Education is one of the keys to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, and so Enfants du Ningxia has set up a program with the aim of allocating scholarships to the poorest families in the county of Tongxin, thus allowing these children to complete their studies.
SCHOOL FEES TOO HIGH FOR FAMILIES TO AFFORD
Primary and middle school education have been free in China since 2005. However, other costs are still too high for many families in Ningxia: accommodation, food, school supplies etc. Then, when a child reaches high school age, their families have to pay on average 1,400 RMB a year in addition to the extra costs mentioned above, whose prices have increased in the past few years. Financing higher education is effectively impossible for some families, given that one year’s university fees are 6,000 RMB – the average annual income of a worker in Tongxin.
SUPPORT A CHILD TO SUPPORT THEIR EDUCATION
- Encouraging girls to go to school
- Supporting a child throughout their education
Every child receiving help from Enfants du Ningxia will continue to do so until they complete their studies. 95 students are currently receiving scholarships from our association. Data shows that we are faithful to our principles:
SCHOLARSHIP: HOW DOES IT WORK?
We work in collaboration with local educational bodies, who are an unparalled source of information, both on the current situation in the villages and on the decisions of the Office of Education. To ensure that our work is sustainable, we always work in partnership with local officials. In order to establish an equitable system of distribution, we created specific criteria, with the help of the villagers, by which scholarships are allocated.
The selection process:
- Fill out an application form detailing the candidate’s economic and familial situation, as well as their formal educational history.
- Selection in accordance with our pre-established criteria
- Meeting with the candidate and their family before a definite approval is given
Payment of scholarships:
- Payment is made according to a precise schedule: University scholarships are annual scholarships, thus paid in September. Other scholarships are biannual, and therefore paid in September and after the Chinese New Year.
- Scholarships are transferred directly to the students’ bank accounts, which are all with the same bank as our association’s.
Follow up of the scholars:
- Scholars must send Enfants du Ningxia copies of their educational documents (student ID, school fees’ statement etc.) at the start of every school year. They must also write a letter to the association once every six months.
- The coordinator for Enfants du Ningxia in China pays every scholar a visit once a year in order to assess the impact of the association’s support and to note any possible changes in the family’s situation.
ESCAPING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY THROUGH EDUCATION
Once their school fees are taken care of by the association, our scholars don’t need to waste any time or energy worrying about money and can concentrate fully on their studies. As a result, some of them have been accepted into the best universities in the country. Still, as the standard of education in Ningxia is somewhat lower than that of the big cities, we also support students studying in perhaps less prestigious institutions.
Overall, we have helped 245 young people from Ningxia through this program. 34 of our scholars have already graduated. Two examples of the success of our scholarships are Yan Xia, the first scholar of the association, who is now teaching in a secondary school in Tongxin and that of Zhou Hai who graduated to become a judge so early that he was too young totake up a post.
In June 2012, we will have 18 students graduating!