Felix, aged 11, with his older brother
On the eve of SOAR Foundation's 2016 Annual Fundraising Luncheon, the Foundation received a letter from Felix, who was among the few lucky students who have received the first SOAR scholarships in 1996. What has been the impact of SOAR scholarships on Felix's life, who is now a 30-year old business owner in China? Let us hear Felix's story, in his own words:
"Dear Sir or Madam,
This is Felix writing.
First, I would like to make a brief introduction of myself. I used to be one of the students supported by SOAR Foundation’s scholarships. For eight years I got a scholarship from SOAR every year from 1996, when I was 11 years old, to 2002, when I was admitted to college with a number one ranking in my county.
My hometown is in Northwest China, Gansu province, one of the undeveloped areas in China. I was born as the middle child in a poor rural family with three children. My older brother (pictured with me) was also academically excellent but never went to college because my family could not afford it. I was lucky to become the first group of students to get SOAR's scholarships starting from middle school, and my life has been totally changed because of that!
Now thirty years old, I am running a solar company as one of the partners in Guangzhou, the third biggest city in southern China. Our main business is solar lighting products exporting to developing countries, to brighten up the lives of the people who are still living in darkness, without electricity. I have also established my own young family here in the city.
Sometime, I would imagine what life would be like for me if I have not gotten those SOAR's Scholarships. Perhaps, I would still be working in the field back home, or maybe I would have become a worker on an assembly line. SOAR scholarships provided me with the opportunities to finish high school and go to college. The foundation also provided mentoring along the way on my journey. I have been keeping touch with Ms. Julia for 20 years, and she is my mentor from the SOAR Foundation.
With this letter, I would like to get reconnected with the SOAR Foundation. Although I am only at the beginning of my own business, and am still working for a better life for my own family, I want to become one of those benefited from the SOAR Foundation Scholarships to give back the gift of education to another talented kid in need, and I am hereby making a pledge to support one high school student. In fact, not only me, we have a big circle of friends, many of them are quite interested in my story as a student getting supports from the SOAR Foundation, and want to see what we can do to help on the platform of the SOAR Foundation.
Above all, please kindly reply with instructions on how we could help. For your convenience, I have provided my contact information. Please let me know if there is something more we can do to help. Thanks!
Over the past 21 years, SOAR Foundation's scholarships helped more than 8000 students just like Felix.