Dear fellow PEACH members,
First, allow me to take this belated opportunity to wish everyone a healthy and delightful Chinese Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig.
In November, 2005, the Prime Minister of the PRC declared that elementary and middle school students would be exempted from tuition and textbook expenditure in the Greater Northwestern nine provinces region. Many volunteers wrote to inform me of that wonderful news and to ask if Peach would adjust its course accordingly. My reply was the Prime Minister's words were just that -- I needed to hear it from the children that they would not have to pay one cent, and only then would I believe.
In late March, 2006, many Peach children reported that they have received some grants and they clarified the current situation in their schools. It is true that some schools have waived their tuition and textbook fees; however, many other schools have elected to include some dubious bills such as energy fee, data fee, tutoring fee, equipment fee, uniform fee, etc.
On April 14, 2006 , I made a special trip to County A to have a dialogue with the local education department head regarding what is known as the "two exemption, one supplement." The exemption refers to tuition and textbook cost while supplement is for the living expenses. He asserted forthrightly that the children would not have to pay one cent for either tuition or books; however, other incurred expenses amount to 170 dollars for a n elementary student and 240 dollars a middle school student. With regards to the monthly aid (the one supplement,) it is largely symbolic: an average student receives less than one dollar. Among all our associates, County A has been the most pleasant to work with; other counties still require even middle school students to pay an annual amount of rmb 500 to 700 (around 60 to 90 dollars), which isn't any different from what one has to pay prior to the Prime Minister's announcement. Well the fore-mentioned has been the truth behind the tuition and expenditure exemption in the Nine Common Provinces.
As for Peach's future direction, it remains unchanged. While some school districts have greatly lowered the tuition and expenditure for middle schools, as in the case of County A , it is not the case, as reported by some newspapers, that students do not have to pay anything. After paying for some craftily named this and that bill, the remaining Peach scholarship is just enough to pay for a loaf of bread or a bowl of rice -- enough to lessen their parents' burden and also strengthen their desire to send their children to schools.
Recently, our Kunming division office hired a new coworker, Su Chao-Gui, a 2002 senior high Peach recipient who will graduate from Yu n nan University this June. I had a dream when founding Peach that, one day, Peach students would take over the Peach Foundation's operation when they graduate, and Peach volunteers' children will administer its operation when they grow up to and comprise the Board of Directors. This dream has been slowly realized as many volunteers' children have been eagerly participating in our summer camps. There will be successors in Peach's operations and administrations, and the torch of compassion shall keep on burning.
This is the seventh year for Peach and currently there are 1241 students. If we include all those who have graduated and as well as those those who had to withdraw due to a sudden change of fortune, then the Peach Foundation has aided 1500 children in the past 6 years. This great accomplishment is due to the 700 volunteers and donors from around the world, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ceaseless support and commitment over the years.
Lastly, we continue request the following donations: (a) Used cameras: Hi tech digital or simple usage ¨C to help the teachers; (b) Used cell phones: Must be 3-phase -- essential for job-hunting graduates; (c) Camcorders: In need of 2 -- gifts for 2 teachers who have contributed greatly; (d) Used lap-top computers: for our current crop of graduates.
Here is the calendar for our trips this year:
4/2/07 to 4/13/07, household inspections to Yuanyang and L v Chun with 15 volunteers. 7/3/07 to 7/25/07 , English Summer Camps held at Yuanyang and Yangbi where 45 volunteers have signed up, and 500 children will be invited for a weeklong retreat. Please help sponsor one or more children at US$10 per person by sending in your donations.
Lastly, an autobiography is enclosed; from now on, more will be featured to introduce our children. Let them use their own words to recount their harsh childhood
I would like to donate ______ to the medical funds (at an average of US$10 per child.)
I would like to send ______ children to attend Summer Camp (at US$10 each for one week.)
I would like to donate ______ to scarf and mitten funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to thermal-pajama funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to mosquito net funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to the library funds
I would like to donate ______ to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate ______ to the mini-loan for middle school and high school students' living expenses (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate ______ to the college loan funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to increase my sponsorship to ___ high school students and ___ middle school students; the yearly costs are US$205 for a high school student , US$105 for a middle school student.
Please make check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION. Donors in Taiwan please change the amount to New Taiwan Dollars, payable to PEACH FOUNDATION, account no.: 50011068 and it is tax deductible.
1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City , CA 94404 , U.S.A.
email £º staff@PeachFoundationUSA.org website £º www.PeachFoundationUSA.org
Phone £º 650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688