High School Scholarships

Lijuan

Dare to Try

Hello everyone! My name is Lijuan, I am from Guangdong province, China.  When I was young, my father, the only breadwinner in my family, fell ill and was unable to financially support my education. And so first of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to my teachers and all the caring people of Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation for helping me in my most difficult time and for choosing me among so many people to receive financial support. 

In addition to that, the summer and winter camps held by CWEF & Shining Star every year made me and the other students feel happy and cared for and exposed us to new things and new friends. I have become a more cheerful and confident person because of this organization.  

Looking back on these ten years of schooling, I am very happy that I was able to receive a higher education with the help of many kind people. Growing up in such a difficult family, I knew that only studying could change my fate; so I studied diligently from elementary school through high school. I have been asked many times by other parents, “Do you have any tricks to study? How come you study so well?” I would usually laugh and think, “I don’t have any tricks. It’s just that I have no one behind me, so I have to work hard.”  

The moment I received my university acceptance letter, I was both happy and frustrated. Happy that my hard work for more than ten years had finally paid off, and I could change my destiny; frustrated that my debt-ridden family could not support my college expenses.  Thanks to the good policies of the Party and the Country, and thanks to the kind-hearted organizations like CWEF, I was able to fulfill my dream of going to college!  

I entered the university knowing that the opportunity to go to university is not easy to come by, and I kept telling myself that I should cherish it twice and that studying should be the first priority. So I studied hard and ranked in the top 20% overall, while also pursuing a minor in administration over the weekends.  

Every year I have worked hard to get scholarships, some of which were supplied by Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation, and these scholarships have largely relieved me of my worries. By using the scholarship funds I received only for my studies and real needs and by not comparing my food and clothes to those of other students, I relieved my family of some financial burden.  

As a college elective, I decided to try a new challenge: tennis. When I began, the coach thought I was short and had no advantage in playing tennis. So I just followed the other players and taught myself. When I had time, I went to tennis lessons, played on the courts every day, and consulted with the coach and other players. After another year, I became the best player, and the coach was impressed with me.

The tennis coach wholeheartedly trained me every day.  Soon I became the assistant tennis coach, and I worked part-time during weekends and holidays. Because of the coach’s help and teaching, I became a better version of myself during this period of my life. And after four years of ongoing practice in college, I had the honor of winning the tennis championship my senior year.    

After graduating from college, I began regularly supporting charity work, and I started a tennis club along with some of the other athletes. I also began studying for the teacher preparation exam. I was unsuccessful in the first round of exams, but I studied and prepared for the exams again. Fortunately, I got into the teaching profession. I am now a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Guangdong Institute of Petrochemical Technology. I like my job, and my life is the way I want it. Thank you for all the people who have helped and encouraged me over the years.  

Many times over the years, I was confused and torn by the choices I faced, but as long as you follow your heart, not afraid of failure, not afraid of hardship, and dare to try; I believe you will become what you want to be. 

Thank you for your generous donations to Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation’s scholarship fund for Chinese girls! Because of you, young women like Lijuan have been empowered to change their destinies and reach their professional dreams. And now they are helping others do the same.  

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This letter was originally written by Lijuan in Mandarin; translated to English with the help of Qian Qian, CWEF volunteer; and edited for length and flow by April Chiasson, Communications Manager.

This summer, during our Join The Community campaign, we are looking for more people with a heart for students like Lijuan. Would you consider joining The Community as a monthly donor today?

Let Love Spill Over

Hello everyone! My name is Qiu Qiu.

Thanks to Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation, I was able to finish high school and meet a lot of caring people. These people have shown me that there is no lack of love in this world and that love is always around us!

Among the many caring people I met, the one who impressed me the most was Dolphin, CWEF Program Director for scholarship recipients in Guangdong at that time. Dolphin was like a bright light for my heart, showing me the way. She was like a big sister who always encouraged me and the other students and helped us solve our problems. When I was in college, I learned that Dolphin was a social worker. So I vowed in my heart that I want to become a person like Dolphin and help more people. But although this dream is very beautiful, it is very hard to achieve.

In the end, because of my college entrance examination scores, I chose a university that did not have a social work major and ended up applying for the English major. I wanted to speak English fluently like Dolphin. But things didn’t turn out like I hoped. The year that I applied for the English major entry was very competitive, and I was not accepted.

I was down for a long time knowing that I would become a teacher instead rather than a person like Dolphin. I didn’t know if I had what it took to become a teacher. But Dolphin told me once, “Haiyan will be a loving and energetic teacher. I believe the students will like you very much!” After she said this, I was so happy. Because of Dolphin’s encouragement, deep inside I was sure that I would become a loving, energetic and popular teacher someday. It was Dolphin’s affirmation that gave me direction for my future.

Sadly, these days I rarely participate in charity activities. This is because of the nature of my work and the travelling distance. Although I can’t participate in charity activities like I did with Dolphin in college, I have slowly realized that my love has still never stopped spreading. This is because I am focused on my work as a teacher.

Now my goal is to educate my students well, cultivate their good habits as well as their love for others from childhood.

Now my goal is to educate my students well, cultivate their good habits as well as their love for others from childhood. I can help them to grow up in a loving environment, and then they will have the ability to help more people in need. Let love spill over; let love warm the earth; let love flow forever!

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Thank you for your generous giving to Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation scholarship fund for Chinese girls!  Because of you, young women like Qiu Qiu have received the love and support they need to achieve greater heights! And more than receiving an education, these young women also learn the beauty and power of love and are giving back to their communities.

Read more about the impact of your giving here on our blog!

See more videos and snapshots of the work you make possible by following us on Facebook!

*This letter was originally written by Qiu Qiu in Mandarin. It was translated via software into English and then edited by April Chiasson, CWEF Communications Manager.

Looking Back and Looking Forward

One of the pillars of CWEF’s development work has been to support the educational journeys of high-achieving girls from rural areas of China whose families are experiencing difficult financial challenges. Thousands of teens have been able to complete their high school education through tuition support and student development programs that support their mental and emotional health, preparing them for life after school and for their future vocations.

In 2015, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with targets to improve lives for people worldwide. SDG4 is “Quality Education” with the mission to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”  

Many of the young women that have received support from CWEF not only graduate from high school, but also achieve strong results on the highly-competitive gaokao (National College Entrance Examination), making it possible for them to continue on to university. As SDG4 promotes, the quality education these young women receive in their teen years provides them with the opportunity for lifelong learning and career success. Completing this challenging and high-pressure educational journey changes these students’ life directions and will impact their families for generations afterward. 

Recently, two CWEF High School Scholarship program graduates wrote back to us to share about their experiences during their first year at university:

Xi is a graduate of Leju High School in southwestern China. She is now studying “elderly health care and management” at Baoshan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

In a recent letter, Xi expressed:

“Time passed quickly, and I graduated from high school in a flash. Over the past three years, my [scholarship] has given me great support not only in life, but also in spirit. I remember when I was about to take the college entrance examination. In fact, I was very nervous….I was so nervous about my grades, and I could not relieve my inner tension. Thank you [CWEF] for coming at just the right time to provide us with psychological counseling support. Through some activities during the workshop that day, I learned methods to relive my psychological pressure, and also relieve my nervous mood. Thank you for your efforts!”

Another recent graduate, Yan, attended high school at Zhaoyang No. 1 High School. She was recently admitted to the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Yunnan. 

From university Yan reflects:

“I’m very grateful for CWEF’s support, which enabled me to experience three busy and fulfilling high school years. I am full of hope. High school and college are different—I find it very novel and confusing at the same time. I am learning more knowledge and I am also making new friends from different places, and I participate in many activities. Life is more colorful. I am going to make a better plan for my studies and life. I will set goals, study hard to learn medical knowledge, and I hope to help others in the future.”

Thank you for your generous support that makes it possible for young women like Xi and Yan to stay in school, gain a quality education, and be positioned for a bright future! In these notes from university, they expressed their gratitude for the critical support you provided to further their academic careers, and also, crucially, to help them grow and develop their own personal social-emotional well-being.

Looking back and looking forward, they are motivated by purpose and filled with hope for the future.

A Grateful Heart in the Midst of a Tragic Year

written by Elena Semler, CWEF volunteer

Xuemei, a high school senior in Yunnan Province, has dealt with many hardships and feelings of helplessness during the past year due to COVID-19: 

“At the beginning of the school year, I failed to go to school for the first time. I had to stay at home and attend on-line classes… The price of everything was increasing, but the income of my family was decreasing. Living expenses became more expensive, and our debts were getting heavier and heavier.”

Like many around the world this year, Xuemei and her family struggled with increased living expenses and growing debts. It was then, in a time when she needed some hope, that Xuemei found it in the support she received because of your gifts.

“With your support, I didn’t feel so helpless. I felt warmth and saw light ahead of me.”


Xuemei with her classmates

Xuemei is a recipient of a CWEF High School Scholarship, which covers all school-related costs and provides student development support in crucial areas such as setting goals and making plans, managing emotions, teamwork, and more.

Although Xuemei’s family has struggled financially due to the pandemic, their decreasing income did not put an end to her education, thanks to your generosity. Once it was safe for the students to return to school, Xuemei was able to return as well. She is happy to share: “Now we are lucky to be able to go back to school again.”

Because of your generosity, Xuemei has not only been comforted amid a challenging time, but she has also received tangible help that, in her own words: “let me move forward and get closer to my dream.” With her renewed sense of hope for the future, Xuemei remains faithful to her goals and aspirations, “I will study hard and try my best to go to university.”

Xuemei and her family have lived a difficult life in rural Yunnan even before the pandemic. However, it is these difficulties that have given her a perspective that we should all aspire to have. In a letter to her scholarship sponsor, she writes, “Though I have never met you or seen you, I will still have a grateful heart.”

CWEF scholarships educate and equip bright young women like Xuemei to live a life of leadership and service. People like you make it possible for people like Xuemei, even after a global pandemic and a devastating year for her family, to have hope for the future.

YINLU’S ANGEL

Written by Elena Semler – CWEF Volunteer

You are an angel in my heart,” Yinlu writes to her high school scholarship sponsor of 3 years.

She is from a village in northeast Yunnan province and is a recipient of a CWEF scholarship, which provides financial assistance so she can attend high school. Hardships in life have given Yinlu an extra sense of purpose.“I am more mature than my peers. I think knowledge can change my fate. I studied even harder to enrich myself with learning and more knowledge. I want to be more excellent and capable.”

Yinlu has had to endure more than most people will ever experience, in a short amount of time.“My mother left us when I was 3. She could not bear the poverty” Her father, now burdened with a larger financial load, took a job at a coal mine. Her grandmother passed away not long after. Then, it was only a mere two months after her father buried her grandmother that,“he [my father]also left us forever”,when he died in an accident at work.

With more and more tragedies piling onto Yinlu’s family, her grandfather, heartbroken, took in his two granddaughters, Yinlu and her younger sister. Her grandfather would travel to many places to find work in order to provide for the three of them, but it did not matter how far he went or how late it was, he always came home to them.

As Yinlu’s grandfather, now 74 years old, deals with the difficulties of old age and still tries to help out around the house, Yinlu was sent to a welfare home for a period of time. Although difficult, she acknowledges that she learned a lot from that challenging time. Yinlu reflects:

“I believe that God is fair to everyone. He closes a door for you and will open a window for you. He gave me a poor and seemingly unfortunate life, but He also let me recognize the reality [of life] ahead of time.”

Yinlu understands the power of knowledge and has asserted that she will use her education for good and that she “will try to help others and become a person who is useful to society.

Your gifts to the CWEF High School Scholarship program provide bright young women like Yinlu scholarships and support, preparing them for a life of leadership and service to their families and communities. Additionally, student development programs equip students for life after school, including crucial skills such as: setting goals and making plans, managing emotions, working in teams, and more.

Thank you for being an angel to Yinlu and many more like her!


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