Sumitomo has been providing school assistance to high school students in impoverished areas of Yunnan Province since 2008.
The Chinese government has been assigning domestic relief efforts in impoverished areas to various ministries and agencies as national projects, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been engaged in such relief efforts in Yunnan Province's Jinping and Malipo counties since 1992. Both of these counties are 99% mountainous areas lagging behind in economic development.
Because students from farming villages in mountainous regions must move away from home and into a dormitory to attend high school, meals and other cash expenses prove an obstacle to further education for children from impoverished households. Sumitomo Corporation's financial assistance helps resolve this problem by paying for dormitory meals and school supplies for economically disadvantaged students who have demonstrated a strong desire to learn. During the initial five years after the launch of the program, it helped a total of 1,800 students enroll in high schools, and 300 of them reportedly moved on to further education at colleges. The program supports around 300 to 400 high school students today.
One high school student receiving aid noted: "I thought my mother's illness would make it impossible for me to continue in school, but I've been able to continue studying thanks to this assistance." With its efforts also being well-received by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sumitomo Corporation is committed to cooperating in other future aid activities.
With few plains, farmland consists mostly of terraced rice paddies worked manually
With teachers and students at the Malipo Ethnic Minority High School
Letters from students detailing their school experiences