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 carried out various actions, focused on girls' education, safety and health, to care for and support girls. 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."
Women of China recently 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. Zhang Xiaoxian is among them.
Zhang Xiaoxian, a doctoral candidate and beneficiary of the Spring Bud Project, is preoccupied with writing her research papers. She says she now realizes conducting academic research is not an easy task.
Zhang believes people achieve when they make an effort, but admits it is hard work for one to achieve tangible results in his or her academic research.
That is one reason why she never forgets the guiding principles of the Spring Bud Project, and why she reflects on the love and care of people from all segments of society behind the charitable initiative. She has devoted herself to research in the hope of giving back to society –– through her studies.
Zhang's parents left home to work in other cities when she was in her first year of primary school.
Zhang began receiving financial aid from the Spring Bud Project in 2004, when she was in her fourth year of primary school.
The project has helped ease her family's financial burdens, and it has provided Zhang with the strength to live through difficulties that have arisen during her daily life and studies. The project helped Zhang become brave, tenacious and self-reliant, and the project's guiding principles helped groom her into a better person while she was growing up.
The project ensured Zhang continually received financial aid, and other forms of assistance, from charity-minded people and enterprises while she attended both high school and university.
In addition, the letters exchanged between Zhang and numerous caring people became a source of strength for Zhang, and those letters strengthened her self-confidence and self-esteem.
In their letters, the caring people often shared their inspirational stories, personal experiences and feelings, and exemplary stories of other beneficiaries like Zhang, and that encouraged her to study hard. "They stressed the importance of continuing to learn and being independent, which gave me great encouragement," she says.
Zhang studied hard, and she did her utmost to meet the expectations of those who lent her a helping hand. "During communications with donors, via letters, I've received a lot of encouragement and comfort, and they guided me to find the right direction in life. I understand it's important to have an independent personality and mind, as well as the ability to chase dreams," Zhang says.
Thanks to her hard work, Zhang was enrolled in college, where she majored in journalism and communications. During her undergraduate studies, she received a national-level scholarship, and she won a university-level award, as a role-model student.
Zhang has devoted herself to both her academic studies and practical activities. As a graduate student, Zhang took every opportunity to attend academic conferences, publish research papers in leading journals, and enhance her professional and practical capabilities.
For instance, she once worked as an assistant teacher, during training sessions, for editors and journalists in East China's Fujian Province. Zhang has also had several of her research papers published in prestigious journals.
If not for the tremendous support and care of her teachers, classmates and donors, Zhang says she wouldn't have received a higher education, and certainly would not have become a doctoral student.
Inspired by the guiding principles of the Spring Bud Project, Zhang has spared no effort in sharing the love and warmth she has received with other in-need people.
She has attempted to use her knowledge to repay the social assistance she has received. She has participated in public-welfare activities, such as visiting disadvantaged children, and she has worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Zhang has become an exemplary figure, who represents the spirit of the Spring Bud Project.
(Women of China English Monthly)
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