We were all delighted to gather at the Hilton Shanghai on 27 November for our Annual Pairing Ceremony to welcome 83 new high school and university students to our higher education scholarship programme.
Our new Shanghai Sunrise scholarship recipients gathered for a group photo after a day of fun and bonding with their generous scholarship sponsors.
Held every year since 1996, this heartfelt ceremony provides an opportunity for students and sponsors to meet each other for the first time. It is the start of a three-year, or in some cases a seven-year relationship between student and sponsor. Many sponsors support their student beyond the initial 12 months, providing financial support until their student graduates from university.
Our Executive Director, Wendy Landy, opened the ceremony by welcoming guests and thanking sponsors and students for attending, acknowledging that the majority of students travel over two hours by bus to the venue. During her opening address she said, “Education is the common theme that brings us together today. We would not be here if we did not believe in the importance of education”. She added, “Shanghai Sunrise is very proud to enable people – such as everybody here today – to come together to celebrate education’s life changing impact”.
We were also thrilled to welcome one of our former students to the stage, Tao Jun Hua. He delivered an inspiring address to the new students, reminding them to work hard and embrace all the opportunities that the scholarship offers them. He said, “Being a sponsored student gave me a generous heart and encouraged me to give back to society”. Tao was sponsored from Grade 10 until graduating from university in 2013. He has been an active volunteer and is now a sponsor of his own Shanghai Sunrise student.
Students were introduced to their sponsors for the first time and invited to bond with them over afternoon tea and games.
Following the speeches, we all came together to enjoy afternoon tea followed by a series of games to encourage all our new students and sponsors to bond and interact. We also had some of our fabulous Volunteer Translators on hand to help the conversation flow. The ceremony concluded with a lucky draw and group photography.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered on the day to make this event a great success, and to our wonderful partners, Hilton Shanghai and St James Wealth Management.
Whilst this was a very happy day for all involved, it is important to remember that these 83 students represent only a small number of the financially disadvantaged applicants who reach out to us each year. Currently, the need for scholarships outweighs the number that we have to provide. But you can change this! To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please click here.