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Charity Spotlight: CWEF
By Nov 24, 2010 Community


This Thanksgiving Thursday, Lune hosts a slew of local hot bands to raise money for CWEF, a Hong Kong-based charity that's with operations in Mainland China. It's a whole evening of altruistic giving, rocking, rocksgiving, giverocking, riving, gocking... yeah... with live music, raffles, and more. Cover is 50rmb, all of which is going to CWEF, but by all means, load up on raffle tickets to donate more of your cash.

Click here for the event details.

In anticipation of the event, SmartShanghai talked to CWEF's Joshua Lange about the good works they're involved with in China.

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SmSh: Maybe to start with you could introduce the charity. Whereabouts are you working?

Joshua: CWEF (Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation) is a Hong Kong-based non-profit that strives to improve the lives of the rural poor through education and community health initiatives. CWEF began work in Yunnan province and continues to have a strong presence there, but in recent years our work has expanded to Guangdong, Sichuan and now to Shanghai in China. We have also recently started work in Cambodia and Indonesia.



SmSh: What sorts of projects is C.W.E.F. involved with in the Mainland?

Joshua: In rural China, two major issues keep villages mired in poverty: limited education and unhealthy living conditions. CWEF is responding to these need in the communities where we work in a variety of ways:

Education -- CWEF provides scholarships to middle school high school, and university students whose families struggle financially to keep them in school. We believe education creates opportunities for young people to change their lives and create a new future. We have also designed a mentoring program which provides the support and confidence they need to complete their education and to follow their dreams, and we also provide other resources for rural schools, in the form of libraries, computer labs, teaching materials and targeted training sessions for local teachers.

Health -- Many of China's rural villages still do not have easy access to clean water. People in these villages spend hours every day hauling water back to their homes from the local source. Additionally, since getting clean water takes so much effort, sanitation and hygiene practices are not what they should be in these villages and the local people (especially children) are at a higher risk of sickness and disease. CWEF works with the villagers to build water delivery systems, making clean water easily accessible to each home. The benefits are cleaner, healthier lives and an increase in the village's capacity to earn money and save for their children's education.

CWEF conducts health training in rural schools which raises awareness among students and their families of how diseases are transmitted and works to establish healthy habits, such as washing hands and brushing teeth.

SmSh: What specific projects are you involved with in the city of Shanghai?

Joshua: We are partnering with a local migrant school in Jinshan district, and we plan to expand to several more schools in the coming years. In Shanghai, the government covers tuition for migrant students, but families are responsible for other school costs such as insurance, uniforms and lunches.

CWEF is providing scholarships for migrant students, which helps relieve the burden their families face in putting them through school. We have also supported an upgrade to the school's library, and have begun taking teams of volunteers to Jinshan on a regular basis to support the students' education through Saturday English classes.



SmSh: What other fundraising activities and initiatives have you been involved with in the past and how did you get involved with "Rocksgiving"?

Joshua: Earlier this year, The Chalet hosted a fundraising event for CWEF, which also benefited scholarships at the Jinshan school. Also, the annual auction for Concordia International School in Pudong has been an amazing source of support for CWEF projects throughout the years.

'Rocksgiving!' was the brainchild of my good friend Claire Barco. We started talking about it on the bus home from a rafting trip to Zhejiang province several months ago. Then we got Shanghaiist, BEAN, Lune, and four of the best bands in Shanghai on board, and here we are.

SmSh: In addition to attending the Thursday event, how can people get involved with C.W.E.F. in general -- donations, volunteers?

Joshua: You can donate to CWEF projects via our website -- just click on 'Give' from the home page.

As mentioned before, we will be taking English teaching volunteers to our partner schools on a regular basis, and these trips will be on Saturdays. If you're interested in joining us for one of the upcoming trips, please contact Josh Lange at shanghaiservice AT cwef.org.hk.

***



Rocksgiving is this Thursday at Lune.
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