On December 13th, the “2017 Charity Dinner of South South Education Foundation” was held in Hong Kong with the theme of “Education Transforms Lives”. At the same time, SSEF launched several charity projects for 2018, namely “Advanced Youth Leadership”, “South-South Education Program for Talent Professionals”, “Local Education Project in Hong Kong SAR”, and “Pre-school and Basic Education Program”, etc.
Mr. Cai E’sheng, Chairman of SSEF, Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice President of ECOSOC and Tajikistan’s Permanent Representative to U.N., Mr. Mario Pezzini, Director of OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary-General on Development, Dr. Bhekuyise Nicholas Mfeka, Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Zhang Zhiping, Vice President of SSEF, Ms. Yao Zhen, Director-General of SSEF, and other distinguished guests attended the dinner, witnessing SSEF’s achievement in 2017 and the launching of new charity projects.
In his speech at the dinner, Mr. Cai E-sheng, Chairman of SSEF, pointed out that education could not wait, and education was the right of all human beings. “There are a lot of countries and regions in the world that cannot enjoy inclusive and equitable quality education, especially those poor children in the most vulnerable group, including disabled persons, refugees and rural areas in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia. They do not enjoy the modern achievements of human development, and have been constantly marginalized in globalization until being abandoned in the modern society.”
In 2015, the United Nations launched the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which the 4th goal was “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.” The sustainable education goal has become a global consensus and represented equal education opportunities with which the international community provides the most vulnerable groups.
“Obtaining high quality education is the basis for improving people’s lives and achieving sustainable development goals”, said Mr. Cai. “The development of South-South countries is inseparable from talents, knowledge sharing and capacity building. Education is to train talents, raise knowledge level, and cultivate professionals in need under different social conditions.”
“SSEF is a platform to provide services, improve education infrastructure, research, and poverty alleviation, serve the society to show its care and support for South-South education, and promote sustainable economic development in South-South countries”.
Mr. Cai further said that SSEF had made many efforts in 2017. “We realize that only by transforming lives and connecting people through education can other interconnections become possible. SSEF will carry out more charity projects to promote education and people’s connection among South-South countries. At the same time, we will also carry out local education projects in Hong Kong to facilitate social mobility.”
Mr. Cai stressed that education was fundamental to every individual and to each nationt, and the Chinese leaders put forward that we should never forget our initial mission. “Our mission is to promote development through cooperation, make every child enjoy inclusive and equitable quality education, and build a community of shared future and common destiny.”
During the dinner, Dr. Li Jianhua, the former Deputy Principal of Beijing No.4 Middle School and Deputy Secretary of Party Committee of School of Mathematical Sciences, delivered a speech as a representative of SSEF 2018 projects cooperation partners. He agreed with SSEF’s vision of “Education Transforms Lives”. “We will complement each other in resources and form professional education management teams, in order to better serve education in China and the Global South.”
As one of SSEF’s beneficiaries, Dr. Bheki Mfeka, Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of South Africa, as well as a participant of the “South-South Education Program for Economic and Finance”, expressed his gratitude to SSEF. “It was our iconic leader President Nelson Mandela who said that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. SSEF’s ethos and activities bear testimony to the importance of education.”
SSEF also launched a ceremony of “One Laptop, One Dream” project in Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Malaysia, Laos, Moldova, and Guatemala, hoping that the computers will bring new hopes and dreams to students in these countries.
Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice President of ECOSOC and Tajikistan’s Permanent Representative to UN, expressed his sincere appreciation to SSEF for implementing Sustainable Development Goal 4. He also mentioned that he’d like to continue the close cooperation with SSEF in preparation of the High-Level International Conference to be held in June 2018 Dushanbe. “We’re confident that SSEF will continue intensifying its efforts to create more platforms for education.”
Mr. Igor Sarov, General Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of Moldova, wrote a congratulatory message to SSEF saying that “the generous donation of computers by SSEF, in accordance with the recently agreed MoU with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of Moldova, will be made available to the impoverished schools and students for whom better education serves as a powerful drive for change by maintaining their hopes for a better future, and will have a positive impact on the 2030 agenda.” He also mentioned the “South-South Education Program for Economic and Finance” held by SSEF and Tsinghua University, in which representatives of the financial block of the Moldova government got the rare opportunity to exchange views with leading experts in the financial field and learn first-hand information about China’s remarkable achievements. He looked forward to new areas of cooperation between Moldova and SSEF, for the benefits of all those whose normal lives were disrupted by conflicts or humanitarian emergencies, and for a better and inclusive world order.
Mr. Nicolas Cuma Vicente, Mayor of Santa Maria de Jesus in Guatemala, also showed his congratulations in the letter to SSEF’s remarkable results in such a short period of time. “SSEF has shown to be a leader in assisting developing countries in education. We look forward to new ways of cooperation for the benefits of those living in poverty with the dream and hope of a better and inclusive world.”
In 2017, SSEF donated hundreds of computers to students in 6 South-South countries through the “One Laptop, One Dream” project, provided 26 financial elites from 24 South-South countries and regions with an in-depth training of China’s economic and financial landscape through “South-South Education Program for Economics and Finance”, sponsored outstanding young professionals to pursue a master degree at the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science of the Chinese University of Hong Kong through “South-South Education Scholarships”, rebuilt the main building of Babie Primary School in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and cooperated with “Teach For China” to send 50 voluntary teachers for 2 years in hope of assisting the shortage of teachers in Guangxi. Meanwhile, SSEF also carried out “Learning Chinese with Fun”, “South-South Cooperation Annual Report”, and other charity projects to promote the education goal of sustainable development. Within two years since establishment, SSEF has launched projects in more than 50 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America, promoting “Education Fights Poverty” and “Education Connects People” in a broader geographic area to let knowledge lighten dreams and education transform lives.
Founded in April 2015, SSEF is a non-religious, non-political, and non-profit charity foundation approved by the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong SAR. SSEF is committed to promoting educational cooperation and exchanges, through talent training, technical training, equipment donations, research, and other education projects, improving the knowledge and technological capacity in developing countries, conducting extensive education projects for poverty alleviation, facilitating the “Belt and Road” Initiative and in particular people-to-people bond, enhancing mutual understanding and respect between China and South-South countries, and making efforts toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
“Education 2030” is an important guideline of SSEF. In order to promote the United Nations sustainable education goal of “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, SSEF will launch several new projects in 2018 while carrying out existing ones, namely “Advanced Youth Leadership”, “South-South Education Program for Talent Professionals”, “Pre-school and Basic Education Program”, “Local Education Project in Hong Kong SAR”, and “Training for Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. Mr. Cai E’sheng, Chairman of SSEF, Mr. Zhang Zhiping, Vice President of SSEF, Ms. Yao Zhen, Director-General of SSEF, Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice President of ECOSOC and Tajikistan’s Permanent Representative to U.N., and other distinguished guests activated the vision of “Education 2030” together.
Later, another important part of the charity dinner—live auction, brought the scene to the climax. To support education in South-South countries, guests enthusiastically bid for the auction goods, many of them sold at a high price. Eventually, the dinner raised over $37,800 thousands HKD, a record high.
During the dinner, Dr. Cheng Wai, one of Hong Kong’s most versatile and renowned pianists, played a beautiful piece of music in accord with SSEF’s education goals. Singers from the Hong Kong Opera also performed several songs to celebrate the event. With the beautiful melody, “Education Transforms Lives—2017 South South Education Foundation Charity Dinner” ended successfully.