable schools which require assistance. We then contact these schools. In that sense the Communist Youth League’s system acts as a bridge.

The Communist Youth League has its own university departments. This means that in the context of our university student project we could establish direct links with their Youth League and student committees. I would like to emphasize that the Communist Youth League Central has been instrumental in supporting the sustainable development of Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation’s university student project over the past few years. They even put our project on the list of Communist Youth League projects for university students. This has bestowed a level of authority and professionalism to the project and school around the country realise that this is a project endorsed by the Communist Youth League and can chose it. This has helped tremendously in the implementation stage.

AF: Do you have a preference of one type of cooperation model over the other? So for example do you prefer to work with one partner or many partners? You just introduced the Communist Youth League, which can be seen as a system (xitong). In terms of your projects do you always use the same cooperation model? Or do you have different cooperation models?

DT: I think if we can find partners like the Communist Youth League system which has this kind of strength, then we can chose to cooperate with one partner. But if we look at all of our projects we do not only follow the single-partner cooperation model. Another available example is the university students social practice project. In this case we work with two partner units. They cooperate as supervisory units. One is the Communist Youth League and their university student office, the other is the Ideological and Political Secretariat of the Ministry of Education. As I just said, with the help of referrals by the Youth League and the education system it is much easier for us to get in touch with schools.

Secondly, in terms of our environmental protection projects we have a big environmental philanthropic project which helps turn old communities green. Here we have been working with the Centre for Environmental Education and Communications at the Ministry of Environment. We also partner with a civil society organisation, the American Environmental Defense Fund. These two are our key partners. The Centre for Environmental Education and Communications has a massive system. They can reach every province, every city. They have their own propaganda and education system and can also access the Departments of Environmental Protection. This way they can publish these projects and let people know that we are planning to do environmental protection rejuvenation work in old communities, so that they can apply for environmental funds. Here the American Environmental Defense Fund steps in. They are always searching for good projects and want to make investments in environmental protection. Once they step in they mostly provide funds, since our foundation does not have these funds. So here we cooperate with two or three partners.

AF: Here you are cooperating with an International NGO which provides funding.

DT: In terms of the American Environmental Defense Fund this is a foundation where the funding comes from American donors. They have chosen to primarily cooperate with the Chinese government, for example with the National Development and Reform Commission or the Ministry of Environmental Protection, in order to start environmental protection projects.

AF: They have also done the Green Commuting project.

DT: That is correct. This is one of their projects. The American Environmental Defense Fund have worked with us and the Centre for Environmental Education and Communications at the Ministry of Environment on two projects. One is called “Cool China”; the other one is called “Sino-Ocean Land Community Environmental Protection Philanthropy Award”. In the past two years we have mostly worked through the system of the Centre for Environmental Education and Communications and reached out to more than one hundred communities in seventeen provinces and promoted environmental protection awareness and community environmental protection projects.

AF: Does your foundation have an organisational view of Chinese civil society? If yes, how would you describe it? If not, who is framing the discourse about China’s civil society in your foundation and how?

DT: This concept is quite big, so I am not sure I understand it correctly. From the perspective of the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation it means that Sino-Ocean Land is willing to take over its corporate social responsibility, for which its philanthropic and charity arm is its most important platform. Of course Sino-Ocean Land is also making a small contribution to the sustainable development of society through this organisation and by communicating with all sorts of stakeholders and enabling more cooperation. So why would we do this? This is because we believe that, just like as every person has the rights and responsibilities of a citizen, a corporation is also a legal person. As a person, we also need to take over our social responsibility. Especially as a public company, as a listed company, to a very large degree investors assess the company not on its short-term returns, but they want to see whether or not it has a long-term plan. They want to see that it has development potential. I think that when such a company achieves its economical returns it will also hope to balance this with societal and environmental returns. This is why we can expect a legal person to take over responsibilities just like a citizen.

AF: When you think of Sino-Ocean Land and the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation, what kind of changes are you expecting in the next five to ten years? Chinese society is in transition, so I would expect that when we meet again in five to ten years, there will have been changes to the way you run your projects. I also expect more changes to occur in Chinese society. What kind of development trends do you anticipate?

DT: I think that the foundation will stay connected to the demands of the company. Sino-Ocean Land does not have huge demands for its foundation, but it will hope that it can do things in a stable and sustainable way. Therefore I expect that based on our current projects that they will increase in quantity and quality. Every year we will continue to provide help to children and look at the regional coverage, performance and requirements of the program. In terms of the quantity of poor people served there will also be demands, just like we will have more demands in terms of finances. So when we meet again in three years and we have another conversation, I am sure that there will be obvious changes.

Secondly, we are also taking stock of the situation and reflecting on our own development. Last year, when our foundation was established for five years, we came up with a three year development plan which was not too ambitious. But at least we have been thinking, and this plan has allowed us to clarify the relationship between the foundation and the company Sino-Ocean Land. The foundation is an entity and we are doing things for society and for philanthropy. So in case we meet again we are likely to be clearer on this and more independent. In terms of independence the only thing that we lack in terms of independence is that all of our employees are working part-time. The fact that our staff only work part time is indicative of our approach of “one troop and two brands”. There are colleagues which are both responsible for the Corporate Social Responsibility Centre of the strategy department of Sino-Ocean Land and also deal with the foundation’s finance, administration, as well as communication. So we rely to a large extent on different people who work part-time. In the future we may have more specialised full-time staff working for the foundation. So this is the only aspect of the foundation which is not fully independent, since in all other aspects we operate independently.

Last year we also had time to reflect on our business direction. We realised that in the past poverty alleviation and education was essential to our work. Through our analysis we realised that the foundation’s mission was to work for society and philanthropy and that deep education (shenggeng jiaoyu) is at the heart of what we do. When we incorporated environmental protection, we considered this being part of our corporate social responsibility. But in recent years we have gradually come to pay attention to the issue of an ageing society. While we are paying attention to the issue, we do not yet have the man-power, capacity or funds to do something in this field. But we have now come up with a mission statement, which states that “deep learning lets young people grow” (深耕教育,让少有所长). I think that it includes two meanings. When we help children grow up we hope that they will master a special skill which will make it more likely that they will develop even better. We have also deliberately added a sentence to our mission statement which states “A secure old age” (老有所依), which means that in terms of our foundations future direction we will get involved in this field. This is because China’s ageing society has already become a big societal problem. We also have a business field which is related to this issue, which has been operational for three, four years. In places such as Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian we have launched the Chunxuan Mao (椿萱茂) brand related to an ageing society, this has just started. This is why I think that in three to five years we will have started a couple of philanthropic projects in the field of ageing society. It is also possible that some of the core projects on education may have developed into even stronger brands.

AF: You just mentioned that most of your foundation’s staff work part- time. Is this something unique to the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation? Or are other Chinese foundations also using this model?

DT: I think that foundations that have been established by companies may follow this model, but those are not too many. There are also fully independent company foundations. Their staff is completely independent and has been externally recruited through the board of directors.

AF: In the following I would like to ask you a question about change processes. What conclusions do you draw when you realise that the anticipated change has not been achieved by the philanthropic projects supported by your organisation?

DT: This is an excellent question. The Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation has now been developing for six years. One of the things we thought most about last year was the question whether or not our projects have been effective. The way we see this is similar to what you said before. We are very far from the poverty areas and may not have the best understanding of the local situation. But we can’t increase our budget and investments even more. This is why we put our trust in local governments and schools to complete our projects. But in the end there does not exist a particularly good method to assess the results. Let me give you the example of one of our core philanthropic projects in the field of education, which is called the “Small Partner Growth Plan”. What do we do in the “Small Partner Growth Plan”? Through referrals from the Communist Youth League Committee we got directly in touch with the children of very poor families. Once we established our relationship with them, we provided them with grants. These grants are for the state’s compulsory education from grade one until nine. But for some children their life conditions may be very difficult, as their families do not have income, or only very little income. In such cases we would also provide an appropriate learning subsidy. Some other children manage to get into middle school or gain entry to university, but since they do not have any money, they can not go to high school or study at university. We hope we can give them additional scholarships for support, so that they finish their education and enter society.

In addition, we also realised that in many of our “Small Partner Growth Plan” projects the school children are from minority areas. In these rural places of China, the schools of minorities to a certain degree reflect the old liberation areas, minority areas, frontier areas, and poverty stricken areas (lao shao bian qiong). The key is that these minority areas have their own conditions. They have their own skills, for example folk songs, mountain dance, or music. But they often face the problem that old people who possess these skills are passing away and thus can not pass these skills to the next generation. Secondly, to a certain extent they may lack funds, and both schools and students may lack the motivation to learn. So in addition to grants and scholarships we also provide “Traditional Culture Training”. We help schools to invite teachers to teach students these traditions, which helps with the preservation and inheritance of traditional culture. Such trainings also build up comprehensive skills of the children and help them gain specific skills. All of this helps students to have hope for a better tomorrow where they have better conditions and more space.

But do we achieve our goals? On the one hand time has been limited and and only time will tell. Also, do we have a way to monitor the development of the children? These are all question marks. This is why this year we have changed some of our ways. We have started to rationalise and perfect our project design and rely on more channels and more assistance. On the one hand we have started to support some local NGOs. On the other hand we have enlisted and supported volunteer actions twice. In addition, we have created synergies between existing projects and participated in the “University Student Social Practice Award” teaching team. Through these channels we hope that this will help us control the implementation process of projects better. These efforts represent our ability to examine, interview and help us evaluate whether or not projects have achieved their objectives. This can also help us overcome the problem of high costs of monitoring of remote projects.

AF: What do you consider realistic outreach goals for philanthropic projects funded by your organisation? If these goals are set too high, you may not be able to achieve them. If they are set too low, you will not have any impact. How do you set appropriate development goals?

DT: Setting goals is not easy. But when we set an objective, this should not be considered a scientific process. But on the basis of trust we can provide help. For example in one year provide study grants to one school. We usually run such a project for three years. During each year we can help with the living and study costs of twenty children. As long as the school can provide the information to us that these families are on low-income and thus meet our conditions and standards we will provide support. In the future we need to think more about the following: We really hope that these children can complete their education. So we need to make sure that a child can complete the nine year compulsory education. We also think a child can go even further. So if a child has already left school for some reason, we should make sure that he or she gets back in. This is why we will continuously support these small projects, projects which are part of the “Small Partner Growth Plan”. A sub-project is called the “Care Fund” which is aimed at underprivileged children of migrant workers. While these children do not belong to the category of old liberation areas, minority areas, frontier areas, and poverty stricken areas, they may have dropped out of school because of illness or because their family conditions were very bad. It is our objective to enable these children to go back to school and to make sure that during their education process the foundation is fully engaged. This is what we have to do. We have just implemented a “Care Fund” project. At Beishida there is a child, who had nasopharynx cancer. This child lacked funds and thus could not go back to school. We asked our Sino-Ocean employees to raise money for charity and managed to provide a subsidy for the last treatment cost, which was quite high. All of this is happening on the individual level, one by one. He has now returned to school and since he has a particular skill he will be able to solve the problem of employment. This is an example of a very small objective.

AF: Finally I would like to ask you about the issue of sustainability of philanthropic projects. For example you support a middle school student who then manages to complete the nine years of compulsory education. But then as you said for some reason the student can not go on to study at high school. So the problem may be that you have no means to monitor the progress of your grantees. This could impact the sustainability of your philanthropic projects.

DT: We look at this issue from an organisational perspective. Of course we need to consider the problem of sustainability. This is why in terms of our values we have set the bar high, which is “small philanthropy, everyone participates, sustainability”. This ensures that as an organisation we are aiming in this direction. Secondly, from a strategic perspective we are “one troop and two brands”, meaning that we are part of the Social Responsibility Operations Center in the Strategy Division. This enables us to run these projects as part of the whole company. For the foundation this is a great support, since we can announce some systems and issue some requirements through the CSR Center of the Strategy Division. This helps us to secure funding for our foundation, the support from employees, and support for all sorts of projects. I guess this is a special characteristic of Sino-Ocean Land. My third point relates to one of the slogans of our company, which is that to be a reliable partner is one of our core values. Here our foundation serves as a platform that engages with the outside world and offers a bridge for employee participation. In many of our activities we even include our clients, which enables us to live up to our commitment of being a reliable partner. To a certain extent this also helps us with the sustainability issue of our philanthropic projects, as everyone can participate. What is at the heart of this issue is that we need to pay more attention to the issue of sustainability in our project design.

So for example, in the case of our effort to promote deep learning, our “Small Partner Growth Plan” is key. But the “Small Partner Growth Plan” also needs additional support in order to be able to be in control of the process and in order to be able to evaluate its effectiveness. This is why we have linked up the “Small Partner Growth Plan” with the two other initiatives “University Student Social Practice Award” and the “Gardener Award”. How did we do this? The “University Student Social Practice Award” not only helps students to increase their social practice skills. But through their volunteerism we also learn about schools which need help. Every year we increase our understanding of schools in need and students have become a key source of information. To a large extent they lead us to the schools. They also help us conduct visits and do research. Student volunteers also help us understand how effective the “Small Partner Growth Plan” is. They help us obtain information.

From the “Gardener Award” we learned that it really depends on the teacher how far children can go in the future. This is why we would like to provide more support for teachers in rural China. To be perfectly honest with you, the “Gardener Award” is the weakest project among the three. What we are planning to do is two things. First, we would like to invite some schools in Beijing and other places which are partnering with Sino-Ocean Land. There are many cooperating schools which are using the label of Sino-Ocean Land. We hope that together with us they can establish hand-in-hand relationships with schools in old liberation areas, minority areas, frontier areas, and poverty-stricken areas. The idea is that they learn from each other. We are already working on this. A school in Hebei has established very close relationships with the Jingshan Sino-Ocean School in Beijing. Their teachers can attend open lectures here in Beijing, and the teachers here let them attend class. Secondly we have already started developing some teaching plans. Last year we did some experimentation, and invited the principals, teachers and administrative staff of migrant worker schools. We collaborated with Beishida and developed some teaching materials for them. After they learned about it we hope that this kind of curriculum, if it is suitable, can be taken to schools in the old liberation areas, minority areas, frontier areas, and poverty stricken areas. Thirdly, we of course hope that we can support some teachers in rural parts of the country and provide them with financial support. This is what we are planning to achieve next.

As you can see, these two projects nurture and support. The “Small Partner Growth Plan” serves as an interlocking mechanism and ensures their sustainability. As I said before, the core project is the “Small Partner Growth Plan” with its sub-grants for children from grade one until nine. The second project which we prepared last year will start this year, which is a scholarship which is primarily aimed at children which have previously been receiving study grants. Some of them may have been unable to continue their higher education since they could not afford the fees, so we are planning to support them. Among these children there are individuals which due to our support have been able to enter society and find jobs or been able to look after themselves. By acquiring new knowledge or skills they have changed their own fate. This not only reflects the better future of these children but is also a best indicator of the foundation’s project performance.


In Brief

An Interview with Duan Tao, Secretary General of the Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation, as part of the “Thinking Strategically about Civil Society Assistance in China” project
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