Spring Bud Blooms | Yugu ethnic woman shares love of Spring Bud Project


Over the past two decades, An Xuelian, currently a grassroots civil servant of the Yugu ethnic group in Northwest China's Gansu province, has grown from a beneficiary of the Spring Bud Project into one of its donors. Today, she shares her love of the program, and hopes to help girls stay in education.

An is from a mountainous village in Sunan Yugu autonomous county. She recalls that the villagers attached great importance to the education of their children. Her mother was no exception, as did her best to support her four daughters' education.

An's mother became the family's only bread-winner after her father was afflicted with a serious disease, and left unable to work. Life was hard for An's mother, as she had to raise four daughters, take care of her mother-in-law, do household chores, and earn a living to support the family.

To ease their mother's burden, An's three older sisters chose to quit studying so they could find work and help support the family.  

As the youngest child, An received more love and support from her family, and the opportunity to complete her studies. She showed a talent for studying, and always performed well at school.

In 2002, An's score in her senior-high-school- entrance exam was higher than the admission mark of both the High School Affiliated to Minzu University of China, in Beijing, and Zhangye High School, in Zhangye, Gansu province.

An told her parents the Beijing-based high school was her first choice. However, her family didn't have sufficient income to allow her to study in Zhangye, let alone the capital.

Due to her family's financial situation, An had to give up the opportunity to study in Beijing, and instead stayed in Sunan to study at a local school. After she heard from the school's administrators that she was eligible to receive subsidies from the Spring Bud Project, An was excited, and so was her mother. They were overwhelmed with appreciation for the support of the charitable project.

Over the following three years, the donor who supported An through the project often wrote letters to her, to learn about her studies and life, and to encourage her to be brave and fight for a better life.

In 2004, the donor visited An, and other beneficiaries in Sunan. An says she still has the red coat she received from her donor during that visit.

With the help of the project, An finished high school, and, in 2005, was admitted to Minzu University of China.

"My dream has finally come true. I felt incredibly lucky and happy when I stood at the gate of the university for the first time," An recalls. She made up her mind to study hard, in honor of the love and care of those who had helped her.

Thanks to her outstanding performance, An was chosen as a volunteer for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. An, as a representative of the Yugu ethnic group, was also invited to pose for a group photo with Xi Jinping, then a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on the eve of the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

After she graduated in 2009, An returned to Sunan, where she became a grassroots civil servant. An has worked hard and earned wide recognition from the people around her. For instance, she has cooperated with her colleagues to improve the one-stop service mechanism to provide efficient and convenient services to people and enterprises.

An is grateful for the project, and for the people who have lent her a helping hand. Several years ago, An contacted the local women's federation to express her desire to help a schoolgirl each year, by providing materials and mental support through the Spring Bud Project.

"I want to bring hope to underprivileged girls, to help them grow up in the sunshine and benefit from the Spring Bud Project," An says.

An Xuelian (left) takes part in a group-study activity. [CCTF]

An Xuelian (right) visits a schoolgirl in paired assistance. [CCTF]

An Xuelian (second from right) visits a herdsman's family. [CCTF]