While many parents choose to live in Cupertino for their children's education, Shin Shin Educational Foundation brings Cupertino to rural Chinese children who cannot move here.
According to Shin Shin president Steve Ting, the nonprofit distributed 126 multimedia units to elementary schools in rural China in the past year, upgrading the school facilities with the latest technology from Silicon Valley.
Ting said Shin Shin has an e-learning program to help teachers and students of those schools apply high tech to their classes. The nonprofit also runs a teacher training program to improve the teachers' English and computer skills—English is now a required course at all elementary schools in China.
During his speech at Shin Shin's 15th anniversary celebration Saturday, Ting recounted the nonprofit's accomplishments over the past one and a half decades. What made him the most proud, he said, was that some college graduates who received Shin Shin's help as children 10 to 15 years ago are now returning to their former elemenatry schools to teach.
"These elementary schools are located in China's remote provinces such as Qinghai and Ningxia," Ting said. "They [the college graduates] are willing to give up big cities and go back there to teach. That shows how much they want to give back, to help children like what they were get educated as they did. I think it's terrific."
According to Ting, Shin Shin has reached all the remote corners of China in all the Chinese provinces and autonomous zones. He said, "About 15 percent of our schools only have a population less than 100."
In recognition of Shin Shin's tireless effort to promote education, which is one of Cupertino's core values, three of the city council members attended Shin Shin's anniversary dinner. Mayor Orrin Mahoney, Vice Mayor Gilbert Wong and Councilmember Barry Chang presented a proclamation plaque to Shin Shin.
Mahoney spoke at the event as both Cupertino Mayor and a Rotarian—the Cupertino Rotary Club helps Shin Shin with its library project while Shin Shin provides cultural guidance for Rotarians who visit China for other purposes.
On behalf of the Rotary, Mahoney said, "Shin Shin is our [the Rotary's] extension to China."
About the collaboration between the two organizations, Mahoney said, "We are making friends while doing good."
The Rotary offers funds matching for Shin Shin. According to Mahoney, a donation "typically gets matched over three times."
Saturday's anniversary dinner was also a fundraising event, where a silent auction was held and numerous volunteers received proclamations.
Ting kept expressing his appreciation for all the volunteers through the evening. In particular, he thanked the volunteers who had visited Shin Shin schools in rural China on their own expenses.
Ting said there are three major reasons for visiting Shin Shin schools:
- To bring love and care
- To see how things work
- To ask the schools what they need
As Shin Shin president, Ting said he visits some Shin Shin schools every year. This year he went to Xinjiang, which is the most remote province in northwestern China. Ting publicly thanked his wife for going there with him despite the difficulties of the trip.
After Ting's speech, the anniversary party went on with singing performances and dancing. The program host was Diana Ding of Ding Ding TV.