On the evening of November 3, at a medal-awarding ceremony in Shanghai’s famous Ruijin Hotel, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG presented the British Empire Medal to Ms. Corinne Hua, founder of Stepping Stones, a Chinese public welfare organization, in recognition of the British Shanghai daughter-in-law's commitment to English education for vulnerable children in China for more than ten years and her contribution to Sino-British relationship. The Duke of York is also known as Prince Andrew, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II. British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward DCMG OBE, Consul-General in Shanghai John Edwards, and Ms. Corinne Hua's husband, teachers, volunteers, students, staffs and Board members of Stepping Stones attended the ceremony. Other important attendees were representatives of Zhonjing Group, the major donor to Stepping Stones, as well as Mr. Frank and Mrs. Nancy Yih, who have donated office space to Stepping Stones since 2009. At the ceremony, Prince Andrew showed great interest in the current situation of the children of Chinese migrant workers, and asked many related questions.
Ms. Corinne Hua was nominated in the Queen's Birthday Honours list on June 9, 2018 for her contribution to the education for disadvantaged children in China.
Stepping Stones is a non-profit organization registered in Shanghai in 2006, dedicated to improving the education and basic welfare of vulnerable children in China. More than 100 volunteers are currently teaching English to over a thousand children of migrant workers in Shanghai and children left behind in rural areas in China every week. Stepping Stones also provides professional training to English teachers in rural areas in China, as well as computer science and life skills training for the children of migrant workers in Jiaxing. Since 2008, stepping Stones has also provided glasses to about 4,000 children of migrant workers with poor eyesight. SSCLF’s Lu Jiaxian, Gao Wenying Special Fund has provided financial aids to Stepping Stone public welfare project for seven consecutive years since 2012. The accumulated amount of more than RMB 3 million yuan has been mainly used for institutional staffs and administrative expenses, in order to help the specialization of its public welfare project and the sustainable development of institutions.
British Consul- General in Shanghai John Edwards said, "Stepping Stones is an excellent public welfare organization that provides vulnerable children many open opportunities. Ms. Corinne Hua also has made a great contribution to China-UK relationship. I don't think anyone else can be more suitable for this honor than she is.”
The British Empire Medal is granted by Queen Elisabeth II in recognition of meritorious civil or military service.