Why I Became a CRRS Volunteer?
By: Francis Hui
A few of my friends have asked me, “Among so many charitable organizations, why did you choose to be a CRRS volunteer?”
I did not start off with the intention of becoming a volunteer. From many of the documentaries about our Motherland, China, my wife and I saw the hardships, hopelessness and helplessness of those underprivileged and poverty stricken families and their children. Consequently, we felt an urge to help and a strong emotional desire to share God’s love, care and the blessings with them. I know the god of every religion clearly tells his followers to love their neighbors and to help the needy. What better way to thank our God than to share His love and kindness with our kinsmen who are in need!!
Like most benefactors, my wife and I want to donate our hard earned money to a trustworthy charitable organization-one which puts our donations to good and effective use-to help the underprivileged children and not to get to the pockets of some corrupted officials, greedy individuals or some high-paid directors and executives. With this in mind, I went to consult a friend who has a vast knowledge of charitable organizations. He strongly recommended CRRS to me as he had the experience of working with CRRS and its founder Dr. In-Sing Leung. After attending several of the CRRS Toronto Chapter meetings, I was impressed with the committee members’ devotion and enthusiasm towards this ‘ Project of Love’. Many members are very busy professionals, yet they did not give themselves excuses and still found time to care for those underprivileged and poverty stricken children thousands of miles away. I was deeply touched by this unconditional commitment. Eventually, I decided to become a CRRS volunteer. Actually, I called myself ( and preferred to be called ) a ‘Messenger of Love’ because my primary mission is to help those kind-hearted, generous and busy donors to send their love and cares to those brothers and sisters in need.
As we all know, most families in China still follow the old tradition where they flavor their sons to carry on their family name and neglect their daughters, depriving them of their educational opportunities. Families from the rural areas are too poor to send the girls to school. To acknowledge the importance and intelligence of female and to help girls to get the basic education or to achieve higher education, CRRS initiated the first “Girl-class” in Lungsheng County of Guangxi in 2003. The first class of 51 girls passed the university entrance examination and was accepted to attend various universities or colleges in 2006. Subsequently, CRRS developed the ‘University Scholarship’ Program to continue to fulfill the dreams of many female students who come from the poor rural countryside.
To ensure the ultimate success of the sponsorship program CRRS has establish many supportive educational projects other than the ‘Basic Education’ Program for students and the ‘Teacher Certification’ Program, such as the Vocation School Sponsorship’ Program to help young people who do not make it to the university to acquire the necessary skills to find a better job. In addition, there are the ‘University Scholarship’ Program for higher education; the ‘School Re-building’ Project and the focal project of a multi-functional ‘Resources Centre’ ( which consists of a language lab and a computer lab,( consists of 90 new computers) and a modernized library. The latest projects include the ‘Project Shine’ – ESL Training Project ( started in the summer of 2008) and a pilot project ‘Give Back to the Community’ Project for students of Nanning University started in the summer of 2009.
Every time a donor donates $180 to sponsor a student for one year, I get really excited. My excitement is not from the face value of the $180 but from the knowledge that a small poverty-stricken child does not have to walk for hours to and from school daily under the burning hot sun or in chilling snow dressed only in filmy clothing and worn-out shoes. This $180 also relieves a big burden off the shoulders of the child’s parents because their child will receive full room and board ( which they cannot afford ) for the school year. In addition, all sponsored children will be studying in some safe and well-equipped school buildings. The annual sponsorship of $180 after the tax deduction will amount to an actual donation of only about $135 a year or a mere 38 cents a day. This small sum of less than the cost of a small coffee, may not mean much to us, will mean a whole world of difference to a child- a chance to elevate from poverty and to become a positive contributor to the society. This represents the best return for your small investment of $180 per year.
I am happy and amazed to learn that since the start of the CRRS sponsorship programs in 2003, the administration costs have never exceeded a rate of 9% per year .This is relatively low rate as compared with the high administration costs of most of the multi-billion dollar charitable organizations.
For the CRRS Toronto Chapter, all Directors and Committee Members are not salaried staff. They and many volunteers work from their homes and /or their private business offices out of their love for the children on China.
To ensure effective usage of the donations, CRRS has developed a system to track the money usage for each sponsored student and teacher by setting up individual bank account for each student/teacher to make certain that funds are being received by the appropriate individual. Donation amounts to cover the educational expenses are directly deposited into their accounts. Every student and teacher has to sign and acknowledge the receipt of these funds. In addition, audits are done by the CRRS ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’ team twice a year to enforce the proper distribution of funds.
The CRRS Toronto Chapter directors, committee members and volunteers-also organize self-paid trips to visit China each year. They spend time to communicate with the school principals, teachers, students and families to find out their needs. After the trips, many members and volunteers continue to encourage the students by email to persist in their efforts for higher education and to improve their future success. These visits and continuous communication play a vital role in the success of CRRS’s operation of ‘love’. CRRS also encourages donors to join these trips so they can have a clear picture of the hardships, hopelessness and helplessness of those underprivileged families and children and how the donors’ generous donations will be able to help change these children’s lives for the better.
Based on the above, I am totally convinced and confident that these educational programs can really help the young children to receive education and eventually to get out of their poverty and to become contributors to their society and the nation. These are the main reasons that inspired and motivated me to become a CRRS volunteer. With the desire to help young children to expand their horizon and to brighten up their future, I will continue to try passionately to approach more possible donors.