To help children from struggling families get though school, the ACFTU implemented a programme in 2005 to help the poor finance the cost of education. Over the past nine years, trade unions have carried out a massive effort to raise money from a variety of sources and seek government support for the programme. Meanwhile, trade unions have set aside money from their Give-Warmth Project and other union funding to help such students to pay for college. To expand funding sources, trade unions have solicited donations from government departments, enterprises and individuals. Thanks to trade unions, grants and subsidies provided to needy students have seen a rapid increase, benefiting more and more students in need of help.
Trade unions utilize a range of other means to help poor students tide themselves over their difficulties. In addition to offering financial support, they pair up enterprises or individuals with students that are experiencing financial difficulties, seek donations of used books and school supplies, urge the government departments concerned to provide students’ families with welfare benefits, persuade school administrations to waive their tuition fees, apply for loans and arrange for students in financial need to participate in work-study programmes. What trade unions have done has won widespread acclaim not just from hard-pressed workers but all sectors of society.
In 2013, trade unions raised 1.17 billion yuan (about US$ 188 million) for the union assistance programme, handed out 1.14 billion yuan (about US$ 183 million) to students in need, put 684,000 children from impoverished families through school (including 216,000 children of cash-strapped migrant workers), put students on the work-study programme in touch with 28,000 employers and found jobs for 121,000 students at graduation.