(Yicai Global) March 9 -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s education arm, Taobao University, celebrated International Women's Day by setting up a specialist program to offer online learning courses to women in poverty with the aim of helping them to find work or build their own businesses.
The Modou Mama E-Commerce School will recruit dedicated teachers and design online learning systems to provide systematic assistance and customized education for underprivileged women, online media outlet Sina reported.
"Only when women escape poverty can we ensure that rural families will do the same," said Peng Lei, vice chairman of the CNY10 billion (USD1.58 billion) Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund and head of the new initiative.
Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma, himself a former English teacher, has pledged to help people in need, particularly through education. In 2016, the Jack Ma Foundation dedicated CNY200 million (USD30 million) to training headteachers and leaders in the education field in far-flung villages and towns across the country.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba will mobilize its partners and collate experience gained from Modou Mama and Rural Taobao, its project to lift rural living standards through e-commerce, to set up more sophisticated poverty alleviation models in particularly poor areas, Peng said.
Taobao University is also working with the All-China Women's Federation in 88 counties spanning nine cities in southwestern Guizhou province, Peng added. The two will set up a support center for underprivileged mothers who want to start their own e-commerce business, and hope to help 5,000 entrepreneurs.