The Story of Shin Shin

Fourteen years ago, Grandpa Shao said, “The children in the ravine need a classroom filled with sunshine, not rains from a leaky roof…”. In 1997, Grandpa Shao and several other elderly Chinese Americans founded Shin Shin Educational Foundation in San Francisco Bay Area. They were determine to build schools for less fortunate children in remote or impoverished areas in China.

These overseas Chinese founders were mostly native in the Northeast China. They returned as a group to visit relatives there, and were deeply moved by the primary schools in remote areas that were still in very difficult conditions. After returning to the U.S, they set up a volunteer-based public organization, Shin Shin Educational Foundation. At that time, all the donations were contributed from their own savings and retiree premiums. In 1999, Shin Shin Educational Foundation began to expand and officially registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization approved by California State and U.S. Federal governments.

“Shin Shin” means prosperous and is named after an old Chinese motto:"A group effort will bring prosperity." We also believe in another Chinese motto: "It takes ten years to grow a tree, and a hundred years to foster a talent". Every existence shall leave a trace behind; every diligent effort shall have an influence. Shin Shin's mission now goes beyond school constructions/renovations, and also includes improvements in the facilities and educational programs. The ultimate goal is reducing the disparity in the quality of education between metro and rural areas in China.

In recent years, rapid developments in China brought Shin Shin many challenges. What are the real needs of the students? Where will the Shin Shin students go after completing elementary school? How can our actions be more effective? In a typical family in rural China, often times parents are required to travel to the city to work, while the children become the family adults. In poorer families, inevitably, the children are forced to grow up faster and become independent very quickly.

Every year, many Shin Shin volunteers and university students, both local and abroad, traveled from far away to visit these children and help them understand what it meant to be cared for and loved. With this support, the children were able to develop in their own way and move forward confidently with their lives. Grandpa Shao once said, “Every year, I made special trips back to my homeland, simply to visit these children, hug them, and chat with them. I know they will have a future because of education. Their hope of change is what drives me to continue my journey at the age of 80.“ Grandpa Shao traveled over 60,000 miles. He left his footprints in nearly every province in China. The journey through the winding country roads is certainly tiring, but in the eyes of the children in remote countryside, Grandpa Shao sees the future. With love and compassion, the children will grow up as strong individuals, who are willing to serve their community with courage and knowledge.

Grandpa Shao's effort was only the beginning, and hundreds of volunteers have joined the same mission. We sincerely hope that many of you will be inspired by Shin Shin's story to join us to enhance the education for underprivileged children in China.

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Shin Shin Story
Grandpa Shao's Journey