In remote locations, there are many older girls who have missed MOST of their schooling. They are largely illiterate and need a lucky break. Captivating’s My First Job Program trains girls to become either Assistant Chefs or Tailors. Their team then safely transitions and mentors the girls into their first job.

This is just one of the programs Captivating runs in cooperation with the Shenzhen Charity Federation. 11 years ago, Captivating International, a Hong Kong Registered charity, started partnering with Chinese registered grassroots charity organizations. Since 2015, Captivating’s programs came under the oversight of the Shenzhen Charity Federation where they have worked in partnership ever since. Captivating was founded by Andrew and Julie Colquhoun, who left corporate life in Australia to devote themselves fully to serving children, single mothers and families trapped in poverty or injustice. Driven by the belief that every child and every person has something incredible to offer their world, they wanted to help people achieve their purpose in life, taking them from a position of extreme disadvantage to having real choices.

Captivating supports other inspirational projects such as the Vocational School Scholarship Program (VSS), My Healthy Village and the Pig for Poverty Program.

Vocational School Scholarship (VSS) program

In parts of rural Western China, Captivating partners are informed of girls in remote village locations who have already dropped out of middle school for variety of reasons, are unemployed, and have very few if any real options for change. For most, dropping out of school has usually been a financial decision, although for many it’s a decision based on the view by some parents that education for their girl is a waste of time. This is where Captivating’s partners step in to encourage the girl’s family to give her another chance. This usually means helping to fund the cost of her education and living expenses. They then join the dots by securing a place for her in an approved Vocational school in an occupation that interests her. The ultimate aim is that in 3 years’ time this, otherwise uneducated girl, starts a career in something she loves and steps confidently towards genuine independence. 

By taking part in the support program you allow a girl, who has already dropped out of school, to be given the opportunity to complete a 3 year vocational high-school program. The final year of this program is an internship into what is hopefully her first job. An education gives her real choices and the chance to dream again.

Healthy Village Program:

Many nomadic farming families have never been taught basic health from experts. They carry on the traditions and practices passed down through the generations. It is not uncommon that some women have never been to see a doctor due to remoteness, cost, and cultural sensitivities. In a recent Captivating program, most women receiving free medical examinations were diagnosed as having minor to major women’s health issues. We discovered that many women live with: chronic illness, lifelong women’s health issues; higher than normal rates of infant mortality; rampant cases of infectious disease.

The Healthy Village Program includes Health training which includes information on various STDs, Pre and Post Natal Health, Women’s Health and habits to keep their children safe and healthy. In 2019 over 3,000 Villagers attended Health training and over a third were given individual health checks.

Pigs for Poverty Program

It’s amazing what two breeding pigs can do for a single mom or poor family! In most parts of rural Qinghai, the winters are long and cold. Although things are improving greatly thanks to fast moving and progressive initiatives anti-poverty initiatives being implemented, there are still many single mom families that are struggling to make ends meet. A popular and low-cost solution is when a single mom or poor family is supplied 2 breeding pigs, training and support. A well-managed sow will produce 2 litters of piglets a year (think 18 piglets a year on average per pig x 2). Increased family disposable income means children are more likely to consume more nutritious food, and stay in school longer. She has the start she needs; she can remain in the village with her children, instead of having to work in the city. She can also increase her status as an income provider.

On May 2nd, 33 families in Qinghai province joined the Pigs for Poverty Project and each received 2 piglets. 90 other families are currently being selected and will receive their 2 piglets over the next few months.

You are invited!

If you are inspired by any of these projects you can go directly to to find out how get involved. If you’d like to join fellow supporters, meet the founders, organizers and partners who make these projects happen, then put a placeholder in your diary! October 12, is the Shenzhen Charity Federation’s 11th CAPTIVATING CHARITY AUCTION. It will be held at the Futian Shangri-la, Shenzhen. It’s not only an amazing community event, that brings over 600 of Shenzhen’s expat and local community together, but is also a critical night of fundraising which keeps these amazing programs going – programs that will directly impact the lives of close to 1,000 young women, single moms and families over the year to come.