One of the most beautiful countries we work in is also one of the most complex. Bordered by 14 countries and several seas, China is the most populated country in the world and the fourth largest by land mass. Due to its size, climates and landscapes vary drastically, ranging from dry conditions in its desert region and subarctic conditions in its mountainous region to subtropical conditions in its forested region. We’re enamored with its extraordinary history, which has given rise to some of the world’s most spectacular sites, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors.
This country has much to offer the world and its people; however, it also faces exceptional challenges, particularly in rural areas. China’s education system is woefully underfunded, leaving outlying areas severely short on schools. This means many students must make a long and dangerous trek to school—if they’re able to go at all. It’s estimated that millions of children work as child laborers due to the high cost of schooling and the economic desperation of families in rural China.
Out of 188 countries in the UN Human Development Index, despite being the No. 2 economy in the world (UNDP, 2018)
Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source (Rural) (UNdata, 2010)
Of rural population have access to improved sanitation (WHO, 2010)
In 2002, tragedy struck rural China when 38 children were killed in an explosion at a fireworks factory where they were working to support their families. When this devastating news reached us at WE, and we realized that these children had died because they had to work instead of going to school, we leaped into action. Since then, WE Charity has been working to break the cycle of poverty in rural communities and transform education in the country, partnering with local governments to build and furnish more schools.
While educating young people, especially girls, continues to be our main priority, we also work with local governments to provide these same communities with agriculture and food security programs, alternative income opportunities such as animal husbandry, and to meet specific requests to assist students and their families. To date, we have:
In every country where WE Villages operates, we tailor our programs to meet the unique needs of the communities we work with, through our sustainable development model and our five Pillars of Impact. Read how we’re implementing them in China.