PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
September, 2012, issue No. 32
Dear PEACH partners:
Let＊s share some of the high lights of this year＊s Summer Camps.
Our accomplishment〞we have invited 29 employed college graduates from the Yuanyang and Lijiang areas to a dinner with camp volunteers, after which a brief conference was held. These were the very first generation of PEACH students, whose names and faces I can still recall〞only troubles is〞I can not match them correctly. It＊s just been so long that I have not met with them, and I do miss them.
One by one, the children recounted the transformations that PEACH had brought forth to them: how they sailed through graduation, found jobs, established families, sent their siblings to schools, and took their family members＊ to see doctors. Some of them returned to their home villages to teach, some became judges and provided legal advices and speeches to fellow villagers, etc. Hearing all these, I laughed, I cried; indeed, what else more can I ask for? Even the old veteran volunteers had the same sentiments; witnessing their self-sown seeds to bloom, then to fruit as they are now〞it＊s just too emotional for them to bear.
Had these fine children not met PEACH, they would have to carry on their parents＊ legacy , farming with their faces to the soil and their backs to the sky. A shiver of fear came up my spine〞how many more of these children are suffering from loss of education in China today?
Elementary School Summer Camps--- from July 31 to August 7, 2012, two sessions of summer camps were held simultaneously in Yulong County＊s Gaohan and Houqing Elementary Schools, where 40 PEACH university students served as teachers to 220 pupils.
Surrounded by picturesque mountain ridges, these villages of them are isolated due to insufficient roads and transportations. The college students had to ride for 3 hours and then carry their backpacks and luggage to climb the hills for another 2 hours before they reached the schools. Seldom leave their villages; the children process very little knowledge of the modern technologies. The arrival of the college students had created quite a stir to these curious. However, when someone tried to open a camera to shoot photo at them, they all fled to hide in a commotion. It took a lot of patience to teach them to say, ※Excuse me,§ ※Please.§ ※Thank you.§ And so as to guide them to clean and sweep, to stand in line for meals, to wash before meals and after toilets, to play games, to tell stories, to sing and dance＃The college students become more confident on the stage compared to the nervous at the beginning. And the kids have turned to enthusiastic participating in speeches and dance rather than shy and withdrawal from performing.
Laurice Children Medical Fund 〞as previously mentioned we called upon the donation of a medical fund; such request has now been met.
A 21 years young volunteer in America, Laurice who suffered from cancer, had departed on the 19th of March 2012. Over the years, she was one of our most devoted volunteers helping us on the translations of the students＊ autobiographies. Her estate of US $38,000 was donated to PEACH as the medical fund for the students; hence the Laurice Medical Fund is set up to memorialize Ms. Laurice Shern. Furthermore, Mr. Zhang, also from America, decided to donate his cemetery fund to our Medical Fund. And last, but not least, Ms. Pang from Taiwan has donated US $10,000 as well. We are so grateful that we are surrounded by angels.
Staff＊s Salaries〞at our Mainland Chapter＊s Kunming Office, a staff of 5 are currently being employed, of whom 4 were former PEACH students. Since middle school they had received aids from PEACH. Reaching the second decade, today PEACH is increasing from the usual budgeted 400 annual new students to a bold new recruitment of 600. If not for the supports of this very capable, diligent team, I would not have enough courage to expand. The staffs are always the most integral assets in the operation of a company. Our PEACH staffs＊ daily routines consist of the: 1) dispatching and auditing of roster of new students 2) visiting of students＊ homes, 3) disbursing of financial aids, 4) following up on students＊ current status〞includes forms and photos, 5) auditing and disbursing of college loans/living expense small-loans, 6) hosting of all levels of summer camps, 7) mailing of tuition notices to donors, 8) organizing volunteers＊ understanding tours, 9) exploring/developing new project sites, 10) distributing winter gifts to students, 11) mailing books to small-libraries, 12) bringing sick students to hospitals, 13) forwarding mails from students and mentors, 14) publishing the ※Peacher Magazine,§ 15) handling of any emergency.
The annual salaries of our staff total to be about US $50,000, which is a difficult sum to raise. Here we would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Edward Yang for his donation of US $10,000 to memorialize his late father. And I would also urge everyone to donate to our staffs＊ salaries〞without them, PEACH can hardly stride.
Great News: result of college/high school entrance exam〞as of July 2012, there are 477 middle school students to pass onto high school, 342 high school students to enter colleges, and 108 university students to graduate successfully. Without your lovingly assistance, the children would not see their dreams to realities.
Volunteers＊ Understanding Tour〞from October 20 to 27 of 2012, 16 volunteers will travel to Yuanyang and Honghe Counties in Yunnan Province to learn about the living conditions of our PEACH students and how PEACH operates.
The 2013 Summer Camp schedules are here; we are accepting applications till 1/31/13, first comes, first served.
1st Session: 7/9/2013〞7/19/2013 at Yuanyang, Yunnan〞still open
2nd Session: 7/20/2013〞7/26/2013 at Yulong, Yunnan〞still open
3rd Session 7/26/2013〞8/3/2013 at Yongsheng, Yunnan〞still open
4th Session: Elementary School camp, details to be announced.
Note: Teacher positions of the Elementary School Summer Camp are not open to the public--they are reserved for PEACH college-students only.
Enclosed please find a few autobiographies by our kids, a series of writing we call ※the depth of hearts of the Peach children."
I would like to donate ______ to the Laurice Children medical funds (at an average of US$20 per child.)
I would like to send ______ children to attend Summer Camp (at US$50 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 China staff salary funds
I would like to donate _____ to the small loan for middle 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.
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.
Phoneㄩ650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
11165 Zhu XX, 9th grade, Male
Translated by Laurice Shern
In 1999 my father passed away, so my mother had to support the family by taking up his livelihood and chores. In 2002, I began attending school. At first, I did not want to go because I was afraid that the teacher would hit and criticize me, and that my classmates would make fun of me as well. I didn＊t understand that the opportunity to study was a luxury. It was only until my mother＊s insistence and my older brother＊s and my teacher＊s encouragement that I went to school. Because my family was too poor to afford new books, I brought a worn out Chinese book that had pages missing from it to class. Later my teacher gave me a math book.
In that year, my mother was abducted and sold. She had told us siblings: ※I am going out to work. Once I have earned enough money I will return.§ But the two men who had promised this work lied to her and took her away. She never returned.
From then on, my older brother had to take care of the family, even though he was only older than me by two years. Once I finished school at noon I had to come home and cook by myself. In 2004, a heavy raining season caused our house＊s roof to leak. There weren＊t any dry rooms in the house; the entire place was wet and not a dry seat could be found. We couldn＊t live in the house.
In first and second grade, I would always take someone else＊s book. In fourth grade, the government provided books for free. But I could not afford the additional prep books so I could only rely on the textbooks. My older brother dropped out of school to earn money so that I could continue my studies. Because my older brother undergoes such hardships for me to go to school, I definitely treasure this opportunity to study. I am going to be very studious and I will never give up.
11166 Li XX, 9th grade, Female
Translated by Laurice Shern
My hometown is located in a remote, mountainous area. I was born into a poor family 每 my ancestors had been humble farmers for many generations. Because my paternal grandfather is mentally handicapped, my paternal grandmother abandoned him when he was a young man. She moved out of town to form another household elsewhere and left behind her two children: my father and my aunt. Consequently my grandfather, aunt, and father were on their own from that time on.
When I was five, my family became penniless. Taking my three year old brother with them, my mother and father left to make a living for themselves. A year later, they returned. I was overjoyed! For a while, my mother stayed at home. But her feet were wrecked 每 my mother will always be a handicapped person! My young heart suddenly filled with anger. I hated the factory plant where my mother worked. If they had paid for my mother＊s feet to be healed, my mother would have been able to live a healthy life 每 one without physical or mental pain.
A disability may not be a serious issue for the rich, but for the poor it is a devastating situation. I became sick a year later and my father had to borrow a lot of money for a doctor to treat me. Our family circumstances became less and less optimistic. During those years, our family did not have enough to eat and depended on others for food. My parents were afraid that I did not have enough to eat, so they sent me to my maternal grandmother＊s house. My parents left home to work, even though my mother was sick. She looked much older than her age 每 as though she was forty to fifty years old. Her body was like a bag of bones.
Furthermore her injured foot couldn＊t move, like a wooden puppet. I was incredibly sad because I was small and deeply loved her. I lived at my maternal grandmother＊s house, where I continue to stay at to this day. People have scoffed and said: ※You might as well change your last name to your mother＊s! It＊s as though the Lee family has raised you instead.§ Hearing this, I don＊t know whether I should feel grateful or sad, as my heart has mixed feelings. I want to go home, but what is the correct path for me to take? It is difficult to find my path in life and just as hard to pursue it.
During my second year at my grandmother＊s house, I started elementary school. I didn＊t understand anything in first grade, but starting from second grade I began to understand some skills important for my survival. People had laughed at me, insulting me by comparing me to a homeless person who wandered from place to place. I＊d sworn to study harder, but at first my test scores weren＊t good so I would cry in secret. Finally my hard work paid off and my performance improved something which I＊ve continued to maintain.
As I grew older, I began to comprehend a greater deal. I learned that ※poor people aren＊t necessarily poor,§ as we are more likely to work harder. I love learning even though I am not one of the best students. I＊ve also come to cherish my education and what I＊ve learned. I will not spare a single minute to let go of this opportunity.
I love my family. Each one of them lives a harsh life. They all need care and help, but I cannot do much for them besides spending time, saving money, and being studious for them. I am determined to not let any obstacle, no matter how challenging it may be, to interfere with my education.
11167 Huang XX, 9th grade, Female
Translated by Laurice Shern
When I was three, a devastating event occurred. My father became sick, and from then on he was unable to get out bed. He passed away once I turned five. Two years later, my mother also left us as well. At that time, I was seven and didn＊t understand why my mother had remarried. But following this incident, my world became dark. My older brother and I came to live with my grandmother.
From the moment I entered school, I became determined to ※study hard so that I could change my fate and change my family circumstances.§ I did not ask to eat or dress well 每 as long as I had enough to eat and could study then I had no other wish. I never asked my grandmother for money. She works in the harshest conditions, working from morning to night so that I can go to school. Every cent is earned with hard work and sweat. How can I bear to spend the hard-earned money that my grandma makes? I want to save every penny and crumb of food and do well in school so that I can repay my grandma. I will face every obstacle, no matter how difficult it is, to reach my goals. Time passes by very quickly 每 with each day I grow up while my grandma grows older. Although there are many problems in my family, I still wish to pursue my studies. My faith has never wavered, and I have never complained about my fate because I know that God treats each one of us fairly.
11169 Li XX, 9th grade, Male
Translated by Laurice Shern
My grandmother passed away much too early, as my father was only ten at the time. He had only attended elementary school before this change in family circumstances forced him to go work at Gejiu instead. On the other hand, my mother is illiterate for she has only had two to three days of primary school education. Because her family was poor, my mother had to work as well. As such, my father worked as a water courier and my mother as a cleaner. While they were poor, they still lived happily.
However, my father changed when I turned three. He became bad-tempered and no longer worked as hard as he used to, and thus his wages were often withheld from him. Plus, he gambled with his neighbors, drank till he was drunk every night, and often quarreled with my mother. Our happy home turned into an unhappy one.
Because our family had difficulties and since my grandmother＊s home was closer to school, my mother sent me there when I turned six and had become old enough for school. I studied at Pingzhai School for four years, but while there a single unforgettable, horrifying incident occurred.
It was a sunny afternoon and I was walking out of the classroom door during a rest period. I was next to a window when BOOM! My left eye got hit by something. Before I＊d closed my eyes, I＊d seen a girl crouching at the window sill. She＊d been opening the window, and while doing so, had accidentally let the window hit my left eye with great force. Consequently I crouched down in pain, my hand clutching at my left eye. Water or blood flowed down my face 每 I did not know which. The pain couldn＊t be described with words.
My older male cousin saw me, scooped me up, and ran towards my grandmother＊s home. He called my mother to return from the fields (from time to time she would return from Gejiu to my grandmother＊s home). My oldest uncle advised that my left eye be treated, or else the eyeball would pop out of its socket. He mended my eyes, leaving only my right eye to see. I was afraid that I＊d be known as the ※one-eyed boy,§ but fortunately my eyesight returned.
Yet I seem destined to suffer. One day, I was able to return home with my father, mother, and younger brother. But on the second morning, my father suddenly suffered a stroke. After a week of treatment, he passed away. My family incurred a debt over ten thousand dollars. Not soon after, my grandfather also became sick and passed away. Although my life is full of tragedies, I am not willing to admit defeat. I want to study hard and change my destiny.