Marie-Lucie Spoke, the founder of Community Roots China (CRC), was born in Canada and completed a Masters's degree of Public Administration. After a short career in the Canadian foreign service, Marie-Lucie dedicated more than 25 years of her life to charity, caring for those who are less fortunate.
First time in China
Marie-Lucie Spoke first arrived in China in 1987 with her husband, who worked at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.
At that time, Marie-Lucie had two little children and was expecting a third one. In a foreign country with a difficult language, the difficulties Marie-Lucie encountered were so challenging that she often thought of leaving.
However, during this difficult first year, Marie-Lucie experienced the warmth and kindness of the people in China, which uplifted her and supported her. She litteraly fell in love with the people of China and has never ceased to love them since then.
Understanding China better
Having worked in the foreign service, Marie-Lucie is highly aware of the development of a country. And as a mother of three children, she cares deeply about the education and advancement of children.
In 2003, while her husband returned to China to work in the private sector, Marie-Lucie began to volunteer in the community to gain a better understanding of Chinese society. She learned there are many children left behind in the countryside, with few people to care for them and no financial resources to pay for their high school education. Marie-Lucie was immediately convinced that this important issue needed to be addressed.
Marie-Lucie's husband confirmed her decision: “Since we live in this country with such kind-hearted and hard-working people, we should do something. Let's help the children as much as we can.”
Diving into Charity
With this full support, Marie-Lucie registered and started the Community Root China (CRC) in 2011. Working with community-minded corporations and compassionate individuals, CRC started the “One Heart Gift Bag” program to provide books, shoes, clothes, and other necessities to left-behind children in far flung rural areas.
Over a period of 5 years, CRC provided 42,500 One Heart gift bags to some 20,000 children.
While delivering the gift bags, Marie-Lucie found that many children were unable to financially afford high school so had to interrupt their education after middle school (grade 9). We know that children are the future of a society, and the education of the new generation impacts the progress of a country.
To bring attention to this issue, CRC began to focus on their “Education Sponsorship” program in 2016 to support the continual education of these impoverished students. CRC also started partnering with Shanghai Rende Charity Foundation in order to expand the program.
The path to happiness and wellbeing
With the support of the Education Sponsorship program, more than 300 children have started their high school education. Already, many of the students who completed their high school have successfully entered college or university.
We share in the happiness of the students’ successas they share their university acceptance letter with us!
When Sponsors, individuals and corporations, hear these developments, they also rejoice.
"Dear Ina, I have a wonderful news for you about the students you have sponsored. They both graduated from High School and were acceptcd by Universities!They could not done this without your help! They are very appreciate for your kind support!"
"Excellent ! I am so happy for them and thank you for sharing this great news! "
CRC gives impoverished children in rural areas the opportunity to continue high school education, and the chance to change their future. Love knows no boundaries; it is a greater blessing to give than to receive. Giving generously is the path to happiness and purposefulness!
CRC has been in operation for more than six years now. CRC continues to support corporations, organizations, and individuals to become socially responsible. This is the principle that Marie-Lucie is committed to spread in China.
She hopes that more and more Chinese groups will join CRC in the important work of supporting rural children’s education, and shaping the prosperous future of China.