Through the education sponsorship program, this commitment will provide scholarships to 200 AIDS-impacted youth who are admitted but cannot afford to attend university to complete their education. Although tuition is free for the first nine years of education in China, there are other fees, such as books, miscellaneous fees, and boarding fees that prohibit many poverty- and disease-stricken AIDS-impacted children to continue their education. After the first nine years of education, the situation becomes worse, as senior high school and university education are very competitive academically, with low admission rates, and are substantially more expensive without any government subsidy. This commitment will provide financial support (tuition and education-related expenses) to 200 AIDS-impacted youth who have the academic capability to continue their education but cannot afford to do so.
These youths have parents who have died of AIDS or are HIV positive, although they may not be HIV positive themselves. By joining this program, not only can they receive an education, but they also will be empowered as community self-help support 'Champions' to help other, younger AIDS-impacted children.
The privilege of education comes with social responsibility. The second pillar of the program is to train the children who are receiving education sponsorship as 'Champions' and equip them with the skills to serve as mentors to the younger AIDS-impacted children. Many AIDS-impacted children are triply impacted by poverty, disease, and stigma and have low self esteem. Some are even psychologically traumatized. Sending AIDS-impacted youth of similar background who are attending university to reach out to younger AIDS-impacted children can offer hope and empowerment to them, thereby forming a community self-help network. The program will enable them to become pen pals in addition to interacting with each other by home visits, summer tutoring classes, and summer and winter camps. The Champions will also educate them in HIV prevention and home-based care, which is extremely useful in the HIV high prevalence areas where they reside.
The Champions will act as role model Big Brothers/Big Sisters to the younger AIDS-impacted children in the same area. They will visit various villages, provide summer tutoring, and help organize summer and winter camps. The Champions will also educate the younger children on AIDS prevention and providing home care to AIDS patients. Each Champion will reach out to 50 younger AIDS-impacted children over 3 years, therefore 200 champions x 50 = 10,000 AIDS-impacted children's lives will be affected. Since the Champions are from the same village or local areas as the children, it will be easy for them to see each other during summer and winter breaks and Chinese New Year holidays and stay in touch over the year as pen pals.
10,200 children and youth will be directly affected by this program.
Chi Heng Foundation already sponsors the education of 8,000 children impacted by AIDS. This action will support a mixture of existing and new students. Education sponsorship will begin during the beginning in 2009, and will continue for 3 academic years, or until the graduation of the students. The Champions will help the children also during the next 3 years (2009 to 2011).
- Number of AIDS-impacted children/youth expected to gain access to higher education - 200 AIDS-impacted youth.
- Number of AIDS-impacted children expected to be reached by a big brother/ big sister, who also is from a similar AIDS-impacted family - 10,000 AIDS-impacted children.