BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Inspired by Bill Gates' words that education is a tool for equality, a top student at the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China has created a website promoting philanthropy among high school students in China, the first of its kind in this country.
"My classmates and I are interested in philanthropy and dedicated to making a difference in our communities," said Tong Shangyuan, 17, a sophomore at the prestigious and highly competitive school in Beijing.
The website ( www.teenphilanthropy.cn) focuses on 13 topics, including charity news, opinions and sharing of information, and it aims to serve as a platform for students, parents, and others to promote and organize charitable activities and share ideas and information for better community building.
Tong had the idea for his initiative during a trip to Seattle in September 2013. Bill Gates had long been his role model and "hero," and the teen's visit to the Microsoft headquarters where he learned about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation further broadened his horizons.
"Expanding the influence of adolescents is better than just spending money on particularly activities," he wrote after the visit in an email to the foundation, seeking guidance.
Tong has found that it is very demanding to run his website, as he has to continue his academic studies and also cope with technical issues.
He spent much times improving the design and content of his website, and chose a photo of the Alps for his homepage because of the traditional Chinese saying " The benevolent is delighted in mountains."
Tong's parents played a big role in cultivating his passion for philanthropy. His mother and father were born in poor regions of China and always encouraged their son to support educational initiatives for disadvantaged group. And, in middle school, Tong tutored a girl, enabling her to dramatically improve her grades.
The teen's efforts have won support and recognition from school authorities and charity organizations. Li Bengong, chairman of the China Charity Federation and a deputy to the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress, said that China should promote values that encourage philanthropy - especially among the younger generation.
He also said that Tong's initiative "can help adolescents to better understand society and improve their sense of social responsibility and their problem-solving skills."