The CPA Canada Beijing chapter set up an annual donation target of CNY60,000 (approx. $11,260), which allowed it to open a Spring Bud Class under the CPA Canada name. Over the years, the chapter has funded 450 girls in poverty-stricken families to help them continue their studies. (Image provided)

World | Education

CPA Canada’s Beijing Chapter supports girls’ education in China by lending the Spring Bud Project a helping hand

Thanks to fund-raising efforts, more than CNY60,000 was donated to the program’s ninth class by the Beijing chapter’s members

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Fei Xiao, director of CPA Canada’s Beijing chapter, experienced an emotional moment at the opening ceremony for this year’s CPA Canada Spring Bud Class. On September 15, as she raised the cheque for CPA Canada’s contribution—in the amount of CNY60,000 (approx. $11,260)—along with Flora Qin, secretary of the chapter, she couldn’t help but think about how rewarding it had been to take part in a charity devoted to helping underprivileged girls complete their education. “I felt my heart swell with pride,” she recalls.

Xiao was one of four Beijing chapter board directors, as well as other members and non-members, who attended the ceremony, which is the ninth class that members of CPA Canada’s Beijing chapter have helped raised funds for. The event was held at the Xujiafang Primary School in Xuanhua District, Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, where the classes will take place this year. Teachers, students and officers from the local All-China Women’s Federation, as well as the local education bureau, were also in attendance. 

“‘Spring Bud’ means ‘hope,’” says Simon Feng, former chair of the Beijing chapter’s charity committee, who initiated the event and has participated in every opening ceremony since the beginning. “The purpose of the Spring Bud Program is to help girls in poverty-stricken areas to continue in school or return if they have had to leave. We are grateful to all the generous people who donated—CPAs and non-CPAs alike.” 

Flora Qin and Xiao Fei hold up a poster-sized replica of the cheque representing the CPA Canada Beijing chapter’s contribution to the charity. (Image provided)

The Spring Bud Program was originally created in 1989 by the All-China Women’s Federation and the China Children and Teenagers Fund (CCTF). Owing to a number of factors—natural conditions, an imbalance in socio-economic and cultural development and traditional customs—there are still a small number of illiterate people in China, especially in poor, mountainous areas. And two-thirds of illiterate people are women.

“Today’s girl is the mother of the future,” says Feng. “The quality of the mother’s education affects the quality of the nation as a whole. We must start by helping girls to complete their education.” 

And Lily Tang, chair of CPA Canada’s Beijing chapter, agrees. “With our contribution to the Spring Bud Program, I trust the girls living in poverty today will become part of the power that can help improve their hometowns in the future,” she added. To date, the Spring Bud Program has funded more than 2.8 million girls, contributed financially to building 1,402 Spring Bud schools and provided practical training to more than 529,000 girls. 

Nine girls act as representatives for the 50 underprivileged girls sponsored by the program. (Image provided)

CPA Canada members started to participate in and donate to the program in 2000. From 2009 to 2015, the Beijing chapter worked closely with CCTF to introduce the program to members, and set up an annual donation target of CNY60,000 (approx. $11,260), which allowed it to open a Spring Bud Class under the CPA Canada name. Over the years, the chapter has funded 450 girls in poverty-stricken families to help them continue their studies. At the end of the ceremony, members of the Beijing chapter visited the families of four underprivileged girls and brought them necessities such as rice and cooking oil. 

Tang is one of those who have visited the girls’ homes in previous years. “I recall the first time we did this, we were in shock: we had never imagined there were still people in China living in such poverty. A few years later, I saw those girls after they had graduated from elementary school, and at the ceremony, they all looked happier and much more confident than they were when we first met. I have always believed education can change a person’s life, and well-educated people will change society.”


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