On 12th December 2016, the South South Education Foundation (SSEF) hosted a charity dinner on the theme of "Education: One Dream, One Future" in Hong Kong. Chairman of the SSEF Mr. Cai E-Sheng, Director-General of the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office in Hong Kong Mr. Sun Xiangyi, Secretary for Education of Hong Kong Mr. Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China H.E. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Ambassador of Djibouti to China H.E. Abdallah Miguil, renowned pianist Mr. Li Yundi, movie director Mr. Feng Xiaogang, along with over 200 philanthropists from education, political and business field attended the charity event to witness the achievement and pursuit of SSEF. Mr. Xu Haoliang, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Program and the Director of the Asia-Pacific Bureau, also extended his congratulations via video message.
"Education is key to sustainable development of human beings," Mr. Cai said in his speech, "Visions can be enlightened by knowledge, future can be changed by education. We, South South Education Foundation, also have our dreams: striving to improve educational infrastructure in the global south countries, connecting people, conducting education research projects and poverty alleviation projects, for a better world."
Founded in April, 2015, the SSEF is a non-religious, non-political and non-profit charity foundation approved by the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong. It has been devoted to promoting educational exchanges, personnel training, teaching equipment donations and specialized studies among South-South countries in order to promote sustainable development.
At the Charity Dinner, video of the South South Education Foundation reviewed the work of the foundation during the past year. The "One Laptop, One Dream" project, aiming at narrowing the technological gap between developed and developing countries, and inspiring children's dreams with modern technology, has been implemented in five countries including Bangladesh and Rwanda. In addition, the "South South Education program for economics and Finance" at PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University, aiming at training for financial elites in developing countries, has attracted more than 24 officials above the Secretary-General level from 19 countries and regions. Together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, SSEF set up the "South South Education Scholarship" in the Chinese University of Hong Kong to improve the disaster prevention via remote sensing technology for developing countries. The first four students from the Philippines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and China have successfully enrolled and enjoyed their studies in Hong Kong. Moreover, with world renowned experts such as Mr. Justin Lin, SSEF cooperated with School of Economics, Peking University, to collectively compile the "Annual Report on South-South Cooperation". Furthermore, SSEF also built the program "Minutes of Thinking on Chinese Characters" to help foreigners easily learn Chinese and get insights of the Chinese culture.
Dr. Biru Paksha Paul, Chief Economist of the Central Bank of Bangladesh, participated in the "South South Education program for economics and Finance". As one of the first alumni of the program, Dr. Paul attended this charity dinner, spoke on behalf of the class and expressed their gratitude. The training left him a deep and unforgettable impression, especially the rapid development of China. The practical and excellent Chinese spirit impressed him a lot, and communicating with trainees from other developing countries also benefited him greatly. "Seeing China’s growth story practically on the ground has been the most rewarding lesson for all of us. And we strongly felt why South-South cooperation in the fields of production technology and human capital endeavors is extremely important," said Paul.
Mr. Cai also pointed out two major programs that will be implemented by SSEF in 2017. One is "Education Connects People" and the other is "Education Fights Poverty". While continuously carrying out more international programs to promote exchanges and cooperation among South-South countries, SSEF will gradually launch more Chinese education projects. Focusing on the education disadvantages of the left-behind children, disabled people, and other vulnerable groups in the poor regions, SSEF aims to conduct the targeted poverty alleviation by providing more educational opportunities.
Regarding "Education Connects People", in addition to the existing projects, the SSEF will launch a project called "Development Experience Exchange towards a Better Future". The new project will build up a bridge connecting people through organizing educational forums, providing policy advices and setting up training centers in those countries along "Belt and Road". Regarding "Education Fights Poverty", the foundation will support the improvement of facilities and learning conditions in schools for left-behind children and special schools in China. Left-behind children will be provided with the "Family Call" and "Caring Mothers" for their physical and mental development. Poor teenagers can be financially supported for vocational education, so as to eliminate poverty.
A donation ceremony for the "One Laptop, One dream" program was carried out in the charity dinner. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China H.E. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Ambassador of Djibouti to China H.E. Abdallah Miguil, and Counselor of Sierra Leone to China H.E. Kamara Sahid went to the stage and accepted checques for 50 computer donation from the Chairman Mr. Cai E-sheng, Director-General Mr. John Wu and the Vice Director-General Ms. Jenny Yao.
During this charity dinner, renowned pianist Mr. Li Yundi performed a Chinese folk song "Wind and the moon" and an excerpt from Chopin's, expressing his love and support for education development in global south countries. Mr. Li has supported the musical education of Hong Kong youth in the past few years.
In the coming year, SSEF will continue to promote the sustainable development of South-South countries in accordance with the Goal 4: Quality Education in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".