Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. Education means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But one thing is certain: Education goes well beyond just teaching a child how to make a living. Education is also about personal growth and building character. Therefore, we must give pupils more opportunities to gain a variety of life experiences. These experiences include an immersive bilingual campus culture and a wellbeing programme that helps them to develop empathy for others. The Shanghai United Foundation 'Friends of Huili' Charity Fund was launched on 11th December 2019 by Friends of Huili (FoH) and Shanghai United Foundation. As the main charitable organisation and the class 5A public grant-making foundation, Shanghai United Foundation works closely with Huili School Shanghai to identify the most innovative and beneficial models of charitable education. The FoH Charity Fund is chaired by Ms Stella Zhou, the Master of Huili School Shanghai, and supervised by Ms Zhang Bona of the Shanghai United Foundation. Together with the other seven members of the board of governors, they have defined the functions of fundraising, project implementation and compliance and best practices for this fund. The fund builds a bridge between the school and charitable organisations, providing Huili pupils with many opportunities for meaningful participation.
▲The Shanghai United Foundation 'Friends of Huili' Charity Fund Committee In spring of 2020, the FoH Charity Fund launched its first funding programme — ‘Elevating People through Kindness’ — which helps design charity and education programmes. The aim was to create more opportunities for pupils to participate in public services and charitable activities, giving them roles to play in community service, conservation and scientific research efforts. “The Shanghai United Foundation ‘Friends of Huili’ Charity Fund is the first donor-advised fund created by parents and the school. It aims to make our community a warm and caring place that encourages our pupils to take part in charitable activities.”
—— Ms. Song Yifan Secretary of FoH Charity Fund
Members of the Huili Community do not regard their charitable activities as acts of heroism. Rather, they see it as lots of small actions that ultimately make a big difference. The Huili Community therefore constantly seeks charity programs that it can engage in for the long term. As a result, our pupils have the opportunity to build their character and give back to their community.
Dr. Jane Goodall has been recognised by Time magazine as "the most outstanding primatologist of the 20th century" and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. She is also the founder of the global charity organization Roots & Shoots. Dr. Goodall travels around the world, promoting environmental protection, encouraging young people to take action to protect animals and be stewards of the environment.
The Roots & Shoots organic farm was the first funding programme that our charity fund council selected. Since this programme was closely connected with the school's organic gardening curriculum, it was the first campus activity that got both pupils and parents involved. Our academic team took charge of the school's organic garden and designed interdisciplinary lessons centred around gardening. Pupils learned the entire process of planting vegetables, such as tillage, pest management, fertilisation and farming techniques. They also learned what goes into food production. Moreover, the campus garden programme enjoyed support from FoH, which helped us to promote the idea of gardening at home.
“Pupils took good care of all that they planted. They learned the importance of eating organic food and living a healthy lifestyle, both of which help to protect our environment. They also learned why maintaining a harmonious relationship with nature matters.”
——The Organic Garden Team
Following the Roots & Shoots organic garden project, the Huili Charity Fund launched the Special Olympics Unified School project in cooperation with the Pudong Fudu School. The principals, teachers, pupils and parents of the two schools took part in an exchange visit to explore possibilities for cooperation in sports and arts. During the visit, Huili pupils learned about the studies and lives of their peers, gained a new perspective on social affairs and got to know the meaning of humanistic concern. They were deeply impressed by the passion and perseverance of their peers at the Pudong Fudu School.
▲Huili visited Pudong Fudu School “We exist in society as unique individuals, but we must embrace what is special in others, too. In a recent art class, we painted our unique characteristics on our faces, which taught us that everyone is special and that we need to respect each other in the community.”
Grade 8, De house
It is important that our pupils learn the value of philanthropy because it encourages mutual goodwill among all people. A spirit of goodwill allows us to shift our focus from ourselves to others. The Special Olympics Unified School project is an exploration for Huili School in public service. It also links our pupils to the society, making them more open and inclusive. We expect Huili people to bring this attitude to all future charity programmes.
With two successful fundraising projects launched during the Huili Charity Fund's first year, the Huili Community has made great strides in its charity efforts. Now in its second year, the fund has decided to involve Junior High pupils in the decision-making process. The idea is to get pupils thinking about how to develop sustainable charity projects. Under the leadership of housemasters and the support of the charity fund, Huili pupils will work in their respective houses to find new public service projects. Each house will explain the practical value of its project to get funding for it. The Huili community service CCA was set up to create collaborations beyond our own Huili community. We believe that it is important for Huili pupils to be exposed to diversity within society to enable them to develop a social conscience and act in accordance with moral values.
On Monday, the pupils took the first step to fulfilling this goal as they organised a drink stand for the workers involved in building the Huili high school. While participating in public service and preparing for high school CAS subjects, pupils are encouraged to think about the meaning and feasibility of these projects. Doing so broadens their horizons while it teaches them the meaning of public service. “On Monday, the pupils took the first step to fulfilling this goal as they organised a drink stand for the workers involved in building the Huili high school. While participating in public service and preparing for high school CAS subjects, pupils are encouraged to think about the meaning and feasibility of these projects. Doing so broadens their horizons while it teaches them the meaning of public service.”
—— FoH Charity Fund
Often, the journey is as important as the destination. We are only celebrating the Huili Charity Fund's first anniversary, but we are already looking forward to celebrating the tenth.
How can we better focus on the Huili Charity Fund's original purpose, which is to establish and maintain long-term charitable efforts? We believe Huili pupils have answered this question. They will continue to find more and more worthwhile projects and put their hearts into every charitable effort they set their sights on.