Looking back, China has created a miracle by lifting more than 700 million people out of extreme poverty in the past four decades. This is in large-part, due to the country’s rapid educational improvement. According to preliminary statistics released by the Ministry of Education, China spent nearly 675.3 billion on education in 2017, registering an annual increase of 9.43 percent from the past year. China is determined about putting a high premium on making education easily accessible in poverty-stricken areas. There is, however, still a vast area that remains less covered by government subsidies and thereby, nongovernmental efforts are urgently needed to fill in these gaps.
In 2013, FutureChina was founded by a group of like-minded youths from top universities in China. The organization aimed to alleviate the imbalance in the country’s educational resources, and to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations set in the 2030 Agenda. In 2018, its founder, Jonathan Zhong, initiated the integration of four education-related organizations to form FutureChina Organization. They are gradually gathering strengths and expanding its magnitude by seeking government support as well as cooperation with more youth development organizations, forming joint efforts to improve the country’s educational status quo.
Jonathan Zhong, President of FutureChina Organization
Photo from Zhong
The Driving Force
Initially, the idea of founding a non-profit organization was born when Zhong went to Wu Zhongliang High School in Sichuan Province as a visiting student. There, he was shocked by the regional disparity of educational resources among high schools. He then probed into the root cause of this imbalanced education resources.
“As I realized that such phenomenon was only a tip of the iceberg, I was increasingly worried about the Matthew Effect which would engender a vicious cycle: making the poor poorer and the rich richer,” Zhong said.
Determined to make a change, Jonathan organized volunteer teaching groups and released a publication called Here We Set Off along with other top students in the country. They aimed to motivate high school students by displaying myriads of outstanding students’ life stories. With the profit from the publication and the donations from social institutions, FutureChina was officially established.
What makes FutureChina unique is that it is empowered by youths while it is empowering the youths. Run by a group of top students in China, FutureChina is more than close to first-class education resources and strives to leverage such resources to benefit those who don’t have access to it. Through unique educational mode and core projects, FutureChina is dedicating to shape not solely top students but well-rounded youths with a series of in-class and extracurricular activities as well as training.
FutureChina is offering a comprehensive educational system including free online classes, developmental summer and winter camps, online lectures, and one-to-one counseling.
Non-profit Developmental Camp
It’s free online classes have already been implemented at Yanbian Middle School in Yanbian county where half of the population live below the poverty line. In September, 2018, the program introduced Remote Synchronous Learning (RSL) technology into the school. It provided students in Yanbian with the same high-quality education from the best school in Sichuan, Chengdu No.7 High School.
FutureChina also pays close attention to the well-rounded development of students. Its free development camp is hosted every February and August since 2017. Through developmental camps, exchange programs and lectures, the camp provides participants with opportunities to have in-depth interaction with top students and topnotch professionals from different fields to offer them guidance in assessing themselves as well as in selecting their future schools and careers.
At present, FutureChina has helped more than 100 students in depth, influenced 3000 student families, and benefited 80,000 students in southwestern China with its high-quality educational resources.
Non-profit Class in Yanbian Middle School
What sets them apart from other education NGOs is their effort to introduce students from impoverished regions to a larger world. Recently, four outstanding campers from the development camp stepped onto the stage of United Nations with the FutureChina delegation, which provided them the opportunity to make their voices heard in the international arena at the Youth Assembly held in New York.
Additionally, FutureChina’s endeavors in alleviating uneven distribution of education resources have received popular recognition from the media. Combined with social capital and a non-profit operation model, FutureChina aims to keep improving and expanding its core projects, striving to provide the best quality education to those in poverty-stricken areas.
Incorporation and Partnership
With a mutual belief in the promotion of youth development and youth empowerment, FutureChina has formed long-term partnerships with three other esteemed organizations. At present, it has developed into FutureChina Organization, incorporating FutureChina with Starry Night, Tsinghua University ICA, and APEC Youth Innovation Forum Organizing Committee into one integrated organization. These organizations are yielding outstanding achievement in their own respective fields in educational poverty alleviation, minority cultural preservation, international educational support, and youth development. By gathering growing strengths, FutureChina Organization can provide better public service for the education sector.
Strategic Cooperation with the Government
In 2018, along with the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference members, FutureChina Organization jointly submitted motions seeking for governmental support to further their quest to improve China’s imbalanced education.
On July 4, 2018, FutureChina Organization was recognized by the Sichuan Education Department which led to a 3-year strategic cooperation that facilitated governmental financial support to the organization.
In the coming year, FutureChina Organization will continue to seek for long-term and sustainable partnerships with other esteemed organizations, companies, social institutions, and the government and expand its magnitude in providing non-profit educational service.
They are grateful for the financial support from individuals, companies, and government, which has laid a solid foundation for the development of the organization and more significantly, enabled them to promote impoverished youths in China to march towards better education and a larger world.
“We are shaping and will continue to shape FutureChina Organization into a key driver and catalyst to promote youth development and youth empowerment, constantly contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations set in the 2030 Agenda,” Zhong said.
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