With the care of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and under the leadership of the All-China Women's Federation, the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) launched the Spring Bud Project in 1989, to help impoverished girls return to school, and to promote girls' education in disadvantaged areas.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, in 2012, with the attention and concern of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, and with the strong support of Peng Liyuan, special envoy of the Spring Bud Project for promoting girls' education, the project has conducted various activities to care for and support girls, and it has focused on girls' education, safety and health. During the past decade, the project has supported 1.76 million girls, and it has provided one-on-one companionship services and personalized psychological counseling to 133,400 girls. After they receive support from the project, the Spring Bud girls never forget to give back to society. With love and various actions, the girls have demonstrated the Spring Bud spirit of "unremitting self-improvement, striving for excellence, developing stronger virtues and pursuing better lives."
Today, we introduce a new section, Spring Bud Blooms, to share stories about Spring Bud girls who have grown up and become contributing members of society, and to encourage society to care for the development of girls. Juzi is one of them.
Juzi (pseudonym), a former recipient of the Spring Bud Project, organized a public-welfare activity, to raise funds for the Spring Bud Project, on Charity Day (September 9). It was the second time she had organized the activity.
Juzi was born into a rural family in Weifang, a city in East China's Shandong Province, in 1987.
Juzi's family life became more difficult after her mother died, when Juzi was 6. Despite living a hard life, Juzi and her elder sister studied hard, and they achieved good academic performances.
Juzi firmly believed receiving an education was the only way she could change her life's path. Her sister was admitted to Shandong Normal University, in Jinan, capital of Shandong, in 1998. That set a good example for Juzi.
|Juzi (front) organizes a fundraising activity for Spring Bud Project.|
In 2003, Juzi received an admission letter from Changyi No. 1 High School, the best high school in Changyi, Weifang. But the annual tuition fee — 1,000 yuan (US $142) — would be a huge financial burden on her family. So, Juzi went to Changyi No. 1 High School, to explain her situation to Sun Hongru, then-principal of the school. Sun decided to waive the tuition fees for Juzi.
As helpful as that was, Juzi's family still faced the financial burden of paying for her living expenses while she boarded at the school. Juzi was happy when her head teacher gave her a Spring Bud Project application form. At that time, Juzi had no idea just how much the charitable initiative was about to transform her life.
Juzi completed and submitted the application form, which was eventually approved. Juzi received financial assistance from the project to cover her accommodation fees and other living expenses. That helped her focus on her studies. "The project helped solve my urgent need, and I felt the care and warmth of strangers," she says.
Three years later, Juzi was admitted to Shandong Normal University. With scholarships and support from her relatives, she completed her four-year undergraduate program and then, in 2010, enrolled in a postgraduate program at Beijing Jiaotong University.
In addition to receiving an annual scholarship, Juzi received subsidies as compensation for her participation in her academic supervisor's scientific-research projects. All of the financial assistance relieved her concerns about tuition and accommodation fees.
In 2013, after she graduated from Beijing Jiaotong University, Juzi landed a job in the data center of a bank in Beijing.
"I like where my life is right now. Education has expanded my horizons, and made it possible for me to lead a different life in a big city. I am very grateful for the help that education has brought me, and I am even more grateful to the people who have helped me during my school years," Juzi says.
In 2016, after her daughter was born, Juzi decided to show her gratitude to those who helped her by assisting girls in improving their lives. The next year, she joined a fundraising activity of the Spring Bud Project, and she donated 1,800 yuan (US $257) to support a girl attending high school. Since then, Juzi has made donations every year to help girls in need.
When the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) launched a publicity campaign in 2019, to look for former Spring Bud girls, in commemoration of the project's 30th anniversary, Juzi shared her story with the public.
"I want girls to be inspired by my story, to see strength, to see hope, to pass on the love, the upward faith to more people," Juzi said, while she was being filmed for a publicity video.
With the support of her company and colleagues, Juzi in May 2021 incorporated the fundraising for the Spring Bud Project into her work.
After extensive preparations, Juzi organized a fundraising activity, which involved her work colleagues, last September, ahead of Charity Day. In 2015, September 9 was established as the annual charity day by China's Internet giant, Tencent, with the aim of calling on Chinese to participate in public-welfare causes.
Juzi also made a short video about the Spring Bud Project, to raise public awareness about the importance of education for girls.
During the fundraising activity, Juzi and her colleagues collected about 80,000 yuan (US $11,428), which covered the living expenses of 46 high school girls for the following year.
This year, Juzi raised nearly 30,000 yuan (US $4,285), which was used to cover the living expenses for another 15 school girls. Juzi now plans to organize a fundraising activity in her community.
The Spring Bud spirit of unremitting self-improvement, striving for excellence, developing stronger virtues and pursuing a better life has deeply influenced Juzi. "The Spring Bud Project makes me feel warmth and love, respect and attention. It has inspired me to keep moving forward, and it has planted a seed of goodness in my heart," Juzi says.
Today, the seed continues to grow vigorously in Juzi's heart, and she continues to sow the seed of love and goodness in society.
Photos Supplied by CCTF
(Women of China English Monthly)
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