empower . mentor . bridge . enlighten . reciprocate

Our Story

It began with 3 high school seniors who wanted to make a difference in society before they graduated. Brian, Gary and Mercedes (Hong Kong International School ’07) were dismayed to learn that, just across the border from Hong Kong, there were girls who got accepted to a top high school but had to drop out because they cannot afford the tuition of $4000 HKD/year. Together with their mentor and teacher, Dr. Marty Schmidt, the students decided to start a project that would support these girls to attend high school. They partnered with the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation (CWEF), a Hong Kong based non-profit organization, to create the Care for Learning and Community scholarship program.

In 2006-2007, Brian, Gary and Mercedes raised enough funds to support 100 girls to attend Xiang Shan High School, the best school in the district of Deqing in Northwestern Guangdong Province, China. In the following year, Jasmine, Jennifer, Daniel and Kai (HKIS ’08) took over and expanded the program. This started a trend: in subsequent years, a new batch of Hong Kong International School seniors would commit themselves to the project, allowing more and more girls to go to school.

Scholarship Programs

EMBER provides scholarships to girls from rural Guangdong, whose annual family income generally fall between $1000-5000 HKD. Without EMBER’s support, these girls are unable to afford to attend high school or university. Their options are limited to working in a factory or a restaurant, or staying at home to farm. EMBER works with the best high schools in different districts in Guangdong. Once selected into our program, the girls are provided full scholarships for the entire 3 years of high school. Our university scholarships cover tuition and board for the first year, but are adjusted in subsequent years to encourage girls to apply for government grants and loans.

To date, EMBER has raised over $3 million HKD and supported over 450 girls to go to high school and university.

In 2012, EMBER’s 1st class of university scholarship recipients graduated. The 6 girls, whom we have supported since 2006 when they first started high school, have all successfully completed their university degrees and are currently employed. 5 of them are working as teachers at various schools in Guangdong, and 1 of them is employed by the research department of an electronics company.

In 2009, we have extended to provide university scholarships for students to further their education, many of them are currently working as teachers or other professional fields. In 2014, EMBER has developed an internship program in replacement of the university scholarship to better fit and meet the needs of the students.

College and Career Counseling


An important part of Ember’s mission is to offer support and guidance for the girls in their academic and professional careers. Every year, we invite a professional counselor to give a workshop on various college and career opportunities for our high school scholarship recipients. We also asked alumni of our program to give strategic advice to current students on picking schools, choosing majors, registering for school dorms, applying for financial aid etc.