There is a long-standing tradition of student, faculty and parent-led service and charity projects at Concordia International School Shanghai. In fact, service is a fundamental part of our school’s ethos, compelling us to support many types and levels of service both across the school and in our community.
One charity that we have especially close ties to is YEP. This project was first known as the Yunnan Education Project and was started by three Concordia students following a school service trip to Yunnan province in 2002.
Changing lives in rural areas
The project’s original goal was to help minority children in rural Yunnan further their access to education.
Funding education past grade 9 is often not possible for rural students from impoverished families. These families have no access to affordable student loans or financing. As a result, high-achieving students, many of them female, are unable to pursue a high school education.
Through the YEP high school scholarship project, students set out to provide aid to needy students that would allow them to complete high school and create opportunities for them to achieve their goals through education.
Banding together in service of others
YEP scholarships have helped sponsor high-achieving high school students from low-income families thanks in part to the school’s partnership with Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation (CWEF), a Hong Kong based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished rural communities in Asia through education and service.
Today, YEP stands for “Youth Empowering Progress," and it has grown to support health and sanitation projects in addition to providing educational support for families in need. More than 20 fresh water systems have been funded and installed in villages in Yunnan.
The charities reach has also grown, allowing YEP to expand support and involvement to additional provinces in China.
Each fall, high school students have the chance to travel to service sites to participate in their service projects and experience firsthand how they can make a difference.
Education and service trips, such as YEP Water, YEP English and YEP HEAL, provide Concordia students an opportunity to partner with CWEF in the completion of water, health and education projects throughout China.