Xu Jianzhong delivers a speech on the contribution made by overseas Chinese and compatriots of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. [Women of China/Zhang Jiamin]
A press conference for an upcoming charity concert called "Beyond Dreams… In Love", to promote awareness of China's physically and mentally challenged children as well as orphans, took place in Beijing on July 24.
Jointly launched by patriotic overseas Chinese, the concert has drawn the support of three foundations and is endorsed by several well-known singers, athletes, actors and actresses from Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao.
Initiating Participants into Charity Cause
Xu Jianzhong, founder and chairperson of the Hong Kong-based UBG Foundation, was present at the press conference and shared his original idea with attendees on launching the campaign.
Xu stated, "The overseas Chinese and compatriots of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan love their motherland so much. Many are willing to devote time to the charity cause."
Helping vulnerable groups was regarded as a way to express their patriotism and affection towards the nation's children, he said.
"Our foundation, together with our partner, the overseas POP's Foundation (headquartered in the U.S), exerts efforts to financially help abandoned and physically impaired children here. I hope that the charity event can tie all Chinese people's hearts closer to contribute to the cause of children's rehabilitation and recovery," said Xu.
Statistics showed that a total of 90 billion yuan (U.S. $ 14 billion) was contributed for needy children by overseas Chinese, and people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao in the past 30 years since the reform and opening-up.
Liu Wenkui, secretary-general of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, a co-organizer of the event, summarized their work on promoting children's welfare causes.
All donations will be used for helping adopted children and the needy, particularly those who require rehabilitation surgery, according to Liu.
"We are delighted to participate in the press conference whilst promoting a healthy way of life among Chinese youth that is in line with our philosophy," said Ye Zhijia, a spokesperson for life insurance group AIA China.
Urgent Cause to Help More
So far, China has some 700,000 orphans and almost 8.2 million disabled children. Among those orphans, physically challenged children account for a large proportion. Many were abandoned by their families and have never received any effective rehabilitation treatment.
The proportion of disabled children is over 90 percent in most children's welfare centers. Some welfare services even see a higher rate of 99 percent, said Gao Yurong, director of the Child Welfare Research Center of the China Philanthropy Research Institute of Beijing Normal University.
Confronted with such a pressing issue, as early as 1996, China separated the concept of "child welfare" from "social welfare" with the aim of promoting children and youth's development.
Since 2004, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs launched a charity project called the "Tomorrow Plan" to embark on a new aim to help orphaned and/or disabled children. In the past decade, about 80,000 children have benefited from the project.
Specialists pointed out that the best time for rehabilitation was between the ages of 0–14. However, the high cost of rehabilitation is unaffordable for most families even though they know that the earlier treatment is started, the lesser the financial burden and the higher the rate of recovery.
If the child has not been treated effectively before then, for the most common problems, the possibility of his or her total recovery will be greatly reduced.
The current charity event will provide such a platform to serve and solicit donations for children and orphans with special needs, to help them build a “brighter tomorrow”, say organizers.
In addition to the press conference, a donation ceremony was opened with many entrepreneurs delivering checks to the foundation.
In August, Chinese artists and celebrities from the U.S., Hong Kong and Taiwan will stage a performance in Beijing for children to "warm their hearts and raise their passion for life".
According to organizers, all of the proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorship of the event will go towards benefiting disabled children and orphans.
• POP's Foundation is a U.S. non-profit organization that helps abandoned and disabled children by managing and financing the Prince of Peace Children’s Home in Tianjin. The foundation's vision is to care for orphans with special needs, promote enrichment for adoption families, and advocate international charity advancement.
• Set-up in Hong Kong in 2005 as a non-profit organization. Its aim is to instill hope, positive impact, enlightenment, and care to younger generations through arts, music and books.
China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation
• China Foundation For Poverty Alleviation is a Chinese non-governmental organization founded in March 1989. It is currently the largest and most influential NGO specializing in poverty alleviation in China.
Participants and guests pose for a group photo in Beijing on July 24. [Women of China/Zhang Jiamin]
A company based in east China's Zhejiang Province donates almost 22,000 yuan (U.S $3,500) to the charity event to help children and orphans with special needs. [Women of China/Zhang Jiamin]
Insurance group AIA China contributes 1 million yuan (U.S. $161,000) to help children. [Women of China/Zhang Jiamin]
Chairpersons and senior members from many companies share their ideas at the charity event on how to help Chinese orphans. [Women of China/Zhang Jiamin]
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