25th Anniversary of Revolving Fund for Mothers: Delivering Warmth and Assistance to Impoverished Women


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The China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) launched a charity initiative called Revolving Fund for Mothers in 1996. Over the past 25 years, the charity program has stayed committed to helping women shake off poverty, providing them with assistance in starting businesses and finding employment, and taking part in rural revitalization. It has developed a set of pragmatic approaches to help impoverished women get involved in socioeconomic development and become an exemplary case for governments, enterprises, women's federations, and social forces to jointly tackle social issues. From an initial fund worth one million yuan in 1996 to the annual distribution of financial assistance worth over 10 million yuan, the charity program has invested nearly 371 million yuan to help about 450,000 women become employed and lift 3.66 million women out of poverty in more than 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

Exploring an Assistance Approach to Poverty Alleviation
To better implement the key points of the Central Conference on Poverty Alleviation and Development, the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) worked together with the Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (of the State Council) to jointly launch a charity initiative Women's Action for Poverty Alleviation in 1995. As an organization under the direct leadership of the ACWF, the CWDF has been committed to solving pressing problems faced by impoverished women in their daily lives. It contributed one million yuan to fund small-sized loans, which ranged from 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan, for poverty-stricken women in three provincial regions in 1996, aiming to help them either find employment or become self-employed. The financial contribution marked the start of the charity program Revolving Fund for Mothers.
The charity initiative has followed the principle of sustainable development, which includes the distribution of small-amount loans, on-site poverty reduction and recyclable use. The CWDF has worked closely with local women's federations and other governmental agencies to visit candidate applicants, review application materials, guide and assess the progress of specific cases with rising awareness of services in a drive to expand the access of impoverished women to capital and other resources for starting businesses.
Thanks to its strong commitment, the charity program has received a warm response from people from all walks of life. The Preparatory Committee for the Handover Ceremony of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) donated HK$10 million. It was the largest financial contribution received by the charity initiative since its establishment. The past two decades and more have witnessed tremendous financial assistance given by firms and individuals to the charity program.
The CWDF has made consistent efforts to upgrade its approaches to support the national campaign against poverty in the implementation of the charity program over the past 25 years. For instance, it has adopted a market-oriented charity model on the basis of previous on-site household assistance to leverage the functions of professional associations, firms and industrial bases in the industry-driven empowerment of women.
Supporting the targeted poverty reduction initiative
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the CPC Central Committee has come up with a concept of targeted poverty alleviation and upgraded relevant working mechanisms, marking the prelude of a national battle against poverty in the new era. The charity initiative Revolving Fund for Mothers has aligned closely with national strategies and provided impoverished women with well-prepared and precise services and assistance through platform-based, digital and ecological innovation.
The charity initiative was upgraded into the @ Raise Her Entrepreneurship Plan in 2015, a closed-loop assistance chain that covers financial assistance, technical training, communication promotion and market guidance. The upgraded charity program is committed to providing women with comprehensive assistance in their employment and entrepreneurship and helping them become economically independent and achieve sustainable development.
The charity initiative has closely followed the pace of China's poverty alleviation campaign and become an exemplary practice for the country to lift women out of poverty over the past 25 years.
Starting a new chapter
The history and development of the Revolving Fund for Mothers charity program is a journey made by the country to help impoverished women lead a better life and realize their dreams. It has also represented the glorious efforts made by the CWDF to deliver the caring and warmth of the CPC and the government to millions of women and bring more tangible benefits to them through women-oriented charity initiatives.
Looking back over the past 25 years, the charity program has produced results in at least six different areas. More specifically, it has contributed to the inclusion of women in social governance mechanisms, promoted employment and entrepreneurship for impoverished women, expanded their access to financial assistance, strengthened the capacity building of officials from the grassroots women's federations in the coordination and implementation of relevant charity programs, and built a platform for women to take part in the campaign of poverty reduction and national strategy of rural revitalization. Meanwhile, it has made the caring and love of the Party and the government felt by impoverished women and all the people, boosted public enthusiasm for charity affairs, and accumulated valuable experience for the country to resolve the problems of imbalanced and insufficient development, narrow the gap between rural and urban regional development, promote well-rounded human development and achieve the goal of common prosperity.
The year 2021 marks the centenary of the CPC and the start of the 14th Five-Year Plan. After winning the tough battle against poverty, the Party and the government will further consolidate the progress of the poverty reduction campaign and advance rural revitalization in a move to achieve a historic shift of focus in work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers. The charity program Revolving Fund for Mothers will embark on a new journey, contribute efforts to the progress of poverty reduction, and foster internal motivation among impoverished women to take part in the development of rural revitalization in the new era through following the requirements of the rural revitalization strategy and improving service mechanisms.

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As a nation-wide non-profit social welfare organization registered at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) has dedicated itself to improving women's overall quality of life, promoting the development of women and women's undertakings and making its due contribution to building a harmonious society, since it was established in 1988.

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