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China: Around The Nation

Chinese retired teacher’s extended family raise 10,000 yuan for needy students

‘Yang Family Fund’ set up by Yang Zhenhai, 90, receives donations from 230 of his relatives from five provinces over three years in support of pupils at Changzhou school

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 2:23pm

A 90-year-old retired teacher in China set up a social media fund-raising scheme to help impoverished students that has seen up to 230 members of his extended family donate more than 10,000 yuan (HK$11,300) over the past three years, mainland media reported.

Yang Zhenhai, the widely respected patriarch of the Yang family, in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, had urged relatives using the WeChat messaging app to help him sponsor needy students and reward excellent teachers at the school where he once worked, the Yangtze Evening P ost reported.

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So far the Yang Family Fund has provided financial support to six students and made awards to two teachers for their performance at Zhulin Primary School in Changzhou.

The scheme has now attracted donations from 95 different families from four different generations of people who share the Yang surname.

“When it first started, the WeChat group comprised only my five sons and their children,” Yang said, “Then it quickly expanded to my other extended families.”

Donations now come from Yang’s relatives living in more than five provinces across the country.

The report said that since the start of this Lunar New Year holiday the total amount of money donated to the scheme had topped 10,000 yuan after the number of donors to the fund grew from 38 people from 14 families last year to 230 people from 95 families.

Donors are highly active during the holiday because they regard it as a time of giving.

Yang said the WeChat group now received numerous donation pledges every day.

Notifications to the family fund stating that “a donation of 365 yuan from Yang Yong has just been received ... A donation of 365 yuan from Yang Liping has just been received” were typical daily occurrences, Yang said.

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The donations were normally not less than 365 yuan, which meant people were willing to provide funding of at least one yuan a day for a whole year.

Yang said the family fund also served as a good reminder to his offspring of his late wife, who had lived a frugal, caring and hard-working life.