The Cool Mountain Education Fund is a completely volunteer-led, non-governmental organization with a sustainable communities approach. Our board includes scientists and professionals from the US and from Liangshan in anthropology, history, ethnobiology, and education.
First and foremost, we aim to improve student outcomes at all levels. While Yangjuan Primary School was in existence, we helped raise the enrollment of Yangjuan graduates in middle school, high school, college and trade school by providing scholarships to all qualifying students, and we continue to support students at schools throughout the Liangshan (Cool Mountains) region. We strive for equity by ensuring gender parity in scholarship gifts, as well as by focusing on Nuosu students, families and community. Along with equity, we are also driven to support higher quality education for more and better economic opportunities as well as preservation and promotion of Nuosu culture. Rural students need more preparation in early childhood, help to stay on track with their educational milestones, and more support to attain higher education. Students will also need to be prepared to contribute to the evolving Chinese and world economy. We continuously seek higher quality curriculum, linguistic inclusion, more access to modern technology, resources, more innovative teaching methods and the means to provide these tools and support to the residential teachers. Finally, we encourage teachers and students to use the shared, local knowledge of the Nuosu community to become more critical thinkers and informed citizens.
We embrace sustainable leadership. We believe that a generation of local, well-educated graduates is the best means to promoting sustainable development, and we look for ways to build the capacity of both local stakeholders (students, graduates, teachers, parents, policymakers) and the board of directors in order to shift the fund’s leadership to the people of Liangshan in the long-term. Including Nuosu scholars Dr. Aga Rehamo and Dr. He Wenhai as Board members, as well as involving Yangjuan graduates who are now teachers in our Pay it Forward scholarship program are important steps in this direction. We aim to be good stewards of all gifts by raising sufficient funds to have a meaningful impact in this community. We also aim to maximize the benefit of all gifts, by using low-cost and free web-based resources to manage CMEF operations.