The following article is written by a representative from Light of Love, a student organization that strives to improve the quality of life in rural China. For more information about this group, please visit here. The article below describes a process of brainstorm and revision to create “student aid” programs in rural China.
In recent years, grassroots NGOs have been developing rapidly, claiming their irreplaceable role in civil society. Their activities benefit all types of people in different places in China, generally improving our society. They have even started a frenzy of college students participating in public service. The students use their winter or summer holidays to engage in volunteering, most of which are teaching activities. Such work contributes to the integration of resources between urban and rural areas, and also benefit the NGOs. Of course, theses teaching programs still struggle with some shortcomings, but many of the more mature teams have taken into account these deficiencies and are working hard to improve their services. These organizations include Beijing Western Sunshine Rural Development Foundation, Chunhui Youth Community Development Center, Guangzhou Lighthouse program, China teaching service, Love Ants, etc. Likewise, the community of Light of Love has made appropriate changes to its education services, adding more activities in hopes of making our own mark in educational progresses in our country. We believe that with everyone’s hard work, there will be better programs to replace the defective ones.
In 2010, The Light of Love community organized a summer teaching education program in Guizhou Zun Yi. In 2011, we also began providing educational activities in Guizhou Xiping and Green river. During our two years of research and development, we found that 30%-40% of the students came from extremely poor families. Many of them fit into the following categories: single–parent families, ill family members, and abandonment due to economic pressure. The main manifestations of these conditions included: a difficult family life, lack of room and food for school, and inability to seek medical care. These situations have all affected the students’ ability to focus on school. In order to allow the students to more fully benefit from school and educational activities with Light of Love, mere efforts to inspire dreams and spark interests remain inadequate. As a result, we began “student aid” programs, which practically help students with both academics and home life. In this way, we hope to maximize our impact.
Following the ideas presented above, we hope to continue to improve our “student aid” program through more visits, surveys, and activities. Recently, Light of Love volunteers went to Guizhou Zunyi and communicated with local teachers and education authorities. The situation that we have been informed is the following: the majority of students still struggle with “room and board” problems. Local poor family receive some subsidy from the government; but, up to 80% of the poor families will used this money on “family needs” instead of “school room and board”. Nearly 60% of the students are still hungry and cold at school, and these students will most likely not report this issue to the school. Consequentially, “school room and board” is an increasingly salient problem.
Original story was translated by TFish staff Shishi Ma, edited by U.S. Intern Sarah Chang.
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