Help the Children Go to School
In a run-down village schoolhouse in China, the only teacher of the village had to take a leave of absence. A 13-year-old girl was asked to substitute for him. She had never taught before and could only copy the lesson from the textbook on the blackboard for the students to copy. Her job was to keep all the south dakota thesis essay writing essay writer custom essay writing service software program students in school, not one less. She thus sat outside the door and watched that no one would miss class.
These students all came from poor families. One of the boys was sent to the city to make a living. This 13-year-old substitute teacher then led the class to utilize math skills to figure out how much was needed for the bus fare to go to the city to find the boy. After that, they moved the bricks for a construction company in order to earn the bus fare for the substitute teacher. After much difficulty, the substitute teacher finally found the boy with the help of the local TV station. The general public also learned about the situation of the village schoolhouse through the TV interviews.
This story, Not One Less, may have been exaggerated. However, the situation of the educational conditions is very real for some parts of China and maybe other parts of the world. Below is a translated article written by a retired principal from a secondary school in Hong Kong:
Visiting the GuiZhou Mountain Areas
By Hin Ching Chui
(Mr. Hin Ching Chui is a retired principal in Hong Kong.)
“In April 2000, I first followed the volunteers from Grace Charity Foundation and went to GuiZhou to visit the schools in the mountain areas. I could only use “shocked” to describe my impression!
I started our educational services in the GwangDong Province in 1992 with my former school teachers, students, and friends. We visit the schools there every year. Even though the facilities there are much ghostwriteronline.eu behind standard, the buildings are not as dangerous and the conditions are not as poor as the conditions in GuiZhou!
According to what I have seen, all the school buildings in the GuiZhou mountain areas are in danger. One time, among our visitation team was a graduate student who majored in Building Carpentry Engineering at the Hong Kong Technical College. When he saw the ceiling of the classroom, he warned us to leave immediately because there were several cracks and the ceiling might fall down any minute.
I have seen the remains of several school sites where the teachers and students had to move to different residential houses to hold their class.
Based on the seven trips I took to GuiZhou and the tens of schools I investigated there, I made the following conclusions:
- The school buildings are not only dangerous, many of them cannot provide shelter from the wind and the rain.When it rains heavily outside, it drizzles inside. In the winter, the cold wind blows straight in.
- The classrooms are very crowded. Usually there are 50-60 students in a room of about 200 square feet. Students cannot have enough room to sit,grade my paper not to mention to write.
- Most classrooms have very poor lighting. It is very damaging to children’s eyesight.
- The desks and chairs are often off-standard. Many are formed by boards in order to seat more students. Some can only sit on rocks.
Such conditions as above are common sights for us. Only those who see it the first time will be “shocked.”
Our work is to examine the school sites and the classroom conditions. We take photographs, try to understand the living conditions there, and find out the number of school-age students. After we return to Hong Kong, if we can collect donations to rebuild those schools, we will go back to lay the foundation and sign the contracts with the local authorities. We will follow up and monitor the construction. Upon completion, we will go back again for the opening ceremony. Generally, we have to visit three times for the reconstruction of each school building.
I sincerely invite all interested friends to visit there. Only seeing is believing.”
Sallie’s story: An Idea Comes to Fruition
I used to teach in Hong Kong and still go back to visit every year. Three years ago, I met one of my former classmates from the college of education I graduated from. She had retired for health reasons and was volunteering to help Grace Charity Foundation to send used clothes and supplies to GuiZhou, China. Having that connection, I was drawn even closer to the situation.
In summer 2003, as my husband and I were driving from Tucson to Colorado to attend a wedding, we were talking about what to do with the rest of our life. (We did this to keep the driver awake!) One of the topics we discussed was starting the Teach Overseas Foundation. We were very excited about that idea and after we returned to Hawaii, we gathered our family and close friends together to brainstorm…. On September 15, 2003, our organization was formed as the Board of Directors signed the Constitution and Bylaws.
In December 2003, I visited Grace Charity Foundation and interviewed Mr. Yiu Kwong Kan, its founder. Since 1994,Mr. Kan has helped almost 500 schools in GuiZhou to either renovate or rebuild school buildings. In the summer of 2004, when I visited GuiYang, the capital city in GuiZhou, I found that there were still many schools that needed a lot of help.
It appears that much of the educational resources in China are being spent for city schools and students that can afford higher education. Although tuition is free for the first nine years of grade school, students still need to pay for supplies and books if they want to attend school. Some students have to walk for four hours to go to school each day because there is no school where they live. They still would not miss school. Some popular schools have more than 70 students in a class because there are not enough classrooms.
In GuiYang, I interviewed some of the government officers, teachers, and the administrative staff. When asked how they would spend (US) $10,000 if it were awarded to them, their representative said they would spend $5,000 on scholarship to help support the poor high achievers, $2,500 on improving the facilities, and $2,500 on computers. I was surprised to hear that teacher training was not a need and that they had sufficient teachers for all their schools. I wonder if this is also true for the rural areas.
In our initial planning, we wanted to raise funds to send educators overseas to service the most deprived areas. After these two visits, however, we think it would be more cost-effective to fund their local needs. The annual fees for supplies and books cost only about (US) $10 for each elementary student and about (US) $20 for each middle school student. Twenty thousand dollars (US) would not even be enough to send an educator overseas to teach for one year, but it would be sufficient to rebuild a school building in GuiZhou.
I attended the Salvation Army Kwong Yiu School in Hong Kong when I was small. I still remember getting school supplies free from American donors for Christmas. It may have cost only a dollar or two, but it meant a lot to me. I really appreciated that! And I still do!