Unique ef­fort to help the poor and spe­cial needs kids

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By ZHANG LEI zhanglei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China to­day has about 55 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in de­prived ar­eas in the coun­try’s re­mote moun­tain­ous ar­eas, be­sides tens of mil­lions of fam­i­lies who strug­gle to care for chil­dren with spe­cial needs.

The num­bers who need help prompted the China Soong Ching Ling Foun­da­tion to work with cloth­ing brand Uniqlo to set up a spe­cial project to help with poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and pro­vide care for spe­cial chi­dren.

The goal is to use the cloth­ing brand’s ex­pe­ri­ence and re­sources to help these peo­ple. To­gether, the foun­da­tion and Uniqlo aim in three years to col­lect 5 mil­lion pieces of cloth­ing to help peo­ple in need. To reach its goal, the com­pany is con­tribut­ing 3.88 mil­lion yuan to the project. Be­sides, nearly 500 of its stores na­tion­wide will hold spe­cial pro­grams for these chil­dren, and in­vite them to its shops to boost their so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.

China Daily re­cently spoke to Tang Ji­uhong, the Min­is­ter of Funds at the Soong Ching Ling Foun­da­tion and Fast Re­tail­ing Group Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Uniqlo Greater China CEO Pan Ning.

Clothes ... which you send to poor chil­dren and poor fam­i­lies are not only a form of so­cial com­pas­sion, but ... let them de­velop a yearn­ing to bet­ter them­selves.” Tang Ji­uhong, the Min­is­ter of Funds at the Soong Ching Ling Foun­da­tion

How is poverty al­le­vi­a­tion done through the Soong Ching Ling Foun-

Tang Ji­uhong: Pre­ci­sion poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is a guide­line of the cen­tral government’s poverty al­le­vi­a­tion pro­grams. A char­ity prac­ti­tioner like me, and com­pas­sion­ate in­di­vid­u­als and en­ter­prises want the pol­icy to be im­ple­mented prop­erly. So, we eval­u­ate projects first based on whether the re­cip­i­ents are poverty-stricken. Then, we de­cide whether the project is good for poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, and whether it is ac­ces­si­ble to the in­di­vid­u­als who need help. The char­ity prac­ti­tion­ers’ ul­ti­mate goal can be achieved only if the re­cip­i­ents’ life can be im­proved, ei­ther ide­o­log­i­cally or spir­i­tu­ally.

This time, we are work­ing with Uniqlo to cre­ate a new vi­sion and op­er­a­tional ap­proach for the foun­da­tion’s phil­an­thropic tenets. We hope that by jointly lever­ag­ing some of its so­cial re­sources, we can act as a role model. Some­times, a smile can give re­cip­i­ents strength. In fact, clothes, es­pe­cially beau­ti­ful ones which you send to poor chil­dren and poor fam­i­lies are not only a form of so­cial com­pas­sion, but more im­por­tantly let them de­velop a yearn­ing to bet­ter them­selves. This was not the case in our ear­lier pub­lic-ben­e­fit projects. There­fore, the set­ting up of such a project with Uniqlo helps us de­vote our­selves to pre­ci­sion poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. This fills a blank page in our foun­da­tion, so we at­tach great im­por­tance to it.

Why did your com­pany agree to work with the Soong Ching Ling Foun­da­tion?

Pan Ning: This is mainly be­cause we are like-minded. Both sides, along with many char­i­ta­ble so­cial forces have a com­mon be­lief in the power of pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions and en­ter­prises to pro­mote so­cial devel­op­ment, so that im­proved liv­ing con­di­tions can en­sure a bet­ter fu­ture for so­ci­ety as a whole, es­pe­cially with re­gard to chil­dren and ado­les­cents. Work­ing with the China Soong Ching Ling Foun­da­tion has been ef­fec­tive in set­ting up a plat­form through which these chil­dren can gain con­fi­dence through in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties, which in turn can help con­nect them with the wider com­mu­nity.


UNICEF Wash Pro­gram in Chongqing; cloth­ing do­na­tion pro­gram in Lu­dian, Yun­nan prov­ince.

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