【China Daily】Monalisa smile, prompted by a charitable grant

From: 2016-09-22

Monalisa Singatini Sigauke, a 19-year-old from Zimbabwe, never imagined she would come to a Chinese university to pursue further studies - but that was before she gained life-changing funding support from China this summer.

After her graduation from high school two years ago, poverty at home meant that Monalisa could not afford to go to university. But, thanks to a scholarship program from Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group Co Ltd, Monalisa began her four-year undergraduate study at Ocean University of China in early September.

She was one of the 50 Zimbabwean students who were selected to study at the Qingdao-based university. Hengshun will pay their tuition fees as well as a monthly stipend of 2,500 yuan ($375). The students are mostly majoring in the Chinese language, international economics and trade and business administration.

The program is based on the Presidential Scholarship Program established by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 1995. Its goal is to assist the poor, disadvantaged and orphans who are intellectually talented, to gain access to tertiary education. But due to financial difficulties, the original program was heading for discontinuation.

"The timely intervention by Qingdao Hengshun is a blessing. The offer of this scholarship to meet the educational needs of the beneficiaries of the Presidential Scholarship Program is most welcome," said Christopher Chindoti Mushohwe, Zimbabwe's Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, in Qingdao.

Monalisa smile, prompted by a charitable grant

"President Robert Mugabe is most grateful to the Hengshun company and the government and the people of China. Hengshun has demonstrated a good example of corporate social responsibility," the minister said during an inauguration ceremony held in OUC on Sept 2.

Hengshun Zhongsheng is a company that focuses on electric projects and equipment. Since it was listed on the Shenzhen stock market in 2011, it has pursued the "Going Global" strategy and has diversified its core businesses and become an overseas developer of industrial parks, coal mines, power plants and ports.

In July last year, Hengshun Zhongsheng Group and other Chinese companies signed an agreement with the Zimbabwean government to build a special economic zone and an industrial park in Zimbabwe, to further stimulate the country's economic development and transformation.

In South Africa - during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg last December - President Xi Jinping and African leaders reached a unanimous agreement to lift the China-Africa relationship to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Training skilled young people was one of the key areas of the summit.

"In the context of new China-Africa ties and based on the industrial park project, we have decided to support 50 to 100 students annually studying in China for the next three years," said Hengshun Zhongsheng President Jia Xiaoyu.

Contact the writers at xiechuanjiao@chinadaily.com.cn and huqing@chinadaily.com.cn

Monalisa smile, prompted by a charitable grant

                                                                                                                               (China Daily USA 09/22/2016 page15)