HongMei Primary School serves the children of migrant workers in the outskirts of Shanghai. Some of the school walls haven’t seen a fresh coat of paint in more than five years, and the library roof leaks during the rainy seasons. With students and staff facing basic challenges like these, opportunities to provide educational lessons in STEM and environmental stewardship don’t often present themselves.
So when 60 UTC Climate, Controls & Security volunteers engaged these students directly through the Green Shoots program, they left an immediate and lasting impact on the children and the facility itself – making everything greener, smarter and safer for the future. Volunteers helped refurbish the school but also mentored students on the role their education plays in developing a future career path.
It’s a common story in China – families living in remote villages move to the city in search of a better life. While China has made extraordinary advances in expanding basic education for its students, many rural parents understand that urban schools provide far more opportunities for their children.
This is no surprise since students at rural schools have access to only two-thirds of the educational resources as their urban counterparts, according to the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Rural primary teachers are less qualified as well, having less than the national average in associate bachelor degrees or higher, according to the 2016 National Educational Development Review by the Ministry of Education of China.
This is one reason why, more than seven years ago, United Technologies founded Green Shoots to transform educational programs and environments in some of these neediest schools.
“I am really a fan of Green Shoots. We started by donating stationary and books, and teaching lessons about science and the environment. We also learn and grow with the communities we support – the best reward is the joy and excitement of the kids every time we visit,” said George Li, Vice President, UTC Climate, Controls & Security China.
“Social development is inseparable from technological progress and innovation. Indeed, innovation is the engine for development of all of human society. We are delighted to work with UTC to promote STEM education in China,” said Mr. Li Xikui, Secretary General, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
United Technologies is focused on creating real and sustainable change in the communities where we live and work. Since its first skill-based employee volunteering event in Xi’an, China in 2011, the UTC Green Shoots program has grown and expanded quickly from China to Asia and now worldwide, benefiting more than 50,000 students.