Longwan Caring Home is located in Dahua County, which was listed as one of the poorest counties in Guangxi Province. Longwan Caring Home is a big family consisting of orphans, single parents, and abandoned children. The normal expense of the Home is sustained by plantation, breeding, and small business.
Longwan town is situated in Yao tribe Dahua autonomous county of Guangxi province. It is part of LongMa village. For generations, people there are planting corn plantation on barren land, nearly 90% of the land are rocks, only 10% soil. Throughout the years, the main food source is corn porridge. AiHua Ban, the founder of Longwan Caring Home was born here. Below let me share some of her experience.
AiHua Ban’s living condition is extremely difficult. People there are very conservative and superstitious. When they get sick, they don’t have money to see doctors. Instead, they go to witch for help. For instance, if you have headache, witch tells you someone put rocks inside your head and need to use chopsticks to take them out. If people with cancer, the witch would say you’re framed by someone who put your soul side bamboo tube and burned it in a fire pit overnight. Therefore, the witch needs to perform some ceremonies to win back your soul. Finally, ceremonies were performed and people lost life in the end. Similarly, they don’t go to hospital to give birth. Instead, they have midwife help them out at home. They don’t know how to disinfect and sometime the baby died of tetanus. In AiHua Ban’s childhood, there was a cemetery designated as baby burial ground. The worst thing is that this town is small and dead people got buried in the ground right above the underground water. As result, rain washed them into underground water and people drinks contaminated water from there. At present, total population of this small town is 400. About 50% of them lost their spouse before reaching their early 30’s. On top of all this, people are lack of education and this is the root cause of extreme poverty.
In April 2001, AiHua Ban’s father got sick so she moved back to the place she was born. In those days taking care of her father, she saw children didn’t go to school and played all day long around the house. She felt sad for these children. After some investigation, she reached this conclusion: not enough to eat, let alone schooling. Besides, the tradition is why bother to send girls to school. Boys don’t want to go to school either. They (i.e., Yao children) feel they are discriminated by Zhuang children. In school, Yao children always got bullied by Zhuang children. Because of fear, they don’t feel like to go to school. Even though school is funded for them, very few are willing to go beyond junior high.
Based on the above, AiHua Ban decided to stay and to create a better learning and living environment for these children. This decision was beyond the comprehension by most people … called it Longwan Caring Home. Started from her own house, to neighbor’s house, to hill top and then finally has its own classrooms and campus. From 10 students to over hundred, from herself and then 6 or 7 staff members today. From obscurity to attention from community and government and eventually got their support. Along the ways, gone through so much ups and downs, joys and sorrows. The main focus of Longwan Caring Home is for orphans, single parents and their children and to accompany these children in their growth, to escort them to school, to provide them with living support, medical insurance and home-style extracurricular tutoring. Teach them to build up self-esteem, encouragement and self-confidence. This also provides a platform for college students to assist teaching and support education.
Original article written by Aihua Ban, translated by Joe Hsu, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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