A Lawrence University freshman is hoping to make the world a better place by embarking on the enormous task of helping rural students from all over the world become better equipped in school.
Last year, Andy Yuhan Wang created a nonprofit organization called the Andy Reading Fund, an initiative that seeks to provide school supplies to rural Chinese students, reported USA Today.
“I felt like I had the opportunity to enjoy one of the best educational resources in the world, but my peers in rural China need to walk miles to go to a school that is without adequate educational resources,” the 20-year-old was quoted as saying. “They don’t have well-trained teachers and sometimes they even don’t have electricity in some of the areas. I felt like I needed to do something for them.”
Wang, who grew up in a wealthy lifestyle, lives a life so much different from the students he is reaching out to. His parents are able to provide him anything he needed and could even afford to send him abroad for his studies.
His passion for helping kids developed when the Shenyang-native attended high school in Seattle, Washington. There, he began writing personal blog entries as a way to cope with the culture shock he experienced in his new environment. His writings would later become published in the book “High School Encounter: Seattle.” He plans to put all the earnings from his published book in his fund.
A visit to a school in rural China, however, opened his eyes to the harsh conditions poor students have to endure just to study. He found that some kids don’t even have access to basic items such as shoes and jackets to keep them warm during the cold months.
Wang then improved his initial mission of providing books to schools to give rural children other much-needed basic necessities.
He initially raised more than $7,500 in about a year, most of which came from the proceeds of his book. He used the amount to donate supplies to three elementary schools in rural China and learning tools to 52 students at the Chinyaradzo Children’s Home in Harare, Zimbabwe.
He also received an anonymous gift which he used to provide for some winter coats and shoes for the children at the Zuoguyida Elementary School in Meigu, China.
“Among all the students we’ve sponsored, I remember Ying the most,” said Wang. “She was a young girl in the poorer Liangshan area who received funding to attend high school. Her family could not afford to support her for high school, so she was very moved when she received tuition from the Andy Reading Fund. She kept repeating through her tears ‘I am so, so lucky.’”
Andy Reading Fund now has several chapters all over the world. Volunteers from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Canada, the United States and Russia organize fund-raisers to be able to sponsor a Chinese student. To cover for a student’s needs, the expenses range from $200 a year for an elementary or middle school student and $400 to $500 per year for a high school student.
Wang is eyeing at least 500 volunteers to be able to raise more money for rural students around the world by the time he graduates.