Cirque du Soleil donated hundreds of tickets to migrant children!

World famous theater and acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil recently invited nearly 400 migrant children and adults from one of Stepping Stone’s partner schools to attend a dress rehearsal of their show “KOOZA” in Shanghai. Cirque du Soleil also gave free tickets to their show for our main stakeholders, acknowledging their contribution to the success of Stepping Stones. The students were able to watch a highly anticipated show that is currently touring in China, and has received much praise. The children enjoyed the show and had much to say about it. They wrote letters to Stepping Stones full of joy and gratitude to the Cirque du Soleil.

  • Cirque du Soleil donated hundreds of tickets to migrant children!

One student was amazed by the visual presentation of the show, writing: “This show was eye-opening for me, the visual design of the stage was amazing, and we all looking forward to watch your wonderful performance again.”

trans 1a

Another student was enamoured by the dance moments and performance of the show, writing: “The show, Kooza, by Cirques de Soleil was amazing! All of the graceful dance movements and soul-stirring performances have won the heart of every audience, and it was truly an unforgettable evening!”

trans 2b

One student saw a deeper meaning in the show, recognizing the work of the performers, writing: “One of the most important thing that I have learned after the show is that every performer has been working very hard to become who they are today, and I need to work hard as well to become the person I dream to be.”

trans 3b

Another was inspired by the show to pursue their dreams and own success, writing: “The circus show was eye-opening! My father told me that the amount of efforts took by the artists to achieve today’s outcome are hard to measure. They would not achieve today’s successes without practising continuously. I want to thank every participant for putting up this brilliant show, as well as teaching me the key to success.”

trans 4b

Thank you Cirque du Soleil for the generous donation of tickets to migrant children in Shanghai!

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Young volunteers from Shanghai High School International Division visited their videolink students in Anhui!

On May 20th, eight young volunteers and two expatriate teachers from Shanghai High School International Division visited their video link program students from a rural school located in Guangde of Anhui Province, which is about 220 km away from Shanghai.

Since the beginning of the year, SHSID introduced a new program for 8th grade as a compulsory course called “Service Learning” to educate students to use what they have learned to give back to school and society. Stepping Stones’ videolink program trains volunteers to teach English through internet to left-behind children in rural China. With the help of their parents, ten young volunteers were mobilized to serve in Stepping Stones’ pilot video-link program at Guangde Zhenlong Primary School.

Despite the long distance between Guangde and Shanghai, the trip to Zhenlong school turned out to be very fruitful. The volunteers, warmly received by Zhenlong Primary School, also brought over one hundred English books, dictionaries and stuffies donated by SHSID students and set up a small reading corner for the kids. The volunteers were formed in pairs teaching English with different themes to 2nd graders of Zhenlong Primary School and played English games with them.

Although we felt very tired after the long trip, we achieved so much from GIVING. We now understand the importance of service learning program. It is always so rewarding to provide constant, high-quality and in-depth community service by utilizing the skills and knowledge we have acquired, “ said Michelle Ding, leader of this program at SHSID. Michelle and her sister Angelina organized a successful charity concert in 2016 which raised 30,000 RMB to support Stepping Stones’ video link program.

Stepping Stones trains each video link volunteer and provides technical and teaching support for all lessons with an aim to find an efficient and sustainable way of reaching more disadvantaged groups in remote areas. Lessons are scheduled mainly on weekends or evenings, thus allowing more volunteers to get involved outside of work/school hours and with less travel needed.

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Come and Meet Stepping Stones at the Expat Show Shanghai 2017!

Come and Meet Stepping Stones at the Expat Show Shanghai 2017!

Come and Meet Stepping Stones at the Expat Show Shanghai 2017!

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A taste of Arts with kindergarten children

As one of Stepping Stones’ main project sponsors, Target has been working with us to additionally provide volunteers from their workforce twice a year, to provide enriching activities for migrant children. On Friday 9th June, a group of 12 colleagues from Target travelled to the outskirts of Shanghai to learn more about the challenges faced by migrant children in the city and enjoy a painting activity with Chengxin Kindergarten.

The day started with long, hot journey to south-west Shanghai, to an area with a large proportion of migrant families. The Target volunteers met in the kindergarten playground, all wearing their bright red Target T-shirts, and met with the Stepping Stones staff. Everyone made their way to a meeting room and sat down for a presentation about the recent update on the educational situation of migrant children in China.

Stepping Stones presented an article originally published by Shanghai United Foundation, which shows that migrant children still face huge challenges in obtaining an education. The enrolment policy for primary schools has recently become much stricter, meaning that the number of migrant children in compulsory education has dropped dramatically. This has caused migrant schools to close due to lack of students, which exacerbates the problem. The children’s parents cannot afford to leave their low-skilled jobs in the city, meaning that children end up returning to family members in rural areas with poor educational resources, some going to boarding schools or commuting to school outside of Shanghai, and others staying on at kindergarten in the city receiving the same education for years.

The Target volunteers were very surprised by the recent changes to the enrolment policy and many said that they did not realise the situation was getting worse for many children. The presentation prompted an interesting discussion about how organisations like Stepping Stones could help the migrant children to improve their education.

With renewed motivation to give something back to the migrant children, the Target volunteers left the meeting room and were taken to a classroom full of excited children. Two volunteers were distributed to each of the little green tables, while paints, glue and paper were set out by one of Stepping Stones’ volunteer teachers. The children were gradually persuaded to sit quietly at the tables and look towards the teacher at the front of the class.

The teacher showed the children how they were going to make a picture, by dropping a marble in different colours of paint, and rolling it over their paper. The volunteers helped the children to put on plastic gloves, and then the painting began!

The volunteers had great fun helping the children to create their masterpieces, and now understand much more about the challenges these children will face.

The children enjoyed making new friends and having the chance to get creative with lots of feedback from good role models.

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Educate rural Chinese children on a Stepping Stones Volunteering Tour

Get prepared for an opportunity this spring to travel to the Chinese countryside! Join Stepping Stones on a rural volunteering tour 21-26 May or 4-9 June to teach English to “left-behind” and rural children in Henan Province.

From May 21-26, Stepping Stones will be taking volunteers to Luyi County, Henan to teach English at a local rural primary school. June 4-9 there will be another rural tour to Dengfeng County, Henan to teach English at a rural primary school and a local orphanage. Activities (other than English teaching) will also be arranged for the volunteers to acquaint themselves with the area and get to know the students better.

As a Stepping Stones rural volunteer, you have the chance to give back to the local community through teaching fun, interactive English lessons for 5 days. You will gain real cultural experience while also improving the quality of English education these students receive.

The tour costs RMB 1,800 per participant*, which includes:

  • Round-trip train to Zhengzhou
  • Local transport via bus to and around Dengfeng or Luyi
  • 24/7 staff support
  • Preparatory training and workshop
  • English teaching lesson plans
  • Accommodation (in shared rooms)**
  • Meals
  • Insurance
  • Volunteering Certificate

*Please note this trip is being subsidized, which has lowered the cost as compared with other rural tours.

**If you would like your own room there will be additional cost.

Trip Itinerary:

Sunday Mid-day- Leave Shanghai on 5-hour train to Zhengzhou, Henan
Transfer by bus to Luyi or Dengfeng (depending on the trip)
Check into hotel and have dinner
Monday Morning- Teacher training
Lunch- at a restaurant near the hotel
Afternoon- Opening ceremony and 2 English lessons
Dinner- at local restaurant
Evening- Lesson preparation and free time
Tuesday Morning- 2 English lessons
Lunch- at school
Afternoon- 2 English lessons
Dinner- at local restaurant
Evening- Lesson preparation and free time
Wednesday Morning- 2 English lessons
Lunch- at school
Afternoon- 2 English lessons
Could add in sightseeing this afternoon
Dinner- at local restaurant
Evening- Lesson preparation and free time
Thursday Morning- 2 English lessons
Lunch- at school
Afternoon- 2 English lessons
Could add in sightseeing this afternoon
Dinner- at local restaurant
Evening- Lesson preparation and free time
Friday Morning- 2-3 English lessons and closing ceremony
Lunch- at school
Leave Luyi or Dengfeng via bus back to Zhengzhou

There will also be some time allocated for local sightseeing in Henan, including Laozi and Daoism’s birthplace in Luyi or the beautiful Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng.

This tour is designed for adult volunteers, over the age of 18.

To sign up for this tour, please click below.


If you would like further information about Stepping Stones’ rural tours, you can contact Morgan Banaszek at

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Stepping Stones’ first Egg Walkathon team is ONLINE!

Egg Walkathon, launched by Shanghai United Foundation in 2011, is one of the most popular annual fundraising campaigns in Shanghai. This year, more than 1000 teams will join this campaign to walk 50 kilometers within 12 hours to support charity.

Last year, six Stepping Stones’ staff joined the Egg Walkathon on a very rainy day. This year, we again have formed two fantastic teams to walk and support Stepping Stones. Now we would like to introduce one team called the Big Eye Team.

  • Stepping Stones’ first Egg Walkathon team is ONLINE!

The Big Eye Team is comprised of our English Teaching Program volunteers and their friends. Six team members are from various backgrounds, including financial investors, white collar workers, key opinion leading moms and freelancer. They gathered together to walk towards the same goal.

All the funding raised by the Big Eye Team will support Stepping Stones’ I care project with the goal to provide free eye screening services and spectacles to at least 100 disadvantaged children in China.

Stepping Stones’ first Egg Walkathon team is ONLINE!

Stepping Stones’ first Egg Walkathon team is ONLINE!

About I Care Project 

This project arose from Stepping Stones’ volunteers observing that eye problems among their students - some of them serious - were going untreated. The I Care Project was launched in 2008, with the aim to improve the vision of disadvantaged children in China in order to increase their chance of educational success, through the provision of essential eye care equipment and services. Click here to know more about the I Care Project.

The Team will set off on 13 of May. Our donation platform now is active online. Please extract the QR code below to donate for the Big Eye Team!


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Orientation Login


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Migrant Students Visit to Wellington College

On the morning of January 20th, 2017, 18 pupils accompanied by 2 teachers and 2 parents from Wenhe Primary School arrived at Shanghai Wellington College to participate in the Annual Chinese New Year Performance and experience Wellington school life. After changing to their ballet costumes, the children entered the theater to enjoy the show. Students of every grade from Wellington College prepared a traditional Chinese singing or dancing programs including Chinese Kungfu and Xinjiang Dance, showing their passions for Chinese New Year. At the end of the show, kids from Wenhe School performed "Swan Lake Rock and Roll”, bringing the performances to a very touching conclusion.


  • Migrant Students Visit to Wellington College

After the performance, the children went to different year 3 and year 4 classrooms to experience various lessons including music, social science, math, and Chinese courses. When they were first sent to the class, they were shy, afraid of talking to new friends. However, through universal communications such as singing, dancing, drawing and crafting, they easily made friends with each other by the end of the class. Their smiling faces showed clearly what a great time they had.

Before lunch, Wenhe kids visited the art auction, held by Friends of Wellington to support Stepping Stones. Wellington kids had used hand-shaped paper cutting to make a huge rooster to celebrate Chinese Rooster New Year, while kids from Wenhe School used traditional block painting techniques to create images on the canvas in a stimulating art class hosted by Wellington College the previous week. Parents bid generously on a total of 57 pieces of artwork, which raised around 50,000 RMB for Stepping Stones to produce an educational video to support its eye care program for migrant children. Before leaving, every kid wrote their New Year wishes and put them on the wishes tree. We hope all their wishes will come true in the New Year.

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Call for Egg-walk Team!

Egg Walkathon, as one of the most well-known fundraising campagin in Shanghai, China, is now calling for charity teams. This year, Stepping Stones partners with Shanghai United Foundation, who initiated this annual campagin in 2011, to recruit 1-2 volunteer teams to walk and raise funds to help disadvantaged children in China.


Egg Walkathon 2017

1. Walking date

  • 13 May 2017TBD

2. Requirements

  • Walk 50 kilometers within 12 hours in suburban Shanghai 
  • Raise at least RMB22000 per team

3. Team members

  • One team leader
  • 2-5 team members
  • Supported by Stepping Stones whole team

Want to have your own team to participate?

Please email before 15 February or call 021-32090516 and speak to Ms Wang

Click here to see Super Stones Team in 2016 Egg Walkathon.

 About Egg Walkathon

The Egg Walkathon is an annual fundraising campaign initiated by Shanghai United Foundation (SUF) in 2011. The original idea of the “egg walk” was to provide an egg a day for underprivileged children in rural China. Today though the name remains, the goal has broadened. The great success of the annual Egg Walk allows it to support all kinds of services to under-privileged children, including education.

During the “Egg Walk”, charity teams and individual teams set out to raise funds to support children’s development projects in China. Each team is required to walk 50km within 12 hours on a predetermined route.

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Spring Term 2017: Volunteer with us to teach English to disadvantaged children!

Want to create a better future for migrant children in Shanghai? Meet like-minded volunteers from around the world and discover your inner talent in teaching and mentoring?

  • Spring Term 2017: Volunteer with us to teach English to disadvantaged children!

Stepping Stones China is now recruiting enthusiastic volunteers to join its Classroom Teaching Program to teach English to migrant children in Shanghai. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds. Our only requirements are that you speak English well and confidently, and are committed to our mission of improving the education and general welfare of disadvantaged children in China.

Our Spring program runs from February through June 2017, every day from Monday to Sunday. We request that volunteers have a minimum availability of 4-6 hours once a week to be able to participate.

We are also recruiting volunteers for our Videolink program, where volunteers teach English through the Internet to left-behind children in rural China. This program allows us to reach more disadvantaged children in remote areas.

Interested in volunteering with us? Hear what our volunteers said about their volunteering experiences with us here and check out our website and register as a volunteer!

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Volunteers needed for Stepping Stones' Videolink Program!

  • Volunteers needed for our Videolink Program!

  • Want to teach English to our students, but no time to travel to their schools?
  • Want to know more about how charitable projects operate?
  • Want to contribute to improve the education for left-behind children in China?

Come and join our Videolink Teaching Program!

Stepping Stones’ Videolink Program will train volunteers to teach English through the Internet to a small class of left-behind children in rural China (around 12-15 children), providing an efficient and sustainable way of reaching more disadvantaged children in remote areas. Lessons will be scheduled mainly on weekends or evenings, thus allowing more volunteers to get involved outside of work/school hours and with less travel needed. Volunteers living overseas can also sign up!

 Volunteer requirements

  • Time commitment: 3-4 hours per week (including preparation time for making PPT and lesson plans etc.) for at least one term.
  • Good level of English with Chinese language skills a plus; interest in communicating the English language to new learners.
  • Age limit: Minimum age is 16.
  • Good Information Technology skills required.
  • All volunteers must attend the Videolink training session organized by Stepping Stones.
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Update on Stepping Stones’ 2016 new programs

As the end of the year approaches, we would like to give all of our friends an update on Stepping Stones’ 2016 new programs.

1. Stepping Up

Since May, Stepping Stones has installed a computer classroom and sent 8 volunteers with our full time teacher to provide computer and life-skill lessons to 135 middle school students in a school for migrants in Jiashan, Zhejiang Province. Class size is around 10 to 15 students, with 12 courses for phase one covering how to use a search engine, Microsoft office, Baidu Cloud, basic advertisement writing, email, etc, as well as working on life-skills such as critical thinking.

  • Stepping Up Digital Literacy Program

"The biggest challenges for this program were that students lacked confidence and did not take the initiative to learn new knowledge, and only knew how to play online games. Some of the students didn’t even know how to turn the computer on and off. After 12 lessons, at least half of the students showed interest and confidence in exploring new software, and are now able to use to search for useful information and are able to critically evaluate data as well. Students from Grade 9 were not engaged in the class at the beginning, but now in each class they can solve problems on their own and have gained more confidence and self-esteem" (Teddy Shi, Computer teacher).

"Today, twelve weeks into our program, I felt greatly encouraged as I looked around me. We had a class of eleven students who all engaged with the task of creating a PowerPoint, and who joined in animatedly with Teddy’s topic of discussion for the day—cancer rates in New Zealand. I saw students independently use the internet to find information on New Zealand and adjust their opinions accordingly. I was especially proud when I saw students exploring the additional functions of PowerPoint, such as templates, shapes, and animation, all on their own" (Huey Wu, Assistant Teacher).

2. English Teacher Training Program

In the Fall semester, Stepping Stones’ new Training Manager Ross Pitcairn provided 6 trainings on teaching methodology and oral English practice to 41 English teachers from 3 migrant schools in Pudong and Minhang District in Shanghai. Ross also visits the teachers’ classrooms regularly to observe their classes and give feedback to the teachers.

  • English Teacher Training Program

"The trainer is very responsible and devoted. The atmosphere is very active. He is not very strict, so we all like him and are willing to speak out. His training plan is very attractive and logical, with different group activities. We rarely attended such teacher training before" (Teacher Kelly Guo, Huabo Lixing Hang School Xupu Campus).

"The training is really based on our actual needs. Every time, Ross will evaluate how the trained methodology applies in a real classroom. If it’s not applicable, he will just delete that part from the training plan. The model class part of the training is very useful to all of us" (Teacher Zhang, Huabo Lixing Hang School Jiwang Campus).

3. Individual Volunteering Placement

In 2016, 16 individual volunteers travelled to 7 places in 5 provinces (Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Gansu and Guizhou), to teach English to children in rural schools. In total, 271 lessons were taught to 3550 students.

In terms of English education, the biggest challenge is pronunciation, both for the students and the teachers. Teachers desperately need professional development, particularly in terms of pronunciation. And the migrant schools greatly need to encourage the students to speak and to think outside the box and beyond the textbook” (Johan Vink, migrant school in Wuxi, June 2016).

I highly encourage anyone, and especially those who only have experience in the eastern cities of China, to volunteer in rural areas. Open your eyes and mind to the depth of Chinese life and culture that can be found across the country, and contribute a gift of language and knowledge that students will carry with them for years to come” (Olivia Bergen, Gansu, August 2016).

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El Fuego supports our After School Program


Stepping Stones is glad to announce the new partnership with El Fuego Education Services starting this month. El Fuego will promote our volunteering program to high school students in Shanghai, as well as sponsoring our high school Volunteer Appreciation Party twice a year with a great venue and delicious food and beverages. All the high school students who provide free English lessons to migrant children during weekends for at least one school term will be invited to attend the party, and volunteering certificates and special awards will be presented. The event will be held at one of the nakedHub branches in Shanghai.

  • Tutoring Program

This is the first time that we work with El Fuego, but not the first time with its staff members. Thank you to Tae-Kyu Lee, our volunteer and Counselor of El Fuego, for his efforts to promote social responsibility among youngsters. El Fuego will provide a special discount for Overseas College and Career Consultation for students who volunteer with Stepping Stones. For more information, please scan the WeChat QR code below.


About El Fuego

El Fuego (太焱) Education Services is an overseas education and career consulting business based in China with operations in the USA. Their goal is to prepare students in China to study and work in the USA, the UK, and Korea. Their specialty is admissions counseling for the top 50 schools in the USA and college test preparation advising. 

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Rural Placement Opportunities for the Adventurous Volunteer

Stepping Stones can organize individual rural volunteer placement opportunities for adventurous volunteers who want to become entrenched in China’s rural communities. Learn more about our diverse location options below.

  • Dengfeng, Henan 2017


  1. Rural public village primary school in Sangzhi, Hunan
  • Not far from the famous mountain range of Zhangjiajie, this rural school is situated in an old Chinese village bathed in green.
  • When: During school term times*
  1. Village in Fengxian, Jiangsu
  • Volunteers will teach English to primary and middle school children at a local’s home in a rural village. This placement provides the opportunity for volunteers to immerse in rural Chinese life, with the possibility for a home-stay.
  • When: Winter and summer school holiday breaksSpring Festival holiday (January or February) and summer holiday (July and August)
  1. Rural public village primary school in Lizhang, Zhejiang
  • Located in a picturesque old styled Chinese village, surrounded by the beauty of Zhejiang mountains, Lizhang school has many “left-behind” children who are eager to practice their English.
  • When: During school term times* and Summer holiday (July and August)
  1. Rural public village primary school in Dengfeng, Henan
  • Dengfeng, located at the foot of the Song Mountain, is home to the famous and historical Shaolin Temple. The children at both these schools lack English teachers and desire someone to spend time teaching them English.
  • When: During school term times* and Summer holiday (July or August)
  1. Rural village school in Luyi, Henan
  • Placed amongst the wheat fields in rural Henan, this school is in desperate need of volunteers to teach English to its students, many of which are boarding at the school.
  • When: During school term times*
  1. Private boarding primary School for “left-behind” children in Guangde, Anhui
  • Located in a special development zone, this school emphasizes English more than most schools. You would stay in a hotel in a small village near the school.
  • When: During school term times* and early July (for summer school)
  1. Rural village primary school in Jiangdu, Jiangsu
  • In a rural area of Jiangsu, not far from the famed city of Yangzhou, lies a school with many “left-behind” children who could use English assistance from our volunteers. The students are enthusiastic about learning English and would benefit from increased English speaking practice.
  • When: During school term times*
  1. Primary school for migrant children in Wuxi, Jiangsu
  • In the old city of Wuxi, volunteers would have a chance to teach at a migrant school where the children lack the opportunity to practice their spoken English and would be excited to have a fluent volunteer English teacher.
  • When: During school term times*

* Chinese school terms run from September to January and from February to early June.

Join one of these projects now!

Interested volunteers should fill out our online volunteer registration, indicating in the additional comments section the intended length, dates and location for a placement.

Any questions can be directed to our Volunteer Manager, Morgan Banaszek,

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