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Marriott International and Yao Foundation Aim High

for Supporting Education in Rural China Building Hope School at 4,000 Meters above the Sea Level and the World’s Highest Computer Lab and Library 

Mumbai, India, June 9, 2015 – A delegation from Marriott International and the Yao Foundation recently traveled to southwest China to visit and celebrate the renovations underway at The Sela Marriott – Yao Foundation Hope Primary School.  The school is located at 4,000 meters above the sea level in Sela village within Daocheng, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province.  This is the second of the seven school projects supported by Marriott International and the Yao Foundation.  Marriott International’s cash and in-kind contributions toward the reconstruction will help support a better study environment for the school’s 180 students.

The 37-person delegation included senior executives and associates of Marriott International, representatives of the China Youth Development Foundation and the Yao Foundation as well as key media.  The infrastructure of the school has been challenged by resource scarcity, its remote location and the physical environment.

During the visit, the delegation built a computer lab with Internet connectivity and a library for the school. Marriott International associates and the public in China also gathered and donated 3,000 books to supply the school’s library.  In view of the altitude of the school, this computer lab as well as the library will possibly be the highest ones in the world. Construction of a new teaching building and playground is scheduled to begin during the next phase of renovations in 2016.

The delegation also made arrangements to connect the students with the world. The school’s students are from the families of farmers or herdsmen who live nearby, and are mostly Tibetan Minority.  In the computer lab, the students had the chance to virtually meet Yao Ming, former basketball player and founder of the Yao Foundation, via video conferencing. In addition, Marriott’s delegates brought along digital devices that transported the students to a virtual travel experience. By simply holding a tablet in front of them or by wearing a virtual reality goggle set, the students enjoyed fully immersive virtual reality footage of diverse and inspiring parts of the world, including famous world landmarks, oceans and wildlife habitats with elephants and giraffes. The virtual experience was made possible by the iconic flagship brand Marriott Hotels, and gave the students a chance to “Travel Brilliantly”.

“Our collaboration with the Yao Foundation resonates with the core values of Marriott International that have sustained our company for more than eight decades – We open doors to a world of opportunity.  Together with the Yao Foundation, we strive to keep on creating opportunities for the children in rural China. We are delighted to see that our works grow from strength to strength and now bear fruit in Sela, bringing real benefits to the school students there, ” said Simon Cooper, President and Managing Director of Marriott International Asia Pacific.

Mr. Cooper added that when Marriott International called for volunteers amongst its associates in China to support this visit and donate books for building the library, the response was tremendous. This reflects that the company’s “Spirit to Serve” culture is widely supported by its associates.

During the virtual video conversation with students Yao Ming said: “I am most happy to see and chat with you. I hope you all will enjoy using this computer lab and the small library. I also look forward to seeing the completion of the new teaching building for your school, and wish you all healthy and happy growth.”

Marriott International and the Yao Foundation have been working together since 2013 to support rural education in China. Through fund-raising activities with its business partners and clients, Marriott is donating a total of RMB 13 million (approximately USD2,000,000) by 2018 to the Yao Foundation to establish seven hope schools, provide supporting resources and organize five Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Seasons.

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