Life is filled with many expectations. We anticipate and dream about life, especially building a future. With each generation, there is a hope to improve one’s family situation, to become better educated, to earn a higher salary, to provide stability and opportunity for family members and to be healthy and happy.
Yongbing had many of these dreams, but his family’s situation was dire. His parents suffered from illnesses and their living conditions were poor. Yongbing lived in a village in Leju county in Yunnan province with both his older sister and younger brother. With three children in school, his parents had many school-related expenses on their subsistence income.
Through a 2013 scholarship from Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation, Yongbing was able to pay for high school tuition and related fees. The scholarship provided him a way to continue his education and took a large financial burden from his family. Yongbing felt that people cared about him and was very encouraged by receiving the scholarship. In turn, he shared that he would like to help other people when he is able.
“In addition to tuition assistance, many CWEF scholarship recipients receive additional support that is not usually provided in high school through the REACH program. Additional workshops using CWEF’s curriculum are led by trained teachers, to help students with life skills such as time management, career planning and resiliency support,” shares Maggie Li, CWEF Education Programs Director in Yunnan province.
A dedicated student, Yongbing dreamed of continuing his education at university.
“I would dream about the ivory tower… wondering what type of university I would attend. I fantasized about my life as a university student. ‘University’ became a holy land to me.”
Yongbing studied hard for the gaokao university entrance exam, but his score fell below his hopes and expectations. Consequently, he could not apply to a highly-competitive school of his dreams. “Based on my options, I didn’t know how to select another university.” He was accepted to Chuxiong Normal College.
“Once I finally became a college student, it was nothing like I had dreamed of. I deeply regretted attending the school and I considered going back to become a high school student again so that I could retake the gaokao exam.” Yongbing’s family could not afford to pay for his tuition, so retaking the exam was not an option.
“I finally realized that I couldn’t change the situation, but I could change my outlook.”
With this realization, Yongbing began to slowly adapt to college life. Yongbing, like many students, was assigned a major, in his case social work. As his studies progressed, he began to embrace the classes. He reflected on the support that he received as a CWEF High School Scholarship program recipient. Yongbing found time to volunteer and is now looking forward to a career where he can provide help and assistance to others. Not only is Yongbing currently enjoying an internship with a local NGO, but he also has hopes for attending law school one day. Halfway into his college career, Yongbing asserted,
“I think that university is like a big stage that belongs to each student. Here you are both a director and the protagonist. As long as you dare to try, the spotlight will focus on you. Play your role, and no matter what happens, believe in yourself.”
“Yongbing is like many of CWEF’s scholarship recipients over the years,” shares CWEF executive director Josh Lange. “He demonstrates the life-changing impact of an education and the resilience to face challenges with success, which is fostered through CWEF’s REACH workshops. We’re thankful to hear stories of young adults like Yongbing, who learn to thrive and through their lives will be able to give back and bring hope to others.”