What is Wokai? Wokai is a web-based not for profit organization that allows people to contribute directly to microfinance institutions in China, which in turn lend the money to entrepreneurs in rural China. Based in the USA its core operations are in Beijing and it is supported by individual donors, corporate sponsors, fundraising events and grants. Wokai’s aim is to have a direct impact on the lives of people living in rural China, their families, and their communities. They utilize the principle of microfinance, by connecting Wokai users with with people in rural China who want to start small businesses. Often the loans are only small, and sometimes less than £200 but can make a huge difference on those that need to grow their businesses, repay their loans and lift themselves from poverty.
Wokai’s boast a 99.5% on-time repayment rate and at the end of the year, investers are encouraged to re-invest their contribution and help another borrower start a businesses.
Why is this a resource? Why not use Wokai as a means of focussing on ‘the other side of China’, namely lives of those Chinese people that are poorer and live in rural areas.
Who could use this? Lower High school (KS3) to Middle High (KS4)
How can I use it? Why not get pupils to individually research the Wokai website or alternatively display the key sections of Wokai on the interactive whiteboard. Why not look at the geographical areas in China that are rural farming and those that Wokai works with. In particular look at the loans
could be an easy article or resource – for students to see other side of China
Look at the images on Wokai: What sort of jobs do people need money for in rural China? Is it just for farming?
Look at other external articles about rural China and the governments role:
Guradian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/30/china-raises-rural-poverty-line and Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/12/chinas-poverty-line
Why not debate as a class such issues as:
Whether or not it is right for rural Chinese people to be funded externally.
Are the Chinese government doing enough to support rural China?
Loans versus charity money – what works best?