What We Do
Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation educates and equips the local advocates and organizations in rural Asia who will work to break the cycle of poverty and make a lasting impact in their own communities. This is made possible by cultivating trust-filled, long-term relationships with local partners and communities.
Together with our partners and local advocate teams, CWEF is focused on several key areas of rural development: Access to Education, Clean Water & Health Education, Support for Families Impacted by Migration, and Service Learning.
Through scholarships and student development programs, CWEF and our local partners are preparing young people for a life of leadership and service to their families and communities.
CWEF’s need-based scholarships make it possible for young people with difficult family circumstances to stay in school so they have a chance to graduate from high school or university, which positions them for bright futures.
Additionally, student development programs prepare students for life after school, including crucial skills such as: setting goals and making plans, managing emotions, working in teams, and more. Examples of such enrichment programs include Career Workshops, Summer Camps and REACH, which trains teachers to better support the social-emotional growth of their students.
Watch the videos below to hear from several previous China High School Scholarship students who have gone on to launch a non-profit called Shining Star, which is serving left-behind children in Guangdong province.
CWEF provides improved access to clean water for underserved communities in remote areas of China and Cambodia.
Access to a clean and reliable source of drinking water is a basic human need. When communities that have been lacking this resource receive improved access to clean water, it removes barriers and results in huge positive impacts in the lives and health of community members.
CWEF also works with community members to facilitate HEAL, a health education program that provides improved access to sanitation and/or hygiene resources in rural communities. At the same time, local advocates receive training and gain literacy in essential health practices, which they pass on to their neighbors and family members. This combination of improved facilities and changed habits results in a stronger and healthier community.
Many families in Asia are being impacted by migration, whether it be students in underserved urban migrant schools or the young children and their elderly grandparents who are left behind in rural villages after the children’s parents have gone out to find work in the city.
CWEF is working with local organizations and community advocates who are serving these children and their families who are impacted by migration. We will intentionally strengthen and equip these local leaders for long-lasting and impactful service in their own communities.
Watch the video below to learn more about the GROW program by CWEF’s local partner organization Shining Star, which serves ‘left-behind’ children in China’s Guangdong province. The majority of GROW volunteers are previous recipients of CWEF’s high school scholarship program, and many of these GROW volunteers also participated in other CWEF programs while in high school, such as the REACH student development program and career workshops.
GROW provides training and support to university students and young adults, equipping them to give back to young left-behind children in need, and providing an opportunity for both children and young adults to ‘grow up together’ with a greater sense of service for others and hope for the future.
Service learning is a research-based teaching method: teams learn about the history and culture of a location as they work alongside CWEF in order to better serve a particular community. Learning is applied through action to address an authentic community need in a process that allows for individual initiative and provides structured time for reflection on the service experience as well as demonstration of acquired skills and knowledge. (adapted from The Complete Guide to Service Learning by Cathryn Berger Kaye)
CWEF partners with international schools, churches, corporate teams, and families who wish to serve and learn from the people in rural China and Cambodia who benefit from our work. Service Learning teams can serve and learn in a variety of ways, such as teaching subjects like English, art and music, assisting with home visit interviews for the purpose of monitoring, evaluation, and telling stories of impact, and conducting basic health and hygiene training.
Watch the video below to get a small window into one recent Service Learning journey in China:
Service learning in Cambodia takes advantage of CWEF’s ongoing relationship with Child Rescue Organization (CRO) in Kampong Chhnang and Stronghold Cambodia in Sihanoukville. Teams from the US, Hong Kong, and elsewhere begin their time in Cambodia with historical and cultural orientation. Visits to ancient sites such as Angkor Wat as well as modern sites like Toul Sleng place contemporary Cambodian society in the context of the nation’s long, dynamic history and the tragic events of the Khmer Rouge era. Cultural experience like the Cambodian circus and traditional dances add another dimension to volunteers’ understanding of the communities they’re serving. Teams also spend time visiting existing social enterprises before diving into their own time of service.
CWEF service learning teams have partnered with CRO since 2010. Here, they support students through art activities, games, Bible studies and conversations, and then they sponsor CRO students to join them in serving at Stronghold Cambodia, which provides them with an opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills. In recent years this three-way partnership has grown in terms of the number and enthusiasm of CRO students participating, and CWEF is excited to see the partnership continue to develop as service learning teams continue to work in Cambodia.
Service learning teams in China partner with CWEF’s health and education programs to address a broad range of needs in Yunnan and Guangdong provinces. Some teams assist with follow-up reports for Drinking Water Projects, a component of HEAL in China, where they interview villagers, enter and analyze data, and participate in community hygiene training. Other service learning teams assist with summer camps for students who have received scholarships through REACH. These projects give teams an opportunity to interact with individuals and communities, allowing them to witness and understand some of the daily challenges and joys of the people they’re serving.