-Who is Corinne?
Corinne Hua was brought up in England in a French-British family. Corinne studied Chinese at Cambridge University, and came to China for the first time as a student in 1988. Corinne and her family have been living in Shanghai since 1993.
-How did Corinne start Stepping Stones?
In 2006, after 7 years of working at PwC, Corinne decided to take a change of career into the newly emerging non-profit sector in China. While working for a local non-profit, she came across the need for English teachers at migrant schools, as well as realizing the great potential for developing volunteering in the community. Stepping Stones’ work began in 2006, when Corinne started organizing her friends and other volunteers teach English in the migrant schools. Stepping Stones now has more than 300 volunteers teaching 4,800 students in 30 project sites in Shanghai each week. In 2008, Corinne came up with the name ‘Stepping Stones’. Stepping Stones is not just a step-by-step program to improve children’s English, but also about improving their future prospects.
“The concept of Stepping Stones is also about bridging communities in Shanghai: the migrant communities and the urban communities, including the expatriate community. There is a big river between these two communities. We use the program to bridge the gap across the river in a simple and modest fashion.”
-How did Stepping Stones grow
- 2006–Corinne organized 2 volunteers to teach English at Aixin School for migrants in Shanghai Minhang District
- 2007–Corinne led a group of volunteers to teach English in rural Henan province
- 2008–Volunteers at Jinhu School in Minhang reported eye care needs among their students. Corinne found a corporate sponsor to pay for the first I Care project to buy spectacles and fund basic eye surgery for migrant students
- 2009–Corinne raised funds to hire Stepping Stones’ first Program Coordinator
- 2011–Stepping Stones was registered in Hong Kong
- 2012–Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation started to sponsor Stepping Stones
- 2013–Stepping Stones was registered in Shanghai
-What do we learn from Corinne?
“Corinne is not only enthusiastic about her work, she is source of inspiration and a great leader who is committed to excellence.”
—Sebastien Carrier, Senior Program Manager
“A very passionate, result driven lady who knows what she wants and how to get it!”
—Monica Bhagwandin, volunteer
“No matter how difficult things are, Corinne always puts on a smile. This is what I admire her the most.”
—Gloria Han, Project Manager
“Corinne’s dedication and enthusiasm to her work is contagious. She leads with a posture of warmth and humility and truly values the thoughts and ideas of each Stepping Stones team member.”
“Corinne is a charitable bridge; an angel of love”
—Mr. Zhang Songye, Principal of Xixiangguangyuan School in Jiashan
-What is Corinne most proud of?
“Corinne is proud to have brought together so many great people over many years to make a difference to the lives and the education of many children.”