Now, Couleurs de Chine is an NGO “renowned” for its know-how and efficiency. The legitimacy of its action is recognized both by the Chinese authorities: let us quote President Xi Jinping (speech of March 27, 2014 at the conference commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France), the Chinese Embassy in France and the local authorities of Rongshui and Liuzhou in Guangxi, as well as by the French authorities such as the French Embassy in China and the Court of Auditors.
The association is now accredited by the Chinese authorities, in accordance with the new legislation concerning foreign NGOs operating in China.
This recognition is confirmed by the 2,500 individual sponsors and the 30 companies that have provided long-term support to Couleurs de Chine.
With China’s development and, in particular, in disadvantaged regions, Couleurs de Chine’s actions have adapted to this new context and the association has been able to change its objectives accordingly
• The Chinese authorities have allocated more funds for the construction of schools in ethnic minority areas. To support these actions in Miao, Dong and Yao territories, Couleurs de Chine then focused on the development and supply of small equipment, particularly in the areas of school safety and hygiene.
• Over the years, more and more young girls, and more recently poor young boys, trained in primary and secondary schools thanks to scholarships granted by Couleurs de Chine, enter high school and then university.
Now, in addition to the basic logistical aspects that contribute to a sustainable schooling, Couleurs de Chine masters the accompaniment of a whole school curriculum, from primary to university, with a higher diploma, proof of the effectiveness of the process set up by our association, representing a social elevator for these young people.
Couleurs de Chine does not forget one of its original markers because the transmission of regional culture always remains a priority for the association.
Couleurs de Chine now has three main areas of local action:
•The first, turned towards the accompaniment of the young Dongs, Miaos and Yaos in their studies until the obtaining of a university diploma.
•The second, focused on the further improvement of educational premises.
•The last axis, complementary, aims to perpetuate and enhance the Miao, Dong and Yao cultural heritage.
Since 1998, Couleurs de Chine has been helping to educate girls from ethnic minorities in southern China and to promote the Miao, Dong and Yao cultural heritage. At the beginning of its action, almost no girl attended school.
The association is active in Rongshui (Miao Autonomous District) and Sanjiang (Dong Autonomous District) districts in Guangxi (Zhuang Autonomous Region), as well as in Congjiang District (Miao Autonomous Prefecture) and Qiandongnan Dong District in Guizhou.
Today, nearly 5,100 young people (mostly girls) go to school, high school, higher education or university thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and patrons. By the end of the 2016-2017 school year, Couleurs de Chine sponsored 3,492 students in primary, 1,119 in middle school and 472 in high school and university. In total, more than 12,000 students have been helped by the association in 20 years.
Compulsory schooling consists of primary school for six years, followed by secondary school for three years.
Depending on their results and the assistance that can be provided, students can continue their studies and continue to the general high school or the vocational high school, then follow a general or vocational higher education.
Thanks to the actions of the Chinese authorities, school fees and some living expenses have fallen sharply at primary level. They remain significant for many poor families because many costs remain at their expense.
Although there is still a drop in school attendance between the end of primary school and the beginning of secondary school, and between the end of secondary school and the beginning of secondary school, more and more girls wish to continue to secondary school or higher education, for general or vocational studies. Couleurs de Chine is willing to accompany its godchildren as long as they remain in the school system and their schooling is verifiable. The financing needs thus become more important, all the more so as living costs increase in the cities (where the most gifted college girls, high school girls and female students study). The quasi-assurance that their children will be accompanied to university by Couleurs de Chine is a strong motivation for families.
Couleurs de Chine thus contributes to the training of a local elite that will be able to preserve the cultural specificities of the region’s minorities.
More than 80 school buildings have been rehabilitated or built.
Since 1998, the association has had to deal with the serious dilapidation of several schools because of their age and because of the quality of the buildings which, in the years 1970-1980, was insufficient. The combined effects of girls’ enrolment and the increase in the school-age population have also led to strong demand in this area. Thanks to corporate sponsorships, associations or individual donations, numerous construction and rehabilitation, development and equipment projects have been carried out in more than 80 schools and school buildings (dormitories, refectories, etc.).
Numerous development projects are carried out throughout the year.Thanks to the collections of our relays, private donations and patrons, schoolyards, walls, sports and sanitary equipment are set up in villages and school buildings. The equipment necessary for the proper use of these buildings completes these projects. Over the last ten years, more than 200 projects have been carried out to improve teaching, study, safety and hygiene conditions for our sponsorees.
At the beginning of Couleurs de Chine’s action, the teachers in the region, most of whom were not permanent teachers, had a salary of about 200 RMB per month. They had few teaching materials and had to assume their responsibilities under difficult working conditions: at that time, the association financed additional training to enable them to improve their skills and receive a higher salary.
This era is over: today, there are fewer and fewer non-recipients, who remain poorly paid (500 RMB, 60 €) and whom we can be called upon to help, and the salaries of the incumbents are higher (1 800 RMB gross per month at the beginning of their career, i.e. 225 euros, 2 500 at the end of their career). Some of our godchildren choose a teaching career, follow a normal university course and return to the country as teachers or college professors. It should be noted that, except in exceptional cases, teachers from outside the country have a hard time withstanding the living conditions they encounter in the Miao country and leave as soon as possible for regions with a higher standard of living.
In addition to the construction and renovation of school buildings, Couleurs de Chine continues to finance the provision of school equipment, including tables and chairs, to schools in the region. Couleurs de Chine also finances the construction of teachers’ rooms located in schools.
Helping to preserve and promote cultural traditions.
The association also aims to help local populations preserve their cultural traditions. Couleurs de Chine typically finances the maintenance, restoration or reconstruction of community buildings such as the “drum towers” of the Dong or the “luchen pavilions” of the Miaos, but also by encouraging the wearing of traditional costumes, helping to set up troupes of musicians and dancers in schools, and assisting village festivals.
In 2012-2013, Couleurs de Chine accompanied the screening in France of Zhu Xiaoling’s film “La Rizière”, the first Dong language film shot near Sanjiang.
Couleurs de Chine has also supported the production of films, videos and television programs shot in the country of the Great Miao Mountains.
Donor-specific support for these actions has led to many achievements.