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CEIBS Beijing ‘Warmth Team’ Lessens Winter’s Chill

Visits school for children of migrant workers

Volumes 1 & 2, 2018

By Sherry Bian

 

“What does CEIBS teach?”

“Are there many foreigners studying at CEIBS?”

These were some of the questions Junior Grade One students asked members of the CEIBS Warmth Team, who visited them last December, bearing not just the proceeds from a charity bazaar but also conveying the love and kindness of CEIBS staff and alumni.

Dandelion Middle School is the first of its kind for children of government-authorised migrant workers, and the only non-profit private school that enrols migrant workers’ children in Beijing’s Daxing District. CEIBS EMBA 2015 alumnus Sun Haiyang is one of the initiators of the project; and many alumni have been supporting the middle school’s development through donations, charity bazaars, etc. For example, many alumni were involved, in 2016, when CEIBS EMBA programme launched a charity bazaar to auction customised CEIBS canvas bags. The event raised RMB15,800.

Ever since it was established in 2005, Dandelion Middle School had been renting classrooms fashioned from deserted workshops and one-story houses. In 2014, the school received approval to build new buildings, but a shortage of funds caused the construction project to miss an end of 2017 deadline. Students had to have classes back at the old campus. Meanwhile, a new ban on coal burning meant that the school had to use electricity to heat classrooms, which meant a costly remodelling of the boilers.

On learning about the situation, CEIBS Beijing Campus decided to organise the ‘Keep Winter Temperature at 23°C’ public welfare activity during the school’s 23rd anniversary in November, 2017. This included the auctioning of 200 sets of customised CEIBS pencil boxes with a reserve price of RMB23 per set; and all the earnings would be used for heating of the school.

The November 11 charity bazaar turned out to be a bustling event, with alumni and staff actively engaged. Class coordinators also promoted it in their classes’ WeChat groups. With the support of hundreds of alumni and staff, the pencil box sets sold out in no time. The bazaar raised more than RMB12,000.

 

In order to encourage the kids to keep learning, the team also started an activity named ‘Crowdfunding for Books’. It donated a series of books on Understanding Society at 14, helping assuage adolescents’ potential for confusion and anger. Within two hours of its launch, 23 staff from CEIBS Beijing Campus signed up for the activity and, with their goals met, the crowdfunding was soon over.

On the afternoon of December 4 when the CEIBS Warmth Team, taking all the love from staff and alumni with them, went to Dandelion Middle School, Principal Zheng Hong happily gave them a tour. Although conditions are still far from ideal at the old campus, the help they have received is making a difference in children’s lives. According to Zheng Hong, after 3 years’ studying at the school, about 90% of students are able to pass the Senior High School Entrance Examination and get into high schools or vocational high schools. There were even 13 kids that successfully grasped the opportunity to study overseas.

During the visit, the CEIBS team also had a wonderful time with the students of Grade Seven Class One. The students had a lot of questions! To answer one query about ‘What is an EMBA?’, leader of CEIBS Beijing Alumni Office Zhou Huajun began by explaining CEIBS’ rich history. His humorous delivery of the serious topic of how the Chinese government and the EU jointly established CEIBS elicited fits of laughter from the kids. He also shared his views on ‘being successful’, encouraging each child to be a person who displays honesty, kindness and integrity, no matter where the future takes him.

Each child who received pencil boxes and hats sincerely expressed his gratitude, and students also prepared thank-you cards for the CEIBS Beijing Warmth Team. The classroom was full of the warmth shared by both the youngsters and their visitors.