At Switchboard we are on a mission to bring positive change into our communities and the world. That’s why we run a “Switchboard Cares” program, in which we take on one pro bono impact project quarterly. For the spring of 2016, we’ve worked alongside Educating Girls of Rural China, a registered charity that sponsors girls in rural China through their high school and postsecondary educations. EGRC operates under the belief that educated women have educated children, and that educating women is the best long-term strategy for bringing communities out of poverty.
“Thus far, EGRC has supported over 597 young women from the most rural parts of China in receiving an education,” says Ching Tien, Founder of EGRC.
During China’s Cultural Revolution, Ching Tien was removed from her studies at a privileged all-girls school, and sent to work in a factory for eight years in one of China’s poorest provinces, Gansu. This is a common story for those who survived the cultural revolution as the education system was gutted and many of the country’s intellectuals were sent to work in rural parts of the country in factories, farms and the military. Women were especially disadvantaged as, males carry on the family name, they usually receive the families’ access to resources. Many families still believe that the role of women is to support men in a marriage and that there is little value in educating girls.
Ching Tien was able to move to Canada in the 1970s, where she has a daughter and son who graduated with degrees from Canadian universities. It is now Ching Tien’s objective to help young women in rural China receive the education that was taken away from her own generation.
EGRC has a 100 per cent graduation rate, and on Monday, June 13th, it celebrated EGRC alumna Bixia Wang’s PhD graduation with a dim sum luncheon. Attendees enjoyed a delicious Chinese lunch, compelling stories from EGRC supporters and hilarious entertainment by MC Fred Lee of the CBC’s “Steppin’ Out” series. Thanks to the generosity of those who participated in the event, EGRC raised over $28,000 to support girls and young women through their high school and university studies.
Through the power of PR and storytelling, Switchboard has been able to have a hand in this inspiring cause. We are proud to be apart of a team that believes in using our skills and expertise to help the progression of social equality, justice and innovation. To learn more about Educating Girls of Rural China follow them on social @edugrchina.