Dear fellow PEACH members ,
The terrible earthquake in Sichuan has riveted the world's attention as we learn everyday about the increasing magnitude of the damage, death and suffering. We have also seen the outpouring of support by the Chinese people, and world governments to help the survivors. Most tragic are the deaths of so many young students in small towns and remote villages, many of whom were killed in their classrooms while attending school. Fortunately the quake did not affect the children living the areas supported by Peach Foundation, although a number of Peach graduates were attending school in Chengdu , and they have all been safely accounted for. Our thoughts are with the survivors and the thousands of people helping the survivors.
Currently, we have over 300 children waiting to be adopted (mostly high school children ), and we're actively seeking new sponsors. I have to beg once again for your strong support to spread the seeds of PEACH freely and generously. Please tell your friends and relatives about PEACH and the many children who have benefited from the kindness and generosity of you and the many PEACH members who continue to support our children. And keep in mind that donations are spent 100% on the children .
I would like to share with you a visit we made to YuLung County in Yunnan Province and YanYuan County in Sichuan Province , two of the main inspection sites. Both counties are mountainous, barren, and remote. During this visit, we were introduced to 17-year old Yang AhSan in Yan Yuan. Yang AhSan's father passed away and his mother singlehandedly has supported the whole family by farming. They live in ShuangHeVillage, where there is no electricity and there are only two kids attending high school among the hamlet's thirty-some families. AhSan stopped attending school after finishing elementary school in order to travel all the way to Guangzhou to find work, where in one year he saved up 700 Yuan to return home to continue junior high. On our way to visit him, we happened to find his mother gathering potatoes on the field next to the road. Her hands were covered with mud, her cracked fingers were bandaged due to extensive laboring, and her shoes' soles were worn open. When we arrived at AhSan's front door, all the villagers gathered around. With tears in her eyes, his mother in her ethnic language asked a teacher to translate; she begged that we try to help AhSan's education. These two, a mother who bears hardship without complaining, and a son who studies assiduously, touched me profoundly.
As a result of the continued decline in the value of the US Dollar, since last September, we have been transferring donations to our Peach recipients based on daily exchange rates. The current exchange rate for US Dollar to Yuan (Renminbi) has climbed to 1: 6.99, and our Peach children's' living expenses have also been increasing. In order to continue the same level of educational support, we are preparing to change the aid to a middle school student from US $ 105 a year to $125 starting this September, a high school student from $205 to $250, and a college student's loan to $300.
Rising inflation has our Peach volunteers already struggling for a living, and we recognize that our request for an increase in donation means that we are asking for more from our dedicated members. Nevertheless, while US $20 may mean an extra entre or two in a restaurant in our eyes, for the Peach children it is three weeks' worth of meals.
Our Volunteers' Spring Understanding Tour composed of 10 volunteers from the US , Taiwan , and Mainland, was successfully concluded at LiJiang on March 31st. This is the first time since the ¡°volunteers' household visit tour¡± was changed to ¡°understanding tour,¡± and was a trip that combined household visits and sightseeing over 7 days. Although LiJiang is renowned for its popular tourist sites, the fondest memories taken away by our volunteers were the time spent with the children and the visit to their homes. Every visit, every encounter, and every conversation greatly touched and affected everyone.
After the understanding tour, we led our volunteers onto YuLung and YangBi Counties for further inspections, a smooth trip that ended on the 10th of April. We visited 8 villages in YangBi County , where prosperity has spread in recent years, and farmers who now grow walnuts and tobacco enjoy can make a very decent living. For this turn of fortune we are very pleased that YangBi County is no longer on our recipient list.
Peach's goal is to take on every single impoverished county in Yunnan Province , and we'll tackle them one by one. If one poor county becomes gains prosperity, Peach will turn to the next poor county--until children in the last impoverished county in Yunnan Province have been given the opportunity to benefit from an education.
In 2007, PEACH Association in Taiwan was successfully registered, and its first activity was to donate about 2000 books to students of WenShan, BaoShi and FongLiao elementary school. And this year's activities have included newspaper subscriptions to seven classrooms in FongLiao elementary school, as well as book donations to libraries.
Summer has arrived, and so have the annual Summer Camps. This will be the fifth year for this annual event, and this year we will have three sessions held in Yan Yuan County in Sichuan Province , Yuan Yang County in Yunnan Province , and YuLung County in Yunnan Province . Applications have already been filled, and there will be 80 young and adult volunteering teachers to join more than 600 children invited for this summer event.
Summer camp is one of the important programs by Peach. While scholarship and mini-loans help the children's tuition and living expenses, summer camp provides a profound opportunity for these students to see and get to know directly the PEACH members who have supported them. The kids really want to express the gratitude they feel in their hearts for the generosity of our peach supporters, whom these kids consider a second mother or father. It also provides an opportunity for us to help the kids deal with some very challenging psychological and family issues many of these kids deal with. The difficulties that the children face are not only financial; of equal importance are the psychological trauma and lingering issues they carry. Since childhood, poverty has brought them contempt and condescension from neighbors, classmates, relatives, and even teachers. The mission of the summer camps is to help direct them away from the shadow of self-pity, self-deprivation, and hopelessness, and into a joyous life of confidence, self-esteem, and optimism about their lives and the opportunities that await them.
Based on past experiences, a week long of encouragement and affirmation by our volunteers uncles and aunts at the summer camps have slowly but surely built up their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Summer camps are also the proper time for their annual medical checkups. Besides eyeglass prescriptions, we also check for chronic diseases such as stomach disease, chronic headache, rhinitis, otitis, skin disease, etc. Last year about 90% of the children attending summer camp were diagnosed of minor chronic diseases. Again, I urge everyone to be helpful and generous in donating for Summer Camps.
Best wishes and happy Dragon Boat Festival,
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 (at US$20 per library)
I would like to donate ______ to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate ______ to the small -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$250 for a high school student , US$125 for a middle school student.
Please make check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION.
P.S. We need old laptops, cameras and cell phones.
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