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Continuing to make a difference

Over the past 25 years, China in general and Shanghai in particular have developed at an impressive pace and living conditions have improved significantly. As the needs of less fortunate students have evolved over time, so has the focus of Shanghai Sunrise’s work.

When our charity was founded in 1996, national education laws had been in place for ten years making primary education until grade 6 compulsory and tuition-free. However, many families struggled to pay for other education-related expenses such as books, transportation and food.

Educational scholarships

Shanghai Sunrise’s mission has always been to give children from low-income families a chance at a brighter future by helping them stay in school. Initially, we dedicated the scholarship funds that we raised to primary and middle school students. In 2002, Shanghai Sunrise extended its scholarship program to high school students and later in 2005 to university students.

In 2008, the Shanghai Government extended mandatory education to grade 9, covering middle schools. As a response to this change in educational policy, Shanghai Sunrise decided to discontinue sponsorship of primary and middle school education.

Going beyond financial support

Besides providing financial support, Shanghai Sunrise has always believed in learning outside of the classroom and in personal development. Our student scholarship programs enrich the students’ experience and give opportunities for them to grow and develop their skills in the following ways.

Creating a sense of belonging and providing emotional support through the Shanghai Sunrise family.

Attending two student-sponsor events every year, which broaden their horizons, allow them to build relationships with someone outside their usual environment and connect them with peers who can relate to their challenges.

Participating in activities aimed at skills development including:

  • Career Day”, during which students hear about different career options and learn how to prepare for job applications.

  • Internship opportunities offered by several corporate sponsors.

  • An “English Corner” to practice English conversation with native speakers. In the early years, this used to be a popular picnic but recently, we relaunched this project as online sessions.

Past SHSR programs

Libraries: For 109 schools (mostly for children of migrant workers) without libraries, library books, computers and a piano were donated. Shanghai Sunrise raised 1.28 million RMB for this program. It was discontinued when the government incorporated these schools into their main-stream education system.

Medical fund: Over the years, 17 sponsored students who needed to undergo serious medical procedures received financial help to pay their medical bills. Shanghai Sunrise raised and donated more than 335,000 RMB to this cause.

Free eye-exams and glasses, which were offered for 5 years in the 2010s by a corporate sponsor from the vision care sector.

While the Shanghai today hardly resembles the Shanghai from 25 years ago, there are still numerous families who struggle to afford all education-related expenses for their teenagers. Together with our sponsors, volunteers and supporters, Shanghai Sunrise continues to work tirelessly to give these students a chance at a brighter future.


Celebrate Shanghai Sunrise’s 25th anniversary at our fundraising gala on December 4th:


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