Charity school in Beijing making a difference for migrant children

CCTV’s Jennifer Bragg reports on an incredible story of sacrifice and hope at a private charity school in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, China.

Volunteer teachers and staff at the Little Swan Charity School offer migrant children the opportunity to dream big by providing them a solid education. The students are children of migrant workers who moved from other areas of China to Beijing for higher-paying jobs.

Most of these children probably would have lacked an education just like their parents if it weren’t for their new headmaster, Mr. Yen.

Mr. Yen was hired on as a volunteer schoolteacher in 2010. Sadly, the private school’s financial burden had become too much for the current headmaster to handle. So, he moved away to search for other opportunities.

What is the difference between public and private schools? Public schools rely on government funds, and private schools acquire funds elsewhere. China’s educational funds are already spread thin due to the giant population. Private schools often require more money and can be challenging to keep going, such as in cases like this one.

Yen knew the school would shut down, and the children would miss out on a good education if he didn’t act on their behalf. He couldn’t bear the thought of giving up on the kids, so he decided to quit his engineering job at the National Space Agency and used his own money to keep the school running.

In the video, Yen explains that most of what the children learn comes from TV. He comments on how the children’s parents did not get enough education growing up, and without the Little Swan Charity School, the cycle would continue.

The school’s name comes from the children’s story of the ugly little duckling. Yen believes that these kids are all little swans. With the help of proper education, he knows they can grow up to be intelligent adults who can have better life choices and opportunities.

2014 was a great year for several students at Little Swan Charity School. Eight students showcased extraordinary skills and moved on from the private school to public school in Beijing.

The children view Mr. Yen as more than just a headmaster; many see him as a father figure. He knows he made the right decision in choosing them and has no regrets.

Volunteer workers and headmaster Yen have been running the Little Swan Charity School for over two years. Now, the school serves almost 500 children, offering them a chance at a better, brighter life.

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