Q1: Why are there so many AIDS orphans in Central China?
A1: During the 1990s, many poor peasants sold blood in central China to supplement their income. Due to unsanitary blood collection practices, many contracted HIV, resulting in hundreds of thousands of their children becoming AIDS orphans today.
Q2: Doesn’t the Chinese Government have some welfare assistance for orphans in general?
A2: Yes, but the definition of an “orphan” in China is a child who has lost both parents. Many of the children impacted by AIDS may have one or both parents dying of AIDS who are still alive. Therefore, they may not qualify for certain assistance for orphans.
Q3: Isn’t the Chinese Government doing something for the AIDS orphans already?
A3: The Government is becoming increasingly aware of the AIDS orphans issue, and has started to act. However, given the large number of these orphans and their rapidly declining conditions, the government efforts may not reach many children quickly enough. There are also programs that the Government does not handle, such as educational sponsorships for attending senior high school and beyond or efforts that require a lot of personal, hands-on care. This type of work, such as psycho-social care and vocational training, is traditionally better implemented by NGOs.
Q4: Isn’t education free in China already?
A4: In China, tuition is free for the first 9 years of school, from primary school to junior high school (9th grade). However, students are required to pay for their books and other miscellaneous school fees. We pay these expenses directly to the schools. We also sponsor children in senior high school and university that are not subsidized by the government.
Q5: How much do educational fees cost?
A5: Below are the estimated annual tuition/book/miscellaneous school fees for a child. Amounts may vary by schools, by grade, and family conditions, covering living subsidies or boarding fees on as needed basis:
One primary student: HKD 440 CNY 400 USD 60
One junior high school student: HKD 660 CNY 600 USD 90
One vocational student: HKD 4,600 CNY 4,200 USD 590
One senior high school student: HKD 4,800 CNY 4,400 USD 620
One university student: HKD 6,000 CNY 5,500 USD 770
Q6: Why should I trust Chi Heng Foundation to help these children?
A6: We are a registered charity in Hong Kong that is subject to legal accounting and compliance procedures. We use independent accountants and independent auditors.
Q7: How can I ensure my donation is going to children impacted by AIDS and not an official or middleman?
A7: Our own staff handles the distribution of all funds, and in the case of education sponsorship the money goes directly to the children or their families/guardians so that the funds are used on the children’s education. In special cases where funds are disbursed via trusted partners, audit trails are kept to ensure that the funds get to the children. No money passes through any official or other middlemen. Our administrative costs are capped at 20% and raised separately from education sponsorship funding, which means that your donation goes to the education sponsorship or psychosocial support programs to benefit the children.
Q8: Since the AIDS epidemic happened years ago, the wave of resulting orphans should be abating by now. Why do you still need more donations?
A8: The peak of blood selling did occur many years ago, but HIV has an average incubation period of 10 years, so the peak of people dying of AIDS only happened about 10 years ago. There are still many orphans from blood selling that we have not yet reached. Furthermore, the orphans who have come into our sponsorship early on are now advancing to senior high school and beyond, where the funds needed to support each of them go up by large amounts. Finally, because of our success and experience in helping AIDS-impacted children over the years, in recent years, we have expanded our services to similarly support other AIDS-impacted children outside the heavy blood-selling areas.
Q9: Is Chi Heng Foundation a religious institution?
A9: Chi Heng Foundation does not have any religious or political affiliation.