By Zinan Chen
| In 2012, my friends from Harvard University, Boston College and Wuhan University in China came to me and proposed a campaign named “Bright and Beautiful.” They wanted to help girls in conservative Asian societies to stand out, to enjoy the basic rights of education and opportunities, and to be able to communicate with the outside world with the help of technologies.
My hometown, Yunnan Province, a less developed region in Southernmost China, has been set up to be the first to launch the campaign. The team included 12 people and I was honored to be involved. This project includes deep understanding and relationship building with girls in the rural areas of Yunnan, where girls are traditionally treated unequal to boys. Our team spent 3 weeks during the summer vacation to become friends with girls from low income families, and we became their pals. We talked about dreams, their desires and prospective futures, and the media team has documented the process and made a short film for each girl we met. We asked for a best painting or handcrafted art piece each of them made and allow us to reprint them on T-shirts. The striking part of the project is that we eventually manufactured hundreds of the T-shirts with a short film to be accessed by the QR code on the back, and fundraised money for those girls to get better food and living quality.
The most appreciable part of the projects was that through globalized educational resources, our teams study abroad students including me have spread our “Bright and Beautiful” campaign into universities in East and West coast. With the fast information century, websites and media channels like Youtube and Facebook also brought us hundreds more followers. Comments are being made about same situated girls were there in Vietnam, Turkey, Iraq and many other nations. And we’ve enjoyed how students and media came to offer help and support to this “BNB” project. Rethinking prosperity, wealth of nations has really brought billions of households to have secure food storage, and adequate educational resources, however, there are still many of our brothers and sisters in impoverished homes who need to be helped, their needs need to be found and communicated. “Bright and Beautiful” gives the primary focus on underprivileged girls, by doing the projects, we are able to make sure they can afford to go to school, and the profit from T-shirt selling can even contribute to their family needs. Furthermore, girls’ social status will increase so women in those villages, when they have dreams and can work towards it, females’ achievements and incomes gradually eliminates gender inequality issues in those areas.