Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. - Chinese Proverb
What we do
Traditional Yi gender roles are strongly enforced in remote mountain communities of the Liangshan.Here, life is harsh and difficult choices must be made.
Culturally, girls are discriminated against and hold very little value in a society that chooses to invest its future in its sons. Girls are often given away at an early age in a marriage arranged between male clan members, and once married the young wife belongs to her husband’s family.
Reluctantly and with great suspicion, cultural, social and gender barriers are slowly changing. Village elders are now being encouraged to allow girls to attend school, but often this only happens for a few short years. There is a marked imbalance between the number of boys and girls still at school in primary grade six. By this time, many of the girls have been removed because they are expected to work in the fields, look after animals, help in the home or care for younger siblings.
Many of these girls are academically able and given the opportunity would create a brighter future for themselves and their family.
In 2003, the Foundation established a Sponsorship Programme. This programme allows an individual to sponsor children from particularly poor or deprived communities thereby providing the funds needed for the child to remain at school and to progress to University or Technical College.
Through education the children develop new skills which enable them to make decisions that can influence community change, especially in the key areas of education, health, finances and the legal status of women. We believe that the welfare of each child we sponsor is of paramount importance. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring the health, social, psychological and academic well being of all the children it sponsors. It therefore, not only provides the children with funding for education but also provides the children, and in some instances their families, with medical support and other financial assistance.
However due to the global economic downturn, many of our individual sponsors found that they were unable to continue their one on one sponsorship. In response we established the Josephine Charles Foundation Scholarship Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to enable the Foundation to continue assisting these children even though their sponsors are unable to do so. Through the Fund the Foundation will also have the means to help other disadvantaged girls of the Liangshan to receive an education.
The Josephine Charles Foundation Scholarship Fund provides:
- school fees
- medical and dental care
- personal necessities
- travel to and from school for holidays and other breaks
- provide a computer for children entering University
Girls like Abigail can achieve so much with your support
Abigail’s mother died when she was very young. Her father remarried a younger woman, who was immature, uninterested in the welfare of his children and financially very demanding. Abigail’s father became involved in illegal drug dealing to fund his new wife and was arrested and imprisoned. His new wife wanted Abigail and her younger brother to leave school to work to support her. She also resented Abigail and her siblings so beat them regularly, resulting in injury to the children. This horrified the community which took action and drove her out of the village.
With the support and care of the Foundation Abigail will now be able to remain in school and complete her education in a safe environment.
What you can do
Help us give a girl the gift of an education.
To help a girl go to Primary school for one year costs:
RMB ¥4,000 a year
To help a girl go to Junior Middle school for one year costs:
RMB ¥4,000 a year
To help a girl go to Senior Middle school for one year costs:
RMB ¥5,000 a year
When our girls become University students, the costs for a years’ tuition depends on the University and location. We calculate the costs to be from RMB ¥8,000 to RMB ¥15,000 a year.
In our care we hope all our children have the opportunity to go to University or College. We are proud of each and every one of our girls’ achievements. The Josephine Charles Foundation will support and encourage them along the path they choose to take.
The pictures of some of our scholarship fund girls
Please Note: From small beginnings we have endeavored to keep our Foundation as personal as possible. We have encouraged personal sponsorship for each child and continue to this up until the present. Over time we have learnt through personal experience that culturally some of the children might feel uncomfortable with this arrangement while others thrive. Being sensitive to the needs of the children and sponsors, we have decided that from 2010 we will not continue offering individual sponsorships, preferring instead to support any new children we care for through our Scholarship Fund. We will continue to post regular updates on our website and send these to our Donors to share the stories, dramas and successes of our children as they learn and grow.