On Top Again | Open, Transparent – That’s How We Do It

January 6, 2017 – Jiemian, one of China’s leading media groups, has released their list of China’s most transparent charitable foundations, and Adream is in first place.

This isn’t the first time Adream has received the “China’s Most Transparent Foundation” award. Starting in 2011, Adream was labelled “China’s Most Transparent Foundation” by Forbes China four years in a row. It could say that openness and transparency are already deeply embedded in Adream’s genes.

In April 2010, Adream tested out the waters by releasing its first “Naked Report” in a press conference. This report was released according to the financial statement standards for listed companies, and disclosed the foundation’s financial data in detail – everything from the over 3000 projectors purchased to a 5.80 yuan socket. In doing so, we became the first charitable foundation to publish a financial report according to the publishing standards set for listed companies.

If it’s okay to just go by the general financial statement publishing standards listed in the Foundation Administration Regulations, why did Adream choose to use the publishing standards for listed companies?


“Finance helps people better earn money, charity helps people better spend money.” Pan Jiangxue, the chairperson of Adream, explains: the financial disclosure standards for listed companies are the product of negotiations between stakeholders of all sorts. These standards are systematized, comprehensive, complete, and convey a lot of information. “ Systematized disclosure avoids only reporting the goods news, and hiding the bad news. The accounting notes disclose every item in detail. The report not only shows what we are doing, it also explains why we are doing it, and how we are doing it.”

Because we insist on openness, we’ve become the only charitable organization known for revealing our own shortcomings.

Reading through Adream’s 2015 Annual Report, you can see the warnings given out by the board of supervisors: In 2015, the Foundation disclosed some risks that had been surfacing in internal procurements. Procurement risk management needed to be strengthened, and supplier risk management mechanisms also needed to be strengthened; After the education network strategy was proposed in 2013, by 2015 the management team had not made any progress, so they hoped to strengthen internal innovation, and watch closely for external opportunities; There was a large increase in employee turnover in 2015 from 2014, so attention had to be paid to constructing an internal career ladder, and we needed to focus on talent cultivation, and talent reserves.

Line by line, Adream was laid bare to all, with all its imperfections.

But, it is this imperfect foundation that has won the trust of our donors. In 2012, while charity donations were decreasing around the country, donations to Adream increased by 47%. In January 2014, the Foundation qualified for public fundraising, and officially became a public charity. In 2015, Adream was awarded the title of “National Advanced Social Organization” by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

As information technology develops, the cost of being open and transparent decreases for charitable organizations. Because of this, the value of transparency, which was once our core competitive strength, has been declining. So, we think that: with the new era brought on by the charity laws enacted on September 1, the core competitive strength of a charitable organization lies in its charitable services and products.

We will still hold to our principles of openness and transparency, while professionalism and effectiveness remain the core of our practice. These four words – openness, transparency, professionalism, and effectiveness – remain vital to Adream, and we will keep pursing them.

New Year Greeting from Adream


Dear Adreamers:

Time flies. We’ve been walking this road together for ten years.

What have we done over these years? The answer to this is getting clearer every day. Together, with Adream Courses as our medium, we’ve made competency-based education a reality and promoted the systematization of course development, especially in rural areas. We are truly making competency-based education happen, and we are giving our all to develop better, more equal education. With your help and support, Adream has given over 3 million children a chance to experience competency-based education in the classroom. Thank you for your generous contributions.

One’s basic morals, critical thinking ability, personality, and conscience are not formed in university, or after one starts working. These kinds of qualities and values are acquired during one’s formative years – during primary or middle school. But, even though there are already over 8 million university graduates in China, moral education at home and knowledge-based education in schools are still lacking.

Many people have been working hard in education for many years, but they’ve been working hard to teach children how to be good students… they haven’t been teaching them how to be good people, or how to be good citizens in the future. This is what I’ve personally witnessed in many places over the past ten years. This is why our basic education system needs comprehensive education. This is why Adream has continued to promote competency-based education over the past ten years. Because if we don’t do it now, it will be too late.

Competency-based education should be in every subject, not just in core or general classes. So, Adream’s theme for next year will be, “Thorough Development of Competency-Based Education – Building an Education Ecology Together”. By the end of 2017, we neared 3000 Adream Centers. From now on, we will be restricting the development of Adream Center construction, and not focus as much on speed. We will be improving the quality of the competency-based education we provide, and focus on ‘thorough development’, which is focusing on the professional growth of our Adream Teachers. This will not only improve the quality of Adream Courses, but will also integrate competency-based education into other subjects, effectively increasing the quality of education throughout the whole school.

We need to pay attention to the overall development of the school’s education ecology. For this, we promise to provide several new services:

1. The empirical study-based Seeing into the Future Research Institute and the newly constructed Adream Learning Community have begun operations. These organizations will help bring higher quality education to teachers and students.

2. We will provide professional training and financial support for our interregional teacher salons. We will allocate funds for programs initiated by the salons, and support the construction of online support networks for local schools so that we can promote competency-based education together.

3. We will complete and implement our 5-Star Adream Teacher training model to provide a professional development platform for teachers.

4. While improving the quality of our Adream Courses, we will also introduce more student activities based on Adream Courses to let students put what they learn to practical use.

5. Using the power of technology, we will realize data-based knowledge sharing. I promise that within one year, we will give everyone access to better Adream Box services.

Our foundation is like a prism for love. If you’ve studied basic physics, you know that when white light passes through a prism it becomes a rainbow. Adream acts as a kind of prism. Contributions from our donors are the white light we take in, and through our professional services, we bend that white light towards different parts of the education ecology, but instead of seven colors we get: Adream Center classroom construction, training for teachers and school officials, workshops for education ministers, competency-based education course development, funding for course activities, our foundation’s transparent operations system, and to spread our message about competency-based education. This kind of work will eventually come back to benefit our donors through developing educational ideals, and improving the relationships between children, teachers, parents, local governments, charitable organizations, and volunteers. Improving the education system makes your compassionate donations even more valuable.

So, on behalf of Adream, I want to thank each and every one of our dear donors, volunteers, Adream teachers, and Adream directors. Every one of you is a part of Adream, and is a part of our prism of love. We are letting China see true love! We are helping children see into the future!

Lastly, I want to wish everyone the safest, happiest, and healthiest of new years!

– Pan Jiangxue

True Love Empowers the Future | 2017 “Sharing Love” Charity Auction and Banquet Blossoms with Love

If anything has the power to break boundaries, it is love.

On the evening of November 4, 2017, Adream, together with CITIC Bank Credit Card Center and Shenzhen Wei Yue Creative Investment Co., Ltd., held the “True Love Empowers the Future” – “Sharing Love” Charity Auction and Banquet in Shenzhen. Nearly 300 industry elites, celebrities, and other professionals from all over the country came together once again to raise money for the construction of new Adream Centers, and help children grow up with self-confidence, tolerance, and self-respect!

Guests lifting their bidding signs to support Adream

This is the eighth “Sharing Love” since the very first in 2009. We owe each and every banquet to the efforts of countless people, and from every banquet emerges countless touching stories.

Sharing Love is Sharing Friendship

At the banquet, four elegant figures drew a lot of attention: Liu Man, Mai Guangli, Li Qing, and Chen Xinru – Adream’s super fundraisers and chairpersons of the fund development committee. For Adream, they are icons of love and honesty, gathering people from all walks of life, including their own friends and family, to act together for love.

Together, they spent over a half year working on item collecting, guest invitations, venue decoration, event planning, and so on, just for tonight’s banquet. They personally handled all of the planning, and pored over every detail, all to make this event a success.

The Four Adream Goddesses – Li Qing, Liu Man, Mai Guangli, and Chen Xinru (From Left to Right)

“Even though it’s the night of the banquet, I still see Liu Man running everywhere, too busy to eat or drink”

“Even though it’s the night of the banquet, I haven’t seen Ms. Mai leave the stage even once.”

“Even though it’s the night of the banquet, I haven’t seen Ms. Li Qing and Ms. Xinru take a rest. They’ve been greeting and thanking people this whole time.”

They are truly Adream goddesses. Ten years of persevering on the road of charity is evidence of ten years of friendship. Their love and charm has infected everyone!

“Change starts from the building of each Adream Center, lets us walk with our heads held high, and helps us win the next ten years.” Liu Man said.

“I’ve been lucky to be walk with Adream and many people here tonight over the past ten years. I hope we can walk together for another ten years. Another twenty years!” Mai Guangli said.

“We hope to influence even more people with the achievements we have been lucky to have made so far through the practical actions of ourselves, and our friends. Your support will always be what keeps us moving forward.” Li Qing said.

“Love is priceless, but love has a cost. Only a rational mind can support a tender heart. As a member of the development committee, I want to provide excellent supervision and feedback for every one of our donors.” Chen Xinru said.

Sharing love is sharing friendship. As the goddesses said: “Together, we are amazing!”

Sharing Love is Sharing Faith

The chairperson of Adream, Ms. Pan Jiangxue, also delivered a speech during the banquet. She said: The meaning of education lies in giving people the choice and the power to change their destiny. Adream is dedicated to promoting fair, competency-based education. We hope to help every student learn well. To not only give them knowledge for tests, but also to give them a healthy mind, and a complete personality so that they can bravely face the future challenges in their lives.


Ms. Pan Jiangxue, Chairperson of Adream, at the 2017 Sharing Love Charity Auction and Banquet

Sharing love is sharing faith. As Pan Jiangxue said: Giving children choices and courage is the meaning of education. This is the value of Adream!”

Sharing Love is Sharing Trust

We have had many donors and volunteers by our side over the past ten years. We have fought together, and supported each other. With their help, a tiny dream to help students has grown into the shared mission of 840,000 donors – developing competency-based education, promoting balance in education, and promoting social progress through education!

(From Left to Right) Famous pianist and super consultant Mr. Zhao Yinyin, Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee Ms. Liu Man, Chairperson of Adream Ms. Pan Jiangxue, famous actress and Adream board member Ms. Chen Shu, Vice Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee Ms. Li Qing, and Northern Lights Venture Capital Investor Mr. Deng Feng at the banquet.


Thank you to all the volunteers who have supported “Sharing Love” over the years. You are giving 3,100,000 children a better tomorrow, giving them love, and a dream. The road ahead may be bumpy, but with your trust, Adream can keep moving forward. Thank you to all compassionate people for your generosity and dedication.

Sharing Love is Sharing Companionship

With auctioneer, donator, and veteran volunteer Zheng Xiaoxing as the night’s MC, the first item up for bid – “The Dream in your Heart” performed by children from the Shenzhen Vanke City Experimental School – collected continuous donations, finally reaching a historic grand total of RMB 4,200,000.


Second Generation of Adream – Zeng Tongxin singing “The Dream in your Heart”


The band formed by three children, SIX ONE, also performed the song “Glory Years”, winning unanimous praise and raising a total of RMB 2,100,000 in donations.

Zeng Ziwei, Lin Zeen, and Zhuang Qi of SIX ONE performing “Glory Years”

Compassionate donors from all walks of life donated over 50 precious paintings, sculptures, antiques, jewelry, and other such luxury goods for the night’s auction. Including the silent auction and off-site donations, total fundraising amounted to RMB 51,800,000 – a new record for “Sharing Love!” This means we can match funding for the construction of over 500 new Adream Centers, and help more than 500,000 additional children.

As Liu Man announced the night’s total, she couldn’t hold back her tears of joy. She said, “As in the lyrics for “Chinese Love and Dreams”: Chinese love and dreams have never changed – and after ten years, Adream has never changed! Thank you to every Adream partner. Your support has made this a marvelous night!”


The four Adream goddesses and lovable volunteers together on-stage to announce the night’s fundraising total

Ten years, never forgetting our goal, calling to the future; Ten years, thanking those who walked with us, creating a boundless future; Ten years, giving our all for love, empowering people to see into the future. As Albert Camus once said, “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” True love is boundless, it empowers the future. Hope for every voice of love to be forever passed down, hope for every dream to shine brilliantly.


This year’s Sharing Love Charity Auction and Banquet raised a total of RMB 51,800,000, setting a new record.

Special Thanks

Liu Man, Founder of Adream, Director, Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee, General Manager and Board Member of the China International Capital Corporation, Business Equities Department

Li Qing, Vice Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee, Chairperson of Shenzhen Wei Yue Creative Investment Co., Ltd.

Mai Guangli, Vice Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee, Chairperson of the Overseas Chinese Town Swan Castle Club

Chen Xinru, Vice Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee, CEO of Shenzhen Yuanzheng Investment and Development Co., Ltd.

Bai Hongbiao, Famous Actor

Chen Shu, Honorary Board Member of the Adream Foundation, Adream Pioneer, Famous Actress

Chen Yongge, Famous Director

Chai Sen, President of Thunder Tiger Robot Industry Co., Ltd.

Deng Feng, Founder and General Manager of Northern Light Venture Capital, Famous Investor

Fan Deng, Sponsor of the Fan Deng Book Club, CCTV Host

Gao Xiaosong, Famous Musician

Hu Haiquan, Famous Singer

Juan Zi, MC

Li Ming, Famous Actor

Liu Jing, Vice Chairperson of the Adream Fund Development Committee

Ren Quan, Famous Celebrity

Ren Zewei, Famous Actor

Sun Weimin, Vice President of the Suning Business Group

Sun Nan, Famous Singer

Xu Qianya, Famous Singer

Xu Xia, Famous Singer, Vice Chairperson of the Shenzhen Musicians Association, Art Director for the Shenzhen Grand Theater

Xiao Peng, MC

Yang Zhongguo, President of the China Silver Land Investment Group

Yang Xiangyang, President of the Shenzhen Municipal Government Investment and Development Co., Ltd.

Yang Jianheng, Owner of Sunsing Tea

Zheng Haitao, President of Shenzhen Jiufu Investment Consultants Co., Ltd.

Zheng Shaoxing, Famous Auctioneer

Zheng Weihe, Huang Li, Shenzhen Tongchuang Wai Yip Asset Management Co., Ltd. CEO, Founding Partner

Zhao Yinyin, Famous Pianist

Zuo Jin, Famous Artist

Zhang Wei, President of Cheng Tai Information Technology Co., Ltd., President of Mana Garden, Founder of the Mana Foundation

(The above list is sorted alphabetically by last name)

Special thanks

CITIC Bank Credit Card Center Ai · Xin · Hui, China UnionPay, China International Capital Corporation Limited, Shenzhen Wei Yue Creative Investment Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Xiang Shehui Restaurant Management Co., Ltd., Yuanzheng Investment Development Co., Ltd., Jiu Fu Investment Advisory Co., Ltd. , China Silver Land Investment Co., Ltd., Thunder Tiger Robot Industry Co., Ltd., China Merchants Fund Management Co., Ltd., Tongchuang Venture Capital Co., Ltd., Northern Light Venture Capital Co., Ltd., Suning Cloud Commerce Group Co., Ltd., Yingxiang Co., Ltd., Golden Land (Group) Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Art State Art Center, Excellence Home Group Co., Ltd., Four Seasons Hotel, Shenzhen Orange Vientiane Communication Co., Ltd., Shanghai West Street Information Technology Co., , Shenzhen Times China Entertainment Media Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Shandai Tea Industry Chain Co., Ltd., Otto Packaging and Transportation Co., Ltd., Shenzhen City, Shenzhen Runzhiyuan Potable Water Technology Co., Ltd., First Road Show, Shenzhen Yuanyehua Co., Shenzhen Mingshang View Advertising Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Inspire Advertising Co., Ltd., EBEY Information Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., Greater China Overseas Chinese Cultural Exchange Base

Changing China: Education Reform in the World’s Largest System

There has been a great deal of press in recent weeks about the future direction of China and its government. With the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress in Beijing, followed by President Trump’s visit, much of the discussion in the U.S. media has focused on China’s potential positions on international affairs, military strategy, and economic policy. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to the changes underway in China’s educational system. But alongside the other strategic shifts, the tremendous educational changes taking place—and their close connection to the nation’s vision for the future—will play a key role in China’s destiny.

As educators, we were interested to learn about these educational changes and through Eisenhower Fellowships had the opportunity to spend this past June in eight cities across China. We met with national and provincial education leaders, professors in schools of education, principals, teachers, students, and heads of non-governmental organizations. We spoke with all of them about the changes in elementary and secondary education in China. In the sections that follow, we will introduce you to three people and places that illustrate three essential transformations taking place in China’s education system—curiosity, critical thinking, and inclusion. These three shifts are positioning China to move, as we often heard, from an economy where things are “made in China” to one where things are “designed in China.” This direction suggests that in the future, Chinese children will compete with their Western counterparts on much more familiar terrain, with experiences and habits of mind that are more similar to those in the U.S. than ever before.


As China achieves its 20-year goal (set in 1998) of providing free education to all 300 million students in first through ninth grades, inequities in public education are increasingly apparent. Much like the U.S., China’s education system relies primarily on a regional tax base for funding, resulting in schools whose physical environments and materials vary widely. Shirley Pan, a former investment banker, recognized that these kinds of inequities tend to stifle natural curiosity among children in schools with few resources and are likely to limit their future options. Understanding the importance of curiosity, an attribute not previously encouraged in China’s education system, Pan created the Adream Foundation, with the mission to cultivate curiosity in children in poor communities across China.

Adream builds special classrooms, or “dream centers,” inside traditional schools. Each dream center is equipped with books, brightly-colored furniture, computers with internet access, and a podium from which students are encouraged to share their ambitions. Specially trained teachers transform from lecturers and disciplinarians into “guides,” helping students navigate innovative projects that articulate who they are, where they want their careers to lead them, and how they plan to get there. Inside the dream center, there is no judgment or correction. Excitement, curiosity, and passion—new and emerging values for the Chinese education system—are encouraged instead. Adream has already built 2,700 dream centers across China, serves more than 3 million children, and is growing fast.

Students at Taiping Middle-Senior High School working in small groups.

Critical Thinking

The Taiping Middle-Senior High School educates about 1,400 students in a poor rural community 40 minutes outside Chengdu in Sichuan Province. This school has adopted a new mode of instruction known as Dao Jiang Ping or DJP, promoted by Wang Fuying, a master teacher in the region. This approach gives students unprecedented opportunities to ask questions, encourages students to collaborate and problem solve, and requires teachers to engage in ongoing evaluation of their instruction and impact. During a visit to a tenth grade Chinese literature class, the teacher animatedly posed questions about the text, and asked student volunteers to perform sections of the text in ways the characters may have sounded. Students worked in small groups to discuss which elements of the author’s experience were similar to their own cultural background and which were different.

Dr. Zheng Hong and Kelly Davenport talking in an office at Dandelion School.


Forty-two miles from the center of Beijing, in the city’s Daxing District, sits the Dandelion School. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Zheng Hong, Dandelion is a residential school for low-income migrant children whose families have left China’s underdeveloped rural areas to seek greater economic opportunities in the nation’s capital and China’s third largest city. Public schools will not serve these children because they do not possess the appropriate hukou, or residency card. Without Zheng Hong’s dedicated and persistent work to build and lead the Dandelion School, these children might have no access to school at all.

The reason behind the school’s name? The dandelion, Dr. Zheng says, is a perfect image to convey the strength, beauty, and large number of children whose lives are fractured by the realities of migrant life. While migrant and other minority students may have been ignored in the past, increasingly there are entrepreneurial efforts to educate all of China’s children, wherever and whoever they are.


While we have focused on three fundamental changes underway in China’s elementary and secondary education system, it is important to note that the vast majority of schools in China still use an approach in which teachers lecture and students listen—starting in first grade. There are still huge inequities in China’s educational system, and many children without access to the opportunities they deserve—much like in the U.S. But the changes we saw and described above are real, and they are gaining traction in China. If we want the U.S. to continue to be a place where things are made and designed, we would also do well to consider the ways in which our education system is, or is not, changing.

Kelly Davenport and Elliot Weinbaum are 2017 Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellows. Elliot is the Program Director for the education program at the William Penn Foundation, seeking to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children in low-income families in Philadelphia. Kelly is the Network Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Build the Future, a non-profit organization supporting the Freire Charter Schoolsnetwork, which helps low-income students further their achievement, advancement, and joy in school, society, and life. Visit Freire Charter Schools on Facebook and Twitter.

Eisenhower Fellowships is a global network of leaders committed to creating a world more peaceful, prosperous and just. The Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellowshipprogram is run in partnership with the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Build the Future, the William Penn Foundation, Eisenhower Fellowships, CEAIE, the organizations’ staff, or the fellowship network.

Adream Chairperson and Cross-boundary Charity Activist Pan Jiangxue Receives the “Charitable Person of the Year” Award -The 4th CCTV Charity Night


Educational Assistance – A beautiful school is not everything

Only by arousing students’ passion can we renew their interest in learning

Business ideas are the key to success as a charity

Your cross-boundary work has started a new season

Lift your head and see the budding leaves blowing in the wind

On August 23, at the recording of the 4th CCTV Charity Night, the Chairperson of the Adream Foundation and Cross-boundary Charity Activist Pan Jiangxue was honored with the “CCTV Charitable Person of the Year” award. Environmental Protection, Education Assistance, Poverty Alleviation, Elderly Care, and Disability Assistance were the five main themes of the night, and in the Education Assistance field, Adream has been using forward-looking business concepts, cross-boundary empowerment exploration, and diverse sharing connections to start a new season for charitable education organizations.


We live in a diversifying, individualized era. Even in charity, there is a large call for diversified values. When the list of award recipients is revealed, every charitable person of the year has their own story about moving people through their outstanding contributions. Every one of them represents different aspects and different views on charity. If you look at Adream, it is exploring cross-boundary empowerment, it is business models turned into effective practice. As Pan Jiangxue has said, this is the aspiration of a charity entrepreneur who has done charity for ten years, this is the breadth and depth of a life under a framework of diversified thinking.

During the award ceremony, Pan Jiangxue said “Charity… is a very, very professional affair. Charitable organizations are social organizations, they are platforms for bringing together philanthropy and morality, so how can we give society a clean, transparent answer sheet for love?”


When love grows until it becomes borderless, the world will become more beautiful. On September 5, 2017, just a few hours after China Charity Day, CCTV will hold the 4th CCTV Charity Night, and conduct the “Ten Charitable People of the Year” awards ceremony.

Thanks to those who have been with us for the last ten years!

As abject poverty gradually continues to disappear, unequal access to educational resources is becoming the biggest remaining imbalance within society. As old slate desks and dilapidated classrooms are replaced by national investment in new educational facilities, we still see that our vision is growing narrower, our ideas are becoming obsolete, and that we lack gentleness in our educational environments. As educational models that only teach children to repeat rote knowledge are killing students’ passion and imagination, we are trying to go back to the roots of education, and look after all aspects of children’s growth.


From the beginning, we have been motivated by our hopes for this beautiful world, the discovery of enjoyable education, and concern for children’s rounded development. Adream has made the development of competency-based education, promoting balance in education, and helping children grow up with self-confidence, empathy, and dignity our missions over the past ten years. We have already helped over three million children spread their wings, dare to dream and envision their future.


If one was to take a look from 2007 to 2017, through these ten years of Adream, one would find that it is essentially a record of the implementation of competency-based education in China. Under the leadership of the Adream Foundation’s founder, Pan Jiangxue, and with the support of all Adream partners, we have built ourselves up from nothing. From our start as one small library in a village school, Adream has grown to cover 31 regions across China. We have grown from step-by-step exploratory implementation to a steady developmental system. We moved from our v1.0 “Starting to Learn” to v2.0 “Learning Well”, and are now moving into v3.0 “Well Learned” though relentless innovation. From the beginning, we have followed the concept of “Public Transparency, Effective Professionalism”, and have won the honor of being named the Most Transparent Charity in China by Forbes Magazine (China) four years in a row. In 2016, we also placed #1 on Jiemian’s list of the most transparent charities in China.


We’ve been following the path our hearts, our dreams, and our callings have lead us down for ten years and children’s competency-based education has become a cornerstone for all Adream partner’s efforts to look after our youth. From the start, we’ve all been in the same boat. No matter the weather, we continued down this path together for over a decade, and together we bore witness to the efforts made to cultivate competency-based education in China. In life, there is no wrong path, every step we take counts.


Ten Years – Adream has encountered countless thought-provoking people and stories, and at the same time written the history of helping children’s dreams enter the reality of love

Ten Years – 3650 Days

Ten Years – Adream’s total donations from all our compassionate donors reached 466,000,000RMB

Ten Years – Adream has built over 3000 Adream Centers, our laboratory for competency-based education

Ten Years – Adream has developed 31 Adream Courses to give students more diverse outlooks, self-confidence, and innovative thinking

Ten Years – Over 100,000 volunteers from private enterprises donated a combined total of over 50,000 hours of their time

Ten Years – Adream has empowered over 120,000 teachers, benefitting over 3,000,000 students

Ten Years – Over 60,000 people have received training as part of our Adream Coach plan

Education is a kind of calling. If we want to help children grow up with confidence, empathy, and dignity we can’t only rely on our own efforts, or the efforts of only one generation of people. This is a slow process that requires all sides to work together. Every talented person is someone who benefitted from their education, and should be someone who supports and repays that education system.


Adream persists, and we thank all our family members and friends who have given us support over these ten years.

Adream persists, and we thank all the local governments and education bureaus who have worked hard to push forward competency-based education over these ten years.

Adream persists, and we thank all the corporate and personal donors who have helped us over these ten years.

Adream persists, and we thank all the teachers who have held fast to Adream, and cherished their students’ dreams over these ten years.

Adream persists, and we thank all our friends, both online and offline, who have been following over these ten years.

Adream persists, and we thank our volunteers for practicing what they preach and giving their invaluable support to us over these ten years.

Finally, we must also thank ourselves – Adream, from the start, we’ve been rushing in headfirst with determination, and an unerring sense of purpose.

Society’s exploration of competency-based education is still ongoing, so Adream must also unceasingly keep moving forward. Everybody will find their own role to play, this is not only the responsibility of wealthy people, and first-world countries. These values, from top to bottom, cast light on every Adreamer’s shadow. In China, competency-based education is fighting to give every child an equal chance, to offer a place for empowering children, and to give children’s dreams the chance to grow. It is empowering children with the courage to explore the unknown, then from there see into the future and create a dream they can call their own.

We are driven forward only by love and dreams. We hope more and more people who are interested in changing education in China will come to us of their own accord and practice what they preach by joining in our activities so that we might mutually benefit. In a competency-based education space like our Adream Centers, where we provide a warm, unbounded study environment, they can empower more and more students with self-confidence, dreams, and courage. They can help students face the future, dare to seek the truth, be loving, and chase their dreams.

Adream’s script is still being written

Love’s story is still playing out

These brilliant displays

Belong to the children

And belong to every single

Member and friend of the Adream Family

That you and I have invested in

Ten years of Adream

Started from the Heart

Adream Persists

In the years to come, please stay addicted to Adream!

Education Charity Struggles to Soar Amid Rural Brain Drain

The Adream Foundation serves 3 million underprivileged students but is hampered by top teaching talent fleeing to cities.

By Lu Hongyong

Tears welled up in Luo Maoling’s eyes as he addressed the small crowd at the summer camp’s closing ceremony. Over 70 longtime donors to the Adream Foundation had come to the city of Barkam, their families in tow, to participate in the four-day camp. Now the deputy head of the local education authority, Luo has witnessed the charitable foundation’s arc since its pilot program launched in the city of around 55,000 a decade ago. “I was ashamed that we had not implemented the program well,” he said. “We could have done a better job of making ourselves worthy of all these donations.”

Barkam is nestled in the mountains of Sichuan province in southwestern China. It’s predominantly populated by Tibetans, though residents are fairly spread out: The city occupies an area roughly the size of Shanghai but is home to about 0.2 percent of the larger city’s population. When an 8.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the province in 2008, Barkam was mostly spared. Of the estimated 87,600 who died, the quake claimed just eight lives from Barkam, which was only a few hours’ drive from the epicenter but protected by a mountain ridge. Three months before the earthquake, Adream opened its first “Dream Center,” a sort of high-tech reading room for Barkam’s young students.

A decade later, you can still see signs of the earthquake in the mountains lining the raging, lead-colored rivers that snake through that part of the province. Since its founding, Adream has expanded from a single pilot project to 15 schools in the area and countless others across China, contributing the equivalent of 3 million yuan ($446,000) in educational resources — classroom materials, teacher trainings, and online tech support — to the local school system. From its humble beginnings in Barkam, Adream has grown into one of the most influential education charities in China, serving 3 million underprivileged students with 2,600 Dream Centers, mostly in China’s oft-neglected heartland. Though the idea for Adream was conceived in Hong Kong and they are now headquartered in Shanghai, Barkam was ground zero.

In contrast to the philanthropic group’s rampant growth, Barkam itself has stayed more or less the same since the first Dream Center opened. Special instructors at the city’s partner schools are still holding Dream Classes for faculty, as they have for years. Serving as a sort of testing ground for creative teaching methods, these classes are a far cry from the rote learning methodology embraced by many schools in China. Yet because teachers are so often evaluated according to their students’ test scores, many of the Dream Teachers were given the cold shoulder by their peers, who saw little incentive to introduce change in their classrooms. And even if the faculty had been more receptive to the Dream Teachers, having just one per school was rarely enough to make a splash.

Beginning in 2015, Deputy Director Luo managed to transfer the few talented Dream Teachers working in the countryside into schools in downtown Barkam — up the professional ranks, for all intents and purposes. But by that time, most of Barkam’s Dream Teachers had become discouraged and quit. Only 13 remained. The high dropout rate made the program difficult to sustain in Barkam: Despite being Adream’s home base, the city was no beacon of success for other Dream programs to emulate.

Barkam No. 2 Middle School, the program’s flagship institution, saw seven Dream Teachers resign and its Dream Center nearly dismantled. Today, however, the school has a rising star in 26-year-old Cai Wenjun. Expressive, upbeat, and charming, Cai is often invited to travel to far-flung places such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to train cohorts of China’s 60,000 Dream Teachers, who come from all walks of life and from partner schools all over the country.

China is a notoriously top-down society. For nonprofit and for-profit businesses alike, relationships with the authorities can spell doom or boom — and Adream has understood this since day one. The fact that Barkam’s Party secretary, Zhang Peiyun, and the head of the local education bureau, Liu Rongxin, attended the summer camp’s opening and closing ceremonies, respectively, speaks volumes about the guanxi — interpersonal relationships that facilitate business and other dealings — that the foundation has managed to cultivate in official circles. In fact, the charity counts at least one local government among its donors: In exchange for financial support from Zunyi, a city in southwestern China’s Guizhou province, the organization will introduce Dream Centers at all of the city’s public schools.

With nearly 3,000 Dream Centers now open to students, Adream is hungry for funding to cover both its current overhead costs and its plans for future expansion. So far, increased attention from government bodies has proved beneficial in helping the organization gain funding and an official vote of confidence — along with all the public credibility and influence that carries.

Out in the audience at the camp’s closing ceremony, Zhuokeji Primary School’s headmaster, Yan Bo, is less concerned about Dream Teachers needing training and Dream Centers needing refurbishing. Instead, he’s worried about the very survival of his school. It’s well-run and has a beautiful campus, but at 10 kilometers from the city center, it has trouble retaining students, who are leaving in droves for more central alternatives believed to have more resources at their disposal.

Urbanization is taking a mounting toll on rural schools, and Barkam is no exception. Zhuokeji Primary School was designed for 300 students but currently accommodates just 80. Sure to accelerate what until now has been a steady decline is the fact that just 4 kilometers away, the local government has built a massive new school for over a thousand students. Rumored to have topflight teachers and better facilities, Barkam No. 4 Primary School will open its doors this fall — and may soon force Zhuokeji to shutter its own.

Even after a decade of innovation and hope for Barkam’s schools, deputy education chief Luo has seen three of his young relatives settle down in Shanghai for work. But he understands their decisions: To him, true education stems from an awareness of the wider world — a world the Adream Foundation has opened up to the children of Barkam — and from pursuing the chance to roam and experience new things while we’re still young, willing, and able.

Our Ten Years | Adream on the Times Square NASDAQ Screen




At this moment

If you’re strolling around Manhattan

Please remember:

Keep looking upwards!


From June 22-23, 2017, Adream’s ten-year anniversary poster was displayed on the NASDAQ screen in Times Square for all the world to see! Ten years of Adream – letting the world see our passion!


There’s a kind of love called loyal companionship

There’s a kind of speed called Adream speed


With the support of our countless donors, volunteers, and partners, for ten long years Adream has been pushing forward the development of children’s competency-based education, promoting balance in education, and helping children grow up with the confidence, empathy, and dignity needed to chase their dreams.


If there is a path to obtaining one’s dreams, then that path is surely perseverance. Ten years is over 3650 days, and having over 3000 Adream Centers gives us an average of close to one new Adream Center every day. That’s Adream speed. We’re working in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, and empowering over 3 million teachers and students, over 3000 principles, and 300 education bureaus.
Throughout the course of our development, driven only by love, Adream has persisted. It is just as the Chairwoman of Adream, Jiangxue Pan said, “All these years, nobody has asked us to do anything, nor told us how to do it. A group of self-empowered people grouped together to explore how to empower people to help children see into the future in this post-industrial era.”


Adream has been exploring the PPP (public-private partnership, charities + society  + government + schools) model of educational empowerment. First and foremost, Adream takes a bottom-up approach, growing out of one small classroom at a time.
The strength of private enterprise and the general public come together to create our Adream Centers, which become a window for getting competency-based education into schools. When Adream enters the classroom, we quickly come to understand the needs of teachers and students. We then work to change the outdated, traditional style of education through the study and implementation of multidisciplinary resources, and the use of new technologies and educational theories to empower students, teachers, and principles. We have also been making progress in getting local governments to explore educational reform, increase education budgets, implement good policy, and support the Adream program.
We can’t sit on the sidelines and observe the evolution of education in China. Only by empowering education and instilling in children the bravery to explore the unknown can we help children grow up with confidence, empathy and dignity, and let them see into the future.


Thank you to all our donors, Adream partners, and the CEO of Lutu Advertising Media Company Mr. Qiang Gao for giving Adream this ten-year anniversary gift: letting children see into the future, letting China see passion in education, letting the world see China.


We also want to thank everyone who supported us through these years


Ten Years of Adream, it’s all thanks to you!



Charity Brings Cutting-Edge Education to China’s Most Deprived

In the country’s hinterland, the Adream Foundation is helping rural schoolchildren study their way out of poverty.


This article is the first in a two-part series on an education charity in China.

In late June, I sat with Wang Fuqiang, a 13-year-old Tibetan boy, on the roof of his family’s cottage in Songgang, an ethnic minority village in Barkam City, located in southwestern China’s Sichuan province. From Monday to Friday during the school year, Wang lived at a boarding house for primary school students, a 10-minute walk away from home across a potato field blooming with blue flowers.

In a tattered T-shirt and a jacket missing a zipper, Fuqiang sat in the sunshine alongside a visitor, a Han girl called Yang Yiyan. The youngest daughter of a Beijing-based property developer, Yiyan is four years younger than Fuqiang, but a little taller. She and her parents had come to Barkam with Adream Foundation, one of China’s most highly regarded education charities, as part of a summer camp for generous donors and their families.

Their respective fathers, Yang Zhongguo and Wang Songbai, chatted downstairs. Unable to bear the crushing poverty of family life any longer, Songbai’s wife divorced him when Fuqiang was little. The government found Songbai work as a security guard in the nearby county-level town, a job that took him away from Fuqiang for long periods at a time. Fuqiang was left in the care of the village primary school: Free boarding is available for all students from grades one through nine in Barkam, along with a monthly 170-yuan ($25) state grant, as long as they stay at school from Monday to Friday.

Fuqiang, who is in the sixth grade, will graduate from Songgang next year. A lover of basketball, his dream is to one day become a coach; at just under 5 feet tall, he says he can’t become a professional player. Too poor to afford new sneakers, he tears across the court in a pair of well-worn old ones. “When I’m happy, I come up here and sleep on the rooftop,” Fuqiang says. “When I’m feeling down, I go and play basketball.”

After a while, the two teenagers come down from the roof and head out toward a patch of ground in the village so that Fuqiang can show Yiyan his backflip. Downstairs, Yiyan’s father tries to cheer Songbai up, encouraging him to find a new wife and make the family whole again. Later that evening, after dinner with the city’s local officials, the Yangs come back to the cottage with gifts: a basketball, a pair of sneakers, and a tracksuit for Fuqiang.

Underprivileged children are often exposed to evidence of a vast, but isolated, world of wealth — one which they are locked out of from birth.

Ten years ago, Adream’s founder, Pan Jiangxue, came to Barkam and set up a well-stocked reading room in the local middle school. Dubbed the “Dream Center” and outfitted with computers and internet access, it became an oasis to a generation of students who otherwise had little opportunity to read anything other than their textbooks. Fuqiang attends one class a week at another Dream Center in Songgang Primary School. Aside from sports, he loves reading and writing.

A decade later, nearly 2,600 Dream Centers has been built across the country. They are used by around 3 million students, mostly in inland China. In addition to donating books and refitting classrooms, Adream has brought new courses and teaching methods to Barkam. The foundation has developed more than 40 “Dream Classes” showing kids how to plan trips, exercise thrift, perform first aid, and even make a fashion show out of scrap newspaper. Backed by local government support, the foundation has trained more than 60,000 teachers at its partner schools.

For many years, Chinese charities have focused on education as a means to bring social equality to future generations. Back in 1989, the China Youth League launched Project Hope through its affiliate, the China Youth Development Foundation, which aimed to lower student dropout rates and improve school facilities. Within two decades, Project Hope raised enough funding to rebuild 13,000 schools and support nearly 3 million students who would otherwise have dropped out of school due to poverty.

However, Project Hope’s work began to decline when the Chinese government guaranteed nine years of free education for all rural students in 2006. At the same time, the rural student population began to shrink, as more and more families migrated to the cities in search of work. Now, many of Project Hope’s countryside schools lie deserted.

Drawing on the lessons of Project Hope, Pan has ensured that Adream has evolved alongside the changing face of education in China. Twenty years ago, the country’s education charities aimed to get every child into a classroom. When Pan started Adream a decade later, it was to build better schools with high-quality facilities. Today, the goal is to inspire a sense of confidence, composure, and dignity among future generations.

Local students dress up in Tibetan costume during a celebration marking 10 years since the founding of the Dream Center at Barkam No. 2 Middle School in Barkam County, Sichuan province, June 26, 2017. Courtesy of Adream Foundation

Local students dress up in Tibetan costume during a celebration marking 10 years since the founding of the Dream Center at Barkam No. 2 Middle School in Barkam County, Sichuan province, June 26, 2017. Courtesy of Adream Foundation

The first Dream Center in Barkam, built just 10 years ago, is now a museum. Next to it, a sixth-generation Dream Center is preparing for the fall semester, equipped with tablet computers, virtual reality classes, and 3-D printers. Barkam’s local Party secretary, Zhang Peiyun, is also of Tibetan heritage. Along with local education officials, schoolteachers, and the students themselves, he took part in a ceremony to mark the opening of the Dream Center’s latest incarnation.

During the ceremony, four sixth-graders — whose parents are long-time Adream donors — from an international school in Shanghai performed as a string quartet. Sitting on the floor in front of them, the local students, none of whom had been taught music, looked on. Later, a Shanghai-based music teacher gave each local student a colored bell, instructing them to hit it when he called out a certain color. Forty minutes later, the well-drilled local students were providing a splendid accompaniment to the quartet’s version of the famed Chinese song, “Jasmine Flower.”

Donor families take pride in their good deeds and often encourage their children to be philanthropic, too. It is equally important for children from different parts of society to interact with and learn from one another. Most kids from donor families are either studying abroad or preparing to do so. They sit on the opposite side of the wealth gap from their counterparts in Barkam, many of whom can only dream of the luxury of living in a rich, modern metropolis like Shanghai.

In China, the word “underprivileged” used to have a tangible relationship to material poverty: no food, no clothes, and no school. In some places, that definition still stands, but in others, underprivileged children are often exposed to evidence of a vast, but isolated, world of wealth — one which they are locked out of from birth. This is why charitable projects like Dream Centers are so important, for empowering every child to think bigger and casting off the strictures of poverty is key to giving every Chinese student a fair education.

Editor: Matthew Walsh.

Bringing Creativity to Middle China’s Stifled Classrooms

NGO that strives to level the playing field for rural students faces uphill battle.


This article is part of a series that explores life along the Hu Line, an imaginary diagonal line across China that has vast demographic, environmental, and political significance.

SHAANXI, Northwest China — Qishan County School 702. Its name — or rather, its number — speaks volumes about the typical state of teaching in China: cookie-cutter, devoid of individuality, pragmatic in its mission to deliver the most basic education.

In China, rote learning aimed at landing students high exam scores still holds considerable sway, and admission to a good university represents a golden ticket to a better life. This is especially true in the countryside, where the yawning urban-rural gap in education is particularly apparent in the quality of school facilities and teacher training.

But at this rural combined primary and middle school housed within an automotive machinery factory compound, efforts are underway to implement curricula that develop skills like creativity and teamwork, in an attempt to put pupils on equal footing with their peers in the country’s developed coastal areas.

Our teachers are the front-line workers, and we don’t have the ability to change the system.

Leading the battle to bring greater educational opportunities to the countryside are people like Ma Rong. Pacing the classroom wearing a headset, she looks more like an energetic TV presenter than a teacher. The 42-year-old educator at School 702 begins her class with a series of games: In one, small groups of adolescent students line up according to height or the length of their hair; in another, students hold hands and must find a way to unravel their arms through careful coordination.

While the games might seem too childish for soon-to-be teenagers, they belong to a range of creative activities that have been added to the traditional school curriculum with the help of nongovernmental organization Adream Foundation. School 702 is just one of 2,500 schools around the country that are taking part in activities initiated by Adream, which focuses on addressing inequality in China’s education system.

According to founder and chairwoman Pan Jiangxue, Adream’s core aim is to complement schools’ official curricula with classes to help boost the confidence and creativity of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Throughout the compulsory education years — grades one through nine — students at schools in the Adream program can participate in up to 300 of these creative classes that foster concepts like self-awareness, teamwork, and love and respect for nature and the arts.

Qishan County lies west of the imaginary Hu Line, which slices China diagonally into a densely populated, more developed eastern part and an expansive, thinly populated western area. Many regions west of the line suffer from grinding poverty, and access to quality services like education is often lacking.

In rural areas, almost two-thirds of students drop out of school by grade 12, according to surveys of 24,931 secondary school students conducted by the Rural Education Action Program, a collaboration among the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Stanford University, and other universities. Only half of middle school graduates go on to high school, the study found.

Students told the researchers that they had left to find work or had been inspired by their peers who had already quit school. “If dropout rates continue as they are today, increasing unemployment and widening inequality could hinder economic growth and stability on a national scale,” the researchers wrote.

Qishan sits beside another important geographical divider: the majestic Qinling Mountains, generally thought to split China into north and south. Nearby is the Wei River, the site of the Zhou Dynasty’s first capital in 1046 B.C. and home to the “Rites of Zhou” — an ancient text on organizational theory that contains a chapter about education.

Yet contemporary China leaves small rural towns few opportunities to employ leading pedagogical techniques. In contrast, wealthy metropolitan cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou boast well-resourced public schools and plenty of private sector educational institutions offering top-notch teaching to families who can afford it.

In Shanghai, per capita expenditure on education and recreation by private households in 2015 was 4,046 yuan (just under $600) per month, almost double Shaanxi province’s 2,201 yuan a month.

Government funding differs, too. According to official 2015 statistics, the average public expenditure on education in rural areas was roughly 11 percent lower than the national average for middle schools and 7 percent lower for elementary schools.

The country’s most highly trained teachers typically flock to developed coastal areas to work. Many of those who remain in the countryside are under significant pressure and have neither the time nor the power to influence the rigid curricula mandated by education authorities.

At School 702, 43-year-old teacher Zhang Jun says the Adream program involves only a small proportion of teachers and does not affect regular classes, in which traditional teaching methods like rote learning persist. “If we want to change the whole [system] completely, it should start from the top down,” says Zhang. “Our teachers are the front-line workers, and we don’t have the ability to change the system.”

With a population of just under half a million, Qishan is known as a hub for industries like machinery manufacturing, building materials, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, textiles and garments, and paper printing. Though teacher Ma’s instruction style would hardly be considered groundbreaking abroad or even in more developed parts of China, it is a novelty in areas like this, where students and their families tend to underestimate the importance of education.

Supplementary creative classes may be a good start, but teachers, students, and experts alike agree that these measures have little effect on the overall system. Students in less developed parts of the country still struggle to secure social mobility, Pan tells Sixth Tone, and while she believes Adream’s classes are one of many steps necessary to improve education quality in China’s countryside, she concedes that the classes’ impact on students is “weak.”

Students stand in rows for a group photo at No. 3 Middle School in Qishan County, Shaanxi province, May 17, 2017. Zhou Pinglang/Sixth Tone

Students stand in rows for a group photo at No. 3 Middle School in Qishan County, Shaanxi province, May 17, 2017. Zhou Pinglang/Sixth Tone

At Qishan County No. 3 Middle School — which is about a 30-minute drive from School 702 and is also part of the Adream network — a 12-year-old student surnamed Duan describes the creative classes as only “so-so.” The school’s deputy principal, Su Hao, welcomes Adream’s “open” approach to teaching but remains pragmatic about students’ grades. “Scores are still important,” he says. “Our high school entrance exam results are among the top in Qishan County, and the ultimate goal is to gain admission to a good school.” Around 380 of the middle school’s 1,200 pupils are first-year students taking Adream’s classes.

Teachers who are impacted by us can change the way they teach in their compulsory courses.

While student enthusiasm for Adream’s efforts appears subdued, the NGO has clearly invigorated rural teachers. On a recent morning, Lu Liqiang, a 47-year-old physics teacher at No. 3 Middle School, stands in the middle of a bright orange Adream classroom decorated with paintings and handwritten student essays — a stark contrast to “regular” classrooms, which tend toward the drab.

Lu says that before he underwent training through the Adream program five years ago, his classes lacked active learning. Now, he says, participation is key. On the day Sixth Tone visited his class, Lu started off with an open-ended question on Bernoulli’s principle — which describes the relation between a fluid’s speed and pressure — followed by hands-on activities involving straws and cups of water to demonstrate the effect.

Ma from School 702 — who attended her first Adream training session during the summer of 2014 — agrees that the new techniques she has learned have breathed life into the school’s classrooms. She and her colleagues were initially uninterested in the training, she says, but they became “absorbed” and motivated after learning about the benefits of a more playful approach to education. “The sense of long-term job burnout faded away,” Ma says.

According to Pan, Adream plans to reach more teachers in the future by working with local education authorities. “Teachers who are impacted by us can change the way they teach in their compulsory courses,” she says.

Students play on the grounds of School 702 in Qishan County, Shaanxi province, May 17, 2017. Zhou Pinglang/Sixth Tone

Students play on the grounds of School 702 in Qishan County, Shaanxi province, May 17, 2017. Zhou Pinglang/Sixth Tone

Ma herself attended School 702 and remembers her own teachers back then simply reading aloud from a textbook. “They didn’t really care whether we understood or not,” she recalls. Being exposed to creative learning techniques like the ones she employs in the classroom now “would’ve been delightful,” she says.

Still, rural schools continue to lack appeal among parents. Even Ma doesn’t want her 12-year-old son to attend middle school in Qishan. Baoji, the nearest big city, offers better education, she says, adding that it has become customary in China for people to move to more developed areas — from village to town, or from town to city — in pursuit of a better life. “I wouldn’t want my child to come back here to work,” she says. “I hope he can spread his wings and fly out into the vast world.”

Additional reporting: Huang Wan; contributions: Lin Qiqing; editors: Denise Hruby and Jessica Levine.

Over the coming weeks, Sixth Tone will publish stories, videos, photo galleries, and social media posts that chronicle our road trip across China along the Hu Line, as well as an interactive multimedia platform in the fall.

(Header image: Ma Rong speaks to students through a headset at School 702 in Qishan County, Shaanxi province, May 17, 2017. Zhou Pinglang/Sixth Tone)