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Mezuo, left, and her 9-year-old brother, Meka, right, live with their aunt, in background, who has a mental disorder, in the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture of Sichuan province. Provided to China Daily
The One Foundation, the charity founded by film star Jet Li, announced on Thursday the creation of a program to help the country's orphans and other children whose parents are absent.
Thursday's announcement came at the China Charity Fair in Shenzhen.
Chen Hongle, the foundation's project director, said the new program seeks to help the 573,000 orphans under 18 years old and 570,000 other children who have no parents raising them.
The other children include those who lost their fathers and whose mothers remarried but didn't keep them; and those whose parents are both in prison.
Chen said 86 percent of the affected 1.14 million children are in rural areas, with the majority being in western regions such as the Tibet autonomous region and Qinghai province.
Chen said the foundation will provide children who don't live in orphanages or welfare houses with a schoolbag, which they call a "warm bag", with stationery, daily necessities and an e-book reader. For children in orphanages or welfare houses, the program will concentrate on their mental health and will give psychological support and advice, especially to those 15 to 18 and about to look for work.
The One Foundation is also considering building a network of orphan-related social organizations to make the best use of resources.
Yang Peng, secretary-general of the foundation, announced that this year's "Race for Love" marathon, a charity event that has already taken place for three years, will be on Dec 16. Last year's race in Yantian district in Shenzhen attracted 6,986 people from 21 countries and regions and raised more than 2 million yuan ($313,700), with all the money going to a program for autistic children.
"This year, we will run for the orphans," said Yang.
One Foundation was founded in Beijing in 2007 as a private fund under the administration of the Red Cross Society of China. In January 2011, it moved to Shenzhen and became an independent public fund.
The charity focuses on children's welfare, natural-disaster relief and professional training on public-welfare management.
The foundation always attracts attention because of movie-star founder Li, as well as its board that includes top entrepreneurs in China such as Wang Shi, board chairman of China Vanke, who also showed up at Thursday's event; Ma Huateng, founder and chief executive of Tencent, and Ma Yun, chairman and chief executive of Alibaba Group.
According to Yang, the fund has always adopted advanced ways to make its charity transparent and professional, including having China Merchants Bank take custody of the charity's money and having accounting firms audit its assets and release annual reports. The foundation conducts research and consults with experts in related fields.
According to an annual report provided by Deloitte in end of May, the One Foundation received donations of 108 million yuan ($16.9 million) in 2011.
(China Daily 07/13/2012 page3)