More overseas help for poor rural areas
Updated: 2012-10-19 07:56
By Zheng Jinran in Beijing and Li Bo in Wuhan (China Daily)
More than 20 overseas corporations, a number of them on the Fortune 500 list, will offer more help to poor rural areas in China under a charity program.
The move will help enhance the friendship between China and these countries and earn them a good reputation, an organizer of the Rainbow Bridge Project said.
Starting this year, each of the companies, including Dell, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, The Walt Disney Company and Standard Chartered Bank, will donate money or material worth 500,000 yuan ($80,000) every year for three years to selected rural areas, under the project launched by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
In the initial stage, the donations from the companies mainly in the United States and Europe will go to two old revolutionary bases - Hong'an county in Hubei province and Yan'an, a city in Shaanxi province. Then more international companies will be organized to support more rural areas.
"A single company or organization has a limited resource to help the larger group in need, so we need to unite them," said Li Xiaolin, president of the association in Hong'an, on Thursday.
She said financial and material donations from these companies can help residents in the county know more about the outside world.
"The exchanges between the rural residents and foreign companies will produce a win-win situation," Li said.
In Hong'an, several programs supported by these companies have been launched, such as a basketball court at a primary school and a multimedia reading room.
Xu Yijin, headmaster of Changfeng Primary School in Gaoqiao township in Hong'an, where only 30 students study, said: "Students have more sports equipment to exercise. Some of them won't go home but would rather play on the new basketball court after school." Pei Jinlin, director of corporate affairs department at Dell Greater China, said the company financed a training center in Hong'an county, and the platform provided by the association will work much better than before when there were individual donations.
"It can integrate resources, and places can enjoy many kinds of support at the same time. It's a good chance for them to learn more," she said, adding that the firm will expand its strategy to more areas in China.
Tao Chuanjin, director of the Research Center of Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at Beijing Normal University, said both financial and material help to poor areas have become a regular feature from multinational corporations, enabling them to strengthen their profiles.
"Some companies combine their forces to develop a project, and this may reduce their investment costs. More importantly, it has a more comprehensive effect on locals, such as those in Hubei and Shaanxi provinces this time," he said.
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Zhou Lihua in Wuhan and Cao Yin in Beijing contributed to this story