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Providing food for thought in China's rural schools

By Liu Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-08 07:56

Providing food for thought in China's rural schools

Children are enjoying their free lunch at Shaba Primary School of Qianxi County, Guizhou Province in 2011. [Photo by Zhao Junxia for China Daily]

Online donations begin to dominate

From 2011, the year it was established, to December, the Free Lunch for Children Foundation raised 253 million yuan ($37 million). It has spent 169 million yuan to provide meals for 190,000 children in China's rural areas, in addition to funding infrastructure developments and resources.

Last year, the foundation raised 75.72 million yuan, achieving its target, and spent 59 million yuan on charitable activities.

Donations from banks accounted for roughly 30 percent of the total, with 69 percent of online donations coming via Ant Financial Services, the Tencent Charity Fund and Tmall Charity Shops, indicating that online donations have started to dominate the sector.

E-commerce platforms, such as Tmall and Taobao, have developed an effective model of cooperation between commerce and charities. Last year, e-commerce platforms raised 14.3 million yuan, accounting for 19 percent of the total.

In the past six years, the foundation has spent nearly 19 million yuan in Xinhuang county, Hunan province, according to Deng Fei, the founder.

"The reason we have invested tens of millions of yuan is not a reflection of wealth or capability, but of a growing awareness of the role of charities. People are more willing to care, help others and participate in charitable activities via the mobile internet in terms of money, capability and ideas. We just bring people together and get everybody moving with the tide," he said.

"During the last six years, many people have asked why we persevered with the charity. Our answer is that every child in rural villages deserves fair conditions and opportunities to change their own lives and transcend social class. China's villages can develop sustainably and with dignity."

Jiang Chenglong contributed to this story

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