The largest corporate investment in preschool care and education in rural China was announced today by mobile technology leader Nokia and leading international children’s organization, Plan.
In a landmark partnership, Nokia will provide funds of over €6 million to enable Plan to dramatically increase its preschool and early childhood care and development programs throughout the country. The Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand Project will initially be piloted in six designated impoverished counties across the country and then expanded to include a further eighteen counties.
By the end of the project, more than 1,200 early childhood care and development centers will have been established throughout China offering care to more than 70,000 children. This initial phase of Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand Project will run for three years. Nokia’s goal is to make Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand Project a long term sustainable program under which several different projects can be executed over years to come. „Education is a core component of our corporate social responsibility program,” said Colin Giles, President of Nokia China.
„Children are our future, and success lies in investing in the future. The success that Nokia enjoys today comes from the support of Chinese consumers. As a responsible corporate citizen, Nokia is pleased to contribute to the care and education of disadvantaged children in China in collaboration with Plan China. Our goal is to create a better environment for rural preschool children. The Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand Project will improve the care and education system for disadvantaged children in rural China and create a more healthy and harmonious environment for them.”
„This is a great day for children in rural China,” said James Murray, Director of Plan China. „Currently, hundreds of thousands of rural Chinese children are missing out on opportunities because they have limited access to preschool education and care. Education has many benefits for the development of children in later life. This pioneering partnership will ensure a bright future for tens of thousands of children and stand as a shining example to others.” Statistics show that less then 35% of children in rural China receive preschool care and education, and most of them have no access to child-rearing programs.
„Child-rearing programs and preschool care and education not only benefit the children but also have a positive impact on society. With Nokia’s initiation of the Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand Project, a model of cooperation has been established in the area of China’s rural preschool care and education We would like to call upon more companies and groups to contribute,” said Zheng Xinrong, Head of Education Department, Beijing Normal University. Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Nokia Group, in China for the launch of the partnership, added, „Everyone deserves the best possible start in life.
This project will help open up new opportunities and experiences for many thousands of children in China. Connecting young people to care, a stimulating learning environment, and education in this way can have a very powerful impact and is something Nokia is proud to play a role in.” The landmark announcement was made at a signing ceremony in Beijing attended by Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Nokia Group, Colin Giles, President of Nokia China and James Murray, Director of Plan China.