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● "Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report,

"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Autumn 2017
November 3, 2017

Dear Partners,

How are you?

This year’s Student Grant Autumn program is completed! All volunteers’ hard work is well appreciated. For the convenience of the volunteer we arranged to complete the program before Mid-autumn festival and National Day so we arrived in Guangxi Province in the hot September. We start the program from Lingyun County. After the holidays we completed our journey in Gansu and Sichuan Province.

Autumn is the beginning of a new semester and like other years there are lots of applications from Napo , Jingxi, Wen County and Nanjiang County . The volunteers interview each student then together the volunteers discuss , review and strictly filter the students with the most difficult family situations before they can be selected into the program.

The lives of students in this program and other students are different. During the holidays these students have to work in the fields or help at home. Their grandparents may be old or sick and their parents are working somewhere and they may not see each other even once a year! So they are the main "working force’, they have to do chaos like harvesting, planting ,weeding, collecting firewood ….etc. also there are never ending house works like cooking, laundry, getting water.

1. Lingyun County

The school year just started in Lingyun County. The teachers are busy preparing for the new school year that they do not have time to get to know the situations of students in each class, or any new grade one students who are poor and need help, so this semester we have not increased any new students grant and done any home visits in Lingyun County.

September 1st is the first day of school, next day is weekend and Teachers Day following. Both teachers and students were still relaxed and happy to return to school . Everyone was happy to see us.

Once I know how they spent their holidays I told them about a message left on a black board by a off-farm worker. I told them the meaning as a gift for beginning of school year. Most students’ parents work away from home. They are illiterate or have little education so they do mostly labourers work like road work, construction, cleanings , janitors and lifting…. Most of them only go home once a year, some have not been home for a few years because they want to save the expensive fare home for family use.

I pointed out and explained to the children this off-farm worker’s message is full of feelings, sentiments , expectations, pains, anxiety, advises, encouragements ….Some children thought of their parents as they continued to take notes with their eyes all red, some continued to write knocking their head. They understood and got the feeling. I told them it is a blessing that they can go to school without any worries and they should treasure it. They have to work hard so they can change the future ,their parents can have a better life. Fate is in their own hands.


She does not looks lost as she remembers her dead parents. She takes note from the conversation, she feels happy.

In order for the children to have hard working habits,I make a deal with them like last year. I asked them did they work hard following their learning plan to reach their target and adhere to the end of semester. As expected there are only one to two students in each school endured to the end. These students confidently and quietly said they had improved a lot, more interested in their studies and feeling more confident . They became the models of other students by their adherence and hard works. Most of the students adhere for a period of time then give up. I told them it is not easy even just for a short period, but the difference between success and failure is perseverance and adherence. I teach them how during the process to overcome difficulties, work hard and challenges that their mind will mature. They will develop interest in studying then adherence is not as difficult.

The students listened to all these and understood the reason why and how to work hard and how to adhere to their studies and they promised to do so. That night they wrote down studying plans and starred to carry it out the next day. These two themes are the continuation of the forum last year. It opened the minds of students and helped them towards their studies. I gave the same talk about these two themes to all students in schools starting from Lingyun, then Napo, Jingxi, Wen County , Quingchuan and Nanjiang, so I will not repeat in the report again.

There were one to two junior high students of the Ethnic Middle, Luolou and Jiayou shared their results of adherence: last year they progressed and this year transferred to advance lass ,but admitted have not worked as hard as they could. This year they will do their best. Some children honestly said they had tried their best though still fall from 5th to 7th position they still felt proud. They will continue to do their best and believe will breakthrough . To my surprise many students in grade 3 senior high school adhere to their targets and plan of studying till the end of semester so they progressed. These students have followed my advice , during holidays they have made plan and new targets for this semester already. This make me very happy and proud!


Everyone raise their hand and promise Auntie Jian: will make studying targets and plan till semester finish.

Thanks to Yuan-Cong Xie from Beijing and Ji-Yang Lyu from Chengdu. They collected donations form their classmates and brought English -Chinese dictionaries for students in Lingyun’s Tomorrow Program. There are associations of pictures of animals ,plants ,fruits ,food and world map etc.in the dictionaries .Everyone are surprised. The donors have a warm loving heart.

We are also moved by the students from Guangxi !

More seminars and home visits. Please view pictures and stories from: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=347

2. Napo County

There is heavy rainfall in Napo County a week before school starts on August 24th. All roads are flooded. There are two senior high school grade3 students( not Tomorrow Program students) washed away when returned to Longhe Middle School, their mother school, for documents to apply for grant in university . Napo Ethnic playground was also flooded. When water had resisted, school organized emergency workers to clean up mud on the playground. By September 1st all clean ups were completed before school start.

The playground of Longhe Middle School is under construction. The talk of taking over Dingye Middle School for a few years, but the compound is too small for it to happen. There are lots of changes with the teachers, not enough teachers and they have lots of work. The English teachings intended for 3 teachers are taking by two, some even have to cross over to teach. These two schools are far from County, traffic is inconvenient. More teachers leaving than coming. Those families who can afford will send children to study inside the County.

Two TCL volunteers Uncle Wang (Shi-Ming Wang) and Big brother Meng (Ji-Chang Meng) join our Napo student’s grant program. After individual interviews and strict eliminations we accepted quite a few poor grade one middle school students from Napo Ethnic School , Longhe Middle School and Dingye Middle School. There are some of our students from these 3 schools entering into Napo High School.


Volunteers climbed mountain in the rain to home visits

During the forum the children listened closely. The newcomers sat in the front, it is lovely to see them full of excitement ,interest and concentration . Uncle Wang talked to everyone how internet affect people’s lives. It opened the children "s mind. He also emphasized the importance of setting up targets and learning plans. He talked about the effects of Chinese traditions and thinking on learning and growing up. Big brother Meng has the same background as the children in Guangxi villages. He shared with them his growing up and learning experience in middle and high school. He taught them some learning methods. He is the children "s best example!

Two male students at Longhe Middle School worked hard to follow their plan till the end of the semester. One said the result was better than expected and his confidence was much better. Another grade three middle school student said though his studies improved he did not feel complacency as there was no end in studying and there were still lots to learn. His new target is to enter the ideal high school as he wishes . They are not just good examples to the other students, they also make us proud of them. It is really good to know most of the high school students already set up their learning targets and plans during the holidays.

We could feel the children were full of expectations as soon as we stepped into Napo High School conference room. Everyone was happy and welcomed us with high spirits. During the two nights forum children asked lots of questions. When the forum finished there still lots of students gathered around the volunteers and asked questions till we left at 10:40 pm. There were a few high school girls who had good study results, understanding and full of life asked me privately about home violence., severe contradictions with their parents , their worries and fears ….. It is not easy for them to endure these difficult situations till now. One of them is even top in science focus class. It is really not easy for them .We feel so sorry.


Students stayed behind to talk to the volunteers after the seminar

We home visited new middle school students in Napo Ethenic Middle School, and Dingye Middle School. The journey was far and mountainous. It was especially difficult to do home visits in the rain in Dingye. At we have limited time at Longhe it did helped when a few new students lived along the streets. It saved us time and energy.

More pictures and stories on meetings and home visits: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=346

Thanks to TCL Volunteers Mr.Shi-Ming Wang who helped to broaden children’s mind and world, Mr.Ji-Chang Meng who helped the children to see their future and hopes.

Thanks to student Yuan-Cong Xie from Beijing and Ji-Yang Lyu from Chengdu for their lovely English-Chinese dictionaries.

3. Jingxi County

After Jingxi County changed to municipality two years ago, difference of living standards and construction between city and countryside is getting bigger. One year or so ago the government built a new 4th middle school in the city outskirt . This year in the summer they built a new 5th middle school. During summer holidays School master of Kuixu Middle School told us the school might be eliminated. It was confirmed a while before the school year started. The students of Kuixu were diverted to 5th middle and other schools , exactly where is not clear to the school .Government will subsidize weekly fare home to students diverted to county schools . The situation of the school master and teachers of Kuixu is not clear, even education assistant department do not know. It is still quite confusing as there are a few far away schools also get eliminated.

This semester education department is promoting "Development of all round education" . Everyday inspectors are sent to all middle schools in the countryside. We ran into them everyday when we were in the countryside. These two years there are constructions done on middle schools in countryside and in the county as needed ,example canteen, playground, teachers’ quarter, classroom etc. The quantity of teachers are seriously lacking and no signs of improvement. For example in Longlin Middle School teachers are needed for science, biology, English, chemistry, geography, language, and even art teacher is teaching biology. Most teachers from countryside buy houses in county because of their own children’s education. They like to transfer into county . This situation will not change in the near future.

There is a increase of new students after strict selection in Nanpo, Ande, Guole and Longlin Middle School. Two volunteers fromYe-An property management company of Guangdong, Uncle Jiang and Big brother Fang joined us at this point.This is the second time Uncle Jiang joined us at Jingxi County. He told the story of four scholars to the students hoping children look upon them as examples. He also told the students they need to follow rules, make plans, be polite and civil, love studying and advocate example as their five good habits . Big brother Fang also encouraged children to overcome difficulties and study hard. Thanks to these two volunteers that gave exquisite note books , pens and gift bags to the students of Tomorrow Program . The children are very happy.


Uncle Jiang told the Four Scholars story to the children

Besides “Messages left by off-farm worker” and hard work, perseverance, and adherence as the main topics, according to the situation of each middle school student l also use story telling method to enlighten and assist them. I also taught them the four basis methods, asked them to write down study plan for this semester and hope they form a good foundation at middle school. Uncle Jiang explained the meaning of Tomorrow Program, encouraged children to work hard for their future and hope.

Students from Jingxi First Senior High School are more mature, open and serious than middle high school students. They posted more questions and answers. They asked the following questions: how to overcome the psychological problem of fears, he gave up hosting school meeting because afraid of public speaking? How to study better in language , science and politics ? How to overcome distractions? What can be done when unable to catch up the teaching in live internet teaching? What can be done when feeling anxious as notice some students study till one to two o’clock in the morning instead of getting enough sleep? How to control emotions because students talked behind each other or being looked at differently and was affecting their studies ? We are happy the students asked these psychological questions and believe our answers will help them.

This time the home visits to Nanpo Middle School new students is an unforgettable experience. A teacher and two students brought us to do home visits. The first boy that we gave grant to is our typical case : a single family home child. The father works as coolie and only comes home once a year. The child lives with his 82 years old grandfather. Every weekend he returns home from school to help his grandfather to work in the field . His home is very shabby, but on the wall posted many certificates that belonged to him. On our way to the second child "s home he told us his father suffered severe mental illness and could be violent. His mother was beaten so much that she left three years ago and have not returned. Grandparents were also been beaten and had to be hospitalized . The child rolled up his sleeve to show us his healed arm. We just sat down to talk to his grandfather when a half naked man came out screaming angrily to the child and was going to hit him. I realized then he is the father of the child. I knew he would hit the child hard. In order to protect the child I told him to run. We left in a hurry after a bit of entanglement. He chased after us. The brave child was unable to stop crying…. I felt so sad as I consoled him. This is not just a scene but is what he has to endure each day. I don’t have to talk to the grandfather about the situation of the family anymore, I just hope the child will grow up safely. I told these two motherless children to encourage and look after each other. During the forum the child told me he also had lots of certifications inside his cupboard. I am happy when I saw them looking happy and serious in the classroom.


When we left the father with mental illness chasing out to try to beat the child

More home visits and meeting please view the pictures and stories: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=345

Thanks to Uncle Jiang ( Hua Jiang) from Ye-An property management company of Guangdong for the teaching and lovely notebooks and also for the assistant of smiley Mr. Ming-Cong Fang.

4. Wen County

Big brother Wen from Chengdu met up with Auntie Jian, Auntie Lu, and Auntie Liu from TCL company in Chengdu. After driving eight hours we arrived at Qiaotou Township of Wen County in Gansu. We had a quick dinner before meeting with about 70 applicants for Tomorrow Program at 4th Middle School.

There are more middle school students and less senior high school children in Wen County 4th High School. Students at the Tomorrow Program is the same ratio setting. All children are simple and shy. There are some grade one high school students from Tomorrow Program in Wen County First Senior High School . First Senior High is the model school of Longnan area. They use strictly close management. Students are very hardworking and understanding . They are very serious and focus.

Big brother Wen is our old "partner ". He has given me lots of help when I set up Tomorrow Program nine years ago. He voluntarily helped us to set up website and so maintenance. This is the first time he has taken time off and joined students grant activities. He told Wen County students the story of Ming-Yang Wang and the monk, blacksmith’s professionalism, adherence, big and small extravagant legacy and improvement. Last year Auntie Liu participated in Napo students grant program. This year she chose the difficult route of Wen County. She used the way of storytelling to tell the children the importance of personality and thankful for self imperfection, self acceptance and not afraid of the future. Auntie Lui also brought some gifts: dictionary for 4th Senior High new students, exercise towels for 4th Senior High old students, football for 4th Senior High, water cups for a few 1st Senior High students in "physical education program" . thank you very much!


Auntie Liu encouraged Wen County 4th Senior High children

There is still improvement in filling the gaps of "taking measures for poverty alleviation" in Wen County . A few home visits to new students reveals these families are very poor yet not in precision poverty alleviation and not receiving low income security. Another two families not accepted into our program and not as poor are receiving alleviation. 3-5 poor households are distributed to each teacher, education personal, civil servant in Jingxi . Every month they have to communicate, eat and work with them and also write report….. Wen County is at the same poverty level according to national standards, but each person only assigned to help one poor household.

There is a grade one high school student at 1st Senior High whose home situation is very poor: the father died long ago, brother died of car accident, mother and her grade one high school daughter live in a unsafe house shared with her husband "s four brothers. They are not in precision poverty alleviation and not receiving low security. They depend on the mother "s farming income. The child has no government grant for education so going to school becomes a problem. I can only console the mother who was crying because she was doubting the sad life she lived. I encouraged her and together we will support the child to finish her high school. When the forum finished the student was kept back for enlightening and encouragement.

More details about home visits and meeting please review pictures: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=344

Thanks to TCL Ms. Xing-Hui Liu for bringing positive energy and gifts to children. Thanks to Chengdu partner Mr. Han-Ling Wen for opening children’s mind and the long drives on dangerous mountain to do home visits.

5. Qingchuan County & Nanjiang County

Big brother Wen and us left the Wen County by driving along the dangerous 212 highway and continued our journey to Qingchuan County. This is the last year in Qingchuan. We completed our 10 years Qingchuan student grant program. There are still 24 students in Qingchuan High School in county seat. They are the last group of grade three senior high students. There are only 8 grade 3 senior high students left in Zhuyuan Town Qingchuan 1st senior High School.

Big brother Wen shared his high school experience with the students. He also told them to value their pure high school friendships , to resist outside temptations and attending university was to learn about knowledge and not just skill…… Besides talking about the above main themes of this semester and answering questions, I encourage the children of Qingchuan to try their best to prepare for the "College Entrance Exam" in seven months .. I talked about emotional management as requested by last year 1st Senior High students. When the forum ended there was a girl and her friend stayed behind crying and asked questions about not being understood by teachers and other students ( these are the same questions asked at Jingxi First Senior High and Napo Senior High grade Three students). Perhaps next semester I should talk to all students in more detail about EQ and emotional management.


Big brother Wen sharing his high school experience

It is unfortunate that a few friends had to cancel their planned trip to Nanjiang due to unforeseen circumstances. Big brother Wen returned to Chengdu from Qingchuan. Auntie Lu and I arrived at Nanjiang to expand this year’s the last stop for this autumn student grant program.

Like before it is peaceful at Xialiang Middle School and Shangliang Middle School . We spent a happy afternoon meeting with students from these two middle schools. I am also pleased to see their dedication in listening, taking notes , shyness and their smiling faces. At that moment they have forgotten their difficult family situations and worries, the longing of their parents, the difficult journey home, their lives experience, different looks from other students …...

Two special needs brother and sister from Xialiang Middle School Middle School applied for students grant. They are two years apart and both study in first grade middle school. They were not clear in their answers at the forum . The next day during home visit their grandfather cried and said the children’s father was dead , their mother had ran away leaving the two slightly retarded grandchildren…. The house on the hill was unsafe and unable to live in it. The whole families, two grandparents ,two grandchildren and two single uncles had been living in temporary shelter for 3 months. Lucky government is assisting them to build anew house…. Though middle school is free , they still have to pay for uniforms, other school expenses, living expenses and fares home at weekends and all these are big burden to the family.


Grandfather is crying as he talked about the family situation

Please view more home visits and meeting pictures: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=343

Thanks to Mr. Han-Ling Wen for him taking time off to join Wen County and Qingchuan students grant program. It was hard and tiring driving long distance!

Thanks to my partner Ms. Yi-Jun Lu for her participation in this year’s autumn student grant program. We traveled together from the hot Guangxi to the cold Wen County and North Sichuan. We witnessed sadness and conveyed love and hope.

......................................................................................................

When the forum concluded in Linyun Ethic Middle School a second grade student stayed behind. She asked me about "Tomorrow Program": How did it start? What made you keep on going? Where the donations come from? so on. I was surprised by her questions as I answered them. When she knew both me and Auntie Lu are permanent volunteers, all the donations are from the loves gathered by all aunties and uncles , all donations are only spent on the children and not on anything else, why every semester we use so much time and energy for students forum besides giving out students grant, understanding the healthy growing up and progress of the children are the reason that keep us going and no other reason…she smiled as tears running down and said: the world is still good, hopeful, future is bright…. I will work hard to repay the loving hearts of aunties and uncles……

Thank you all partners for all your love and helps, together we continue to convey our love, Let the world be a better place! Thanks for love!

Thanks for having you!

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program

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"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Spring 2017
May 7, 2017

Dear Partners,

Good day!

This spring’s Grants work was a success with the help of the volunteers. Their love, encouragement and guidance have brought warmth and fighting spirits to the students, and have also brought us laughter and touched us. We thank them for their efforts in taking all the trouble to make the long and difficult journey during their volunteering.

1. Lingyun County, Guangxi

In the beginning of March when the temperature changed frequently in the town of Lingyun county, we ushered in Tang Ping, teacher of Peking University. That evening we had a symposium with the “Tomorrow Program” students of the Lingyun Ethnic Junior High School. Mr. Wang, Tang’s classmate at Peking University, who works at the Lingyun government also came to meet with the students and gave them encouragement. This year’s Spring Festival came early, so the school term also started early. Although it was March yet it has been 3 weeks since the school term began.

The junior high students of the Ethnic Middle, Luolou and Jiayou were more focused, matured and polite than the last school term. On the study side, some students followed our suggestions to make their study goal and method and worked hard in last school term. They have achieved significant progress. However, most students were not able to persevere to the end of the school term. Using his marathon run experience as an example, Teacher Tang of Beijing University told the students the way to study and the importance of perseverance.

Teacher Tang was also from the poor county of the mountains, where the geographical environment and conditions were similar to Lingyun county. He shared with the students his learning process of how he overcame the difficulties after he was criticized by the teacher at high school when his mathematics grades regressed. He wrote down the questions he did wrong, made repeated review and summarized his experience until he did not make the same mistake, and had his grades restored to the previous high level. This let the students benefited a lot. He also used short stories to inspire the students to think more when encountered difficulties, to think about whether to change the way and methods of learning to enhance efficiency and result.


Teacher Tang of Peking University teaching students methods of study

At our suggestion and request, the students once again wrote down their study plan and personal character enhancement plan for this school term. The junior high students were not quite sure how to make the plan and encountered more difficulties. We gave them detailed reply whenever they have any question, and taught them what to do. They seriously took down the salient points. In the coming school terms, we will ask the students to make up a plan for the term and follow the goal achievement methods to work hard and persist in study. This way, they should slowly become more skilled, do better and better. We believe this will be of great help to their study, to be a person and in doing things.

Last school term, Lingyun senior high school moved to a brand new campus larger in area with beautiful scenery, but a bit further away from the urban area and not so convenient in traffic. So far, the playground and part of the campus facilities and the parking lot outside the campus are still not yet completed. This time, we came across the once a month two day weekend off when the students could go back home. Although most of our students did not go back home, we still extended the time of the symposium on Friday so that the students could go back home on Saturday, or stay in the school to study, rest and make up the sleep time.

The senior high students brought up the issue of making choice on studying liberal arts or science, having serious bias at certain subjects, no self-control etc. We answered them one by one. The only 3rd year senior high student asked Teacher Tang: What capabilities are required for study in university? The answer he gave to the student also benefited us greatly. Using the answers given by Teacher Tang as the basis, we added a few other different capabilities and passed them to the other senior high students. We are very thankful to Teacher Tang.

For details of the home visits at Lingyun County, please refer to the photo descriptions.

We thank Teacher Tang Ping of the School of Life Sciences, Peking University for the encouragement and guidance he gave to the students which greatly benefited the students and us!!

2. Napo County, Guangxi

A volunteer, Shi Xutong, who was unable to join our Student Grants activity a few years ago when she was a 4th year university student joined our Napo Grants work this time, taking annual leave from her work. We are most pleased that we finally met with her. When we arrived at our first stop at the Ethnic Middle School, and as we just entered the teacher’s office and spoke with the teachers, we heard a panting voice behind us: “Isn’t that Aunt Jian?” When I looked back, our first year junior high student ran in with a brilliant and excited smile on his face, just like having seen a long departed relative. Having not seen him for 6 months this orphan who suffered from congenital diabetes have grown half a head taller and looked good. He was elated to take me to the bulletin board to see the last school term’s list of study grading of the class, and he was the 13th top grade student of the class. He said that he would continue to study hard to get into the first 10 top grades list. I am really proud of him, and even happy for him that his diabetes has been well under control under the condition that he did a self-injection after every meal.


He led us to see his last school term grade on the bulletin board

Sister Xutong shared her high school study experience with the students. Her ardent love in sports activities and negligence in doing the school work resulted in decline in study grades, and the process of reversing this to success let the students learned that as long as one is determined, make all out efforts, everything is possible. We helped the students to make this term’s study plan and asked them to do best to persist, and we also used story-telling to let them understand their own value, learn why they must work hard, and taught them how to use the “precious study methods”we told them before to overcome difficulties.

The old road to Longhe and Dingye township that has been destructed by the big trucks that transport aluminum ore was still difficult to navigate through. Fortunately, the newly constructed mountain village road has been opened to traffic. This road on the high mountain was very narrow, making it very difficult for two cars to cross each other. Also the low visibility due to frequent fogging made it necessary to drive with caution.

The traffic inconvenience resulted in a serious lack of teachers as it was difficult to hire new teachers to replace those who were transferred to other areas. Even a few subjects did not have teachers to do the teaching, leading to serious protests from parents. The county government planned to merge the eight rural junior high schools, to integrate resources and teachers, hoping to be more efficient in providing better junior high school education, and to solve the current shortage of teachers. The plan included relocating all the teachers and students of the eight rural junior high schools to the newly integrated junior high school close to the county, and will provide the students transportation fee for going back home every weekend. Currently, expropriation of land close to the county is underway and the plan was to complete the integration in 2018.

We told the 3rd year junior high students of the Ethnic Middle, Longhe and Dingye junior high, and other areas about the various preferential treatment and subsidies to the senior high students of the families under the Precise Poverty Alleviation (PPA) program, so that they can feel at ease to do the final sprint to sit for the senior high school examination. The grant from us together with the nation’s subsidies greatly eased their family burden. (more information on the PPA program could be found in the report below on Jingxi county)

In the recent past years, the junior high students of the Ethnic Middle, Longhe and Dingye junior high schools have been successively admitted to Napo high school. This year, there are 85 senior high students. After these many years of companionship and teaching, these students know well how to handle situation, become very serious and hard working. Besides sharing her growth experience with the students, sister Xutong also shared her view on puppy love since she saw the notice of prohibition of falling in love on the bulletin board in the campus. This was the first visit of our partner from Chengdu, Aunt Lu, to Napo. She shared with the students her high school experience when her study grades slipped back after she encountered setbacks, and how thereafter she changed her mind-set and was admitted to the university with high grades. This inspired the students.

Three 3rd year senior high school girls showed me their academic results of the last term. They said that the results were in accordance with our agreement in last term i.e. unremitting efforts in following the self-set study goal and method. Two of them ranked the top 30, one ranked the top 40 among the more than 1,000 3rd year senior high students. We are really happy and proud of them, and believed that they definitely will be able to get into the ideal university of their choice.


The high school students were not willing to see sister Xutong leaving

We explained to the 3rd year senior high students how to apply for national student loans and various subsidies for the students in poverty, the things to pay attention to as a freshman and the various capabilities required for university study. Everyone dropped down notes seriously. In the two day symposium, the students brought up many questions and we answered them one by one. Some 1st year senior high students have difficulty on the choice of taking liberal arts or science. The 3rd year students gave them very good suggestions. What surprised and touched me most was the question raised by a boy of 3rd year senior high – he handed me a slip with his question written there when I walked over to him with a microphone. His question was: My mother ran away since I was very little…. now should I go to bring her back?

All along we have protected the privacy of each student. As I was thinking whether I should answer him in private, the other students asked what his question was. I asked him: are you sure I can read out your question? Can I answer in public? He said that I can. This was very shocking to me. Throughout these years he had learned from our “precious study methods” to deal with matters with love. Not only had he forgiven his mother in his heart, the emotion of missing his mother was overflowing on the paper. I believed that my answer provided him the direction, as well as helped the other students with similar situation.

The students were so enthusiastic in asking questions that the symposium was already overran seriously. The last question from a 3rd year senior high school girl was: I participated in the Tomorrow Program when I was in 2nd year junior high. In the past 5 years, you came to see us every school term and let me learned a lot of the truth in dealing with people and matters. Not only did we get love, we also learned to love ourselves and love other people. I propose the 3rd year senior high students to stand and thank the “Tomorrow Program”, thank Aunt Jian. It turned out the 1st and 2nd year students also stood up to thank us, which touched us very much.

For details of home visits, please refer to the photo stories.

Our thanks to the partner from Shenzhen Shi Xutong for the love and warmth she brought to the students.

3. Jingxi County, Guangxi

Having been changed from county to prefectural city one year ago, Jingxi’s urban area has been expanding and become more prosperous. The gap between the rich of the towns in the southern part and the poor of the northern mountain countryside is getting bigger and bigger. The five junior high schools under our program were on the northern part where basically nothing has changed except rebuilding of the decrepit houses in the recent past years.

The Precise Poverty Alleviation (PPA) program was more thoroughly implemented in Jingxi, although the degree of precision is a matter of opinion, yet all public servants were assigned several poverty households, and they were obliged to go to the countryside to help these poverty families and then submit progress reports. The nation’s investment in education is still relatively large. The junior high schools of Longlin, Guole, Ande, Kuiwei, Nanpo and the Jingxi No.1 Middle school all have, or are building new teaching buildings, students cafeteria, teachers dormitory, school gates, playgrounds…. and so on. It is a big difference from a few years ago.

High school students of families that were rated as PPA family were exempted from tuition and textbook fees and received national grant, the grant amount is not exactly the same for different areas. Some areas were granted an average of Rmb2,000 per student per year (such as Lingyun county and the Wen county of Gansu); Jingxi’s grant was rated according to the family’s poverty extent, the top rated family received national grant of Rmb3,500 per year, 2nd rated family Rmb1,000 per year. Since it is a 9 years compulsory education for the junior high students, then their original poverty county student dormitory subsidy and nutrition lunch were maintained, there was no special grant/subsidy. Some of our program’s students’ families in each county were rated as PPA family, some were not rated due to various reasons.

The Guole junior high school was small. Currently a new teaching building was under construction on the foundation of the old building. Because the school is of small scale, they have lost a lot of students to the county or the nearby Longlin junior high school. Last school term, we have no addition on 1st year junior high student, nor did we need to do home visits. The county government planned to merge small rural schools, integrate resources. There is no idea when these could be realized.

At the Guole, Kuiyu and Longlin symposiums, the students were still very shy but were focused and dropped down notes. The overall learning atmosphere at some schools was not very positive. We explained to the students the truth of the need to make effort, inspired them to study hard, and explained to them the government subsidy policy for high schools, so that they feel at ease to finish their junior high study and strive to get into the Jingxi No.1 Middle School. From their eyes and facial expressions we can see yearn and determination.

We are pleased to welcome the two volunteers from TCL, big sisters Sun Cheng and Yang Yang, to join the Jingxi student grants. They also brought laughter and practical suggestions for study to the students of Nanpo, Ande and Jingxi No.1. Sister Sun explained the memory model of the brain and how to remember more effectively all the homework that need to be memorized; sister Yang Yang taught them to do the study planning schedule, to do a good job of time management to achieve the goal. Their talks and suggestions were great help to the students on how to achieve the goal of this school term.


Sister Yang Yang taught students how to do a good time management


Sister Sun Cheng handed out student grants

This school term, up to 50 3rd year senior high students of Jingxi No. 1 under the “Tomorrow Program” will graduate. The students were very enthusiastic in asking questions during the 2 day symposium. The 2nd day symposium that started at 6:30pm was extended and ended at 10:30pm. Their questions included: lots of pressure, sometimes felt restless with anxiety and could not persist, what to do? After being admitted to university would like to first stop studying and serve in the army for two years, any suggestion? Ability and ambition are in disproportionate, whether to give up? How to choose a university major? University life is like a mini-society and will be in contact with more and more people, in case one encounters situation like whether to help an elderly who falls down, how to handle it? We answered in detail the confusion in their mind, and taught them how to think when they have problem. Sisters Sun Cheng and Yang Yang also supplemented with many learning methods.

Similar to the situation at Nanpo senior high school, when we left, the 3rd year graduating students were most unwilling to see us leave, some of them hold their tears, some whipped off their tears. It was really sadden, yet happy and grateful that the six years of our companionship and assistance have seen them grown up from 1st year junior students to getting into the university.

Please refer to the photos stories for home visits.

Thank you to the TCL partners Sun Cheng and Yang Yang for the help and laughter they brought to the students.

4. Wen county, Sichuan

After the Qingming Festival, together with the volunteers Liu Hua of Chengdu and Liu Feng from TCL, we headed off from Wen County of Chengdu. About 8 hours later we arrived at the Wen county’s Qiaotou township. That evening, we held the symposium with the students of the No.4 Middle School. We thank our Chengdu partner Mr. Wang Li for arranging the car for us.

Wen county is located in the mountains where transportation is extremely inconvenient. For the past years we were the only student grants organization that came here. The simple students of the Qiaotou township finally was able to see that we have arrived. They were full of expectation and curiosity of the big brother and sister’s visit.

Big brother Liu Feng told the students that he also came from the village; in his childhood, he took having to study and do homework as the excuse to avoid working in the fields. He had never thought that the excuse really made him to have interest in studying, and his parents were proud of his results. He used his story to make the students know that the mind-set is import for studying, and it also needs to have the right way of studying, to learn from good examples, and it is important to be persistent. Big sister Liu Hua had participated in the Napo student grants two years ago. She used the stories of three Napo students as example to teach the students about having “three hearts”: to have a loving heart when doing things, to be persistent in studying, to have confidence in oneself. The students took notes on the salient points seriously.


Big brother Liu Feng talked about the ways to study

At the symposium in the following afternoon, we found that many junior high students did not know how to write up the studying goal and methods for this school term which we taught them the previous night. (The No.4 Middle School is a junior and senior high combined school, with the majority being junior high students). Once again we explained to them how to do, and the big brother and sister also made detailed supplements. Brother Liu Feng used memorizing individual English word as an example and suggested that after they quantified the individual words, put them under the daily studying goal; sister Liu Hua suggested to use a special notebook to write down the salient points during class, and use a special notebook for each subject to write down the questions that they did not answer right to facilitate going over them again. These suggestions are very practical and useful.


Sister Liu Hua explained the importance of a special notebook for wrong answered questions

A 2nd year senior high student stood up to share one of her goals for this term, which was make the greatest effort to do the best of oneself, do well in perseverance, never give up. I asked all the students to write this down as a motto to spur oneself. When the symposium was over, many students saw us off to the car downstairs. As we walked downstairs, we repeated to them our advice. From their eyes, we can see that they all understood what we have talked about in the symposium – why they need to work hard, be persistent, love oneself, what to do …. and so on.

The Wen county is building a river front park and expanding the river side road that we must p, ass through. It must be a good place for the residents to spend leisure time when they were completed. On Friday evening, the No.1 Middle School has no spa, re classroom, and the school let us used the new academic lecture hall that looks like a cinema. The hall was too big and the seats were too luxurious, I was really not used to it. Fortunately, we continued with our symposium in an ordinary classroom on Saturday. Wen county No.1 Middle School and Lingyun senior high both are key model senior high schools. The government expropriated land further away from the urban area to build brand new campuses, which are broad in area, well-equipped. Wen county No.1 Middle School even has two large transportation vehicles that provide shuttle service for the teachers living in the urban area.

The homework of the senior high students gave them great pressure. Brother Liu Feng and sister Liu Hua both explained to them in details the mind-set and methods for studying so that they have the direction to work hard. After the symposium on Friday a 1st year senior high school boy stayed behind and asked me: “After getting into senior high school, the pressure is great on me. Now I do not have any basic strength and confidence, what should I do?” Since many students have similar problem, so on the next day’s symposium we placed emphasis on the theme “how to build up self-confidence” while teaching them to make use of the “rare and precious book of martial arts” to deal with confidence and other various problems surrounding them. The expression of relieved in the students’ eyes and their smiles of at ease made us very pleased.

Please refer to the photo stories for home visits.

We thank our partners Liu Hua from Chengdu and Liu Feng from TCL for making the long journey to participate in the Wen County student grants, thanks for your trouble.

5. Qingchuan County, Nanjiang County, Sichuan

In the two senior high schools Qingchuan Middle School and Qingchuan No. 1 Middle School of Zhuyuan town, there left only students of the 2nd and 3rd year were under the “Tomorrow Program”. When the 3rd year students graduated this term, the beginning of the next school term will be the last year of our presence in Qingchuan. It gave us a feeling of suddenly see something in a clear light when we saw the green mountains and clear water of Qingchuan after we came from Wen county in the barren mountains

The situation of the students here did not differ much from the other high schools. To lessen their pressure, solving their problem, encouragement were the theme of the symposium. The 3rd year senior high students of the Qingchuan Middle School told us their dream of the future and how they overcome personal difficulties in the past two years. From stopping and resuming schooling, to having full confidence in preparation for the university entrance examination. The 2nd year senior high students of Qingchuan No.1 Middle School asked whether we could make a revision for them in the next school term on management of emotions. We left Qingchuan with the thanks and reluctance to see us leave from the 3rd year senior high students.

The students of the two junior high schools of Lower Nanjiang and the two junior high schools of the Upper Nanjiang were more earnest and steady than in last school term. They did not understand what impact the “Precise Poverty Alleviation” program has on them. Like in other schools, we explained to them in details so that the 3r year junior high students can sit for their graduation examination with peace of mind. Nanjiang county has five senior high schools. We explained to the students that we will continue with our student grants only when they were admitted to Nanjian No.1 Middle School. It is impossible for us to visit all the five senior high schools to talk to a few students. The students understood this and we also asked the not too many graduating students to let us know when the examination result is available.


Seriously taking down salient points of the symposium

Almost all the junior high students of the rural area have the trait of bashful, shy, afraid to speak up, dare not ask the teacher when they did not understand in class, which have serious impact on learning. Using this as example, we taught the students the “rare and precious book of martial arts” to overcome the fear in their heart and encouraged them to be brave in asking questions. Among our students there are some orphans, also some are adopted abandoned baby as well as students from special poverty families. Therefore, at the symposium, we specially taught the students “management of emotions” in greater details which is easier to understand so that they learn how to effectively shift emotions.

For home visits, please refer to the photo stories.

My thanks to my partner Ms Lu Yijun for her full participation in the Guangxi, Gansu, Sichuan student grants and for her going through the 2017 Spring with us hand in hand.

A 3rd year senior high school boy of Jingxi No.1 who was outstanding in both conduct and study told me privately when he saw us off to the school gate: “Aunt Jian, you rest assured I will continue to work hard in my study. What made me proud of myself is I give myself an A on personal character. You’ve told me that after graduated from the university, everyone’s professional knowledge level is almost the same, only people with good personal character can excel others.”

Thank you very much to all the partners for their continuous love and financial aid to the students throughout these years so that they can move towards higher and farther futures.

Thank you for having love! Thank you for having you with us!

Tricia Jian
“Tomorrow Program”
www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Autumn 2016
November 10, 2016

Dear Partners,

Hello, everyone,

The autumn Student Grants of this year has been completed satisfactorily. With the help and the loving heart of the volunteers from all areas, the Grants work was smoothly completed in the touching and joyful atmosphere.

Our great appreciation to Kelun Pharmaceutical for providing us with the transportation to the Wen County of Sichuan, and to Mr. Wang Li of Chengdu for helping us in resolving the transportation problems in Gansu and Sichuan. The assistance from Kelun Pharmaceutical and from Mr. Wang saved us lots of time and energy, enabled us to do our Grants work with ease of mind, for which we are thankful!

After the Grants work was completed, I have arranged the photo stories. However, in one careless operation the USB drive was damaged. In order to save time, I once again from the large volume of photos picked some to make up the “Work Report in Photos”. Therefore, this time there will be no detailed report as done in the past. I believe you can get a general understanding of this quarter’s Grants work from the photo narrations. I am very sorry that they are not as detailed as in the past. The “Work Report in Photos” is in 2 parts, please open the attached files to read them.

I thank everyone for your continued help to the students through the years. The “Tomorrow Program” is entering its 9th year, the number of students under the Grants reached 11,500. With your help, not only were the students’ life and financial situation alleviated, all the more, they could feel there is love in this world, as well as learned a lot on the truth of being a person and of doing things. In a letter, a 3rd year senior high school student wrote: “… I want to be a doctor who saves precious life. I think this career is very sacred and of extraordinary significance. I will learn the top-notch medicine, acquire superb medical skill; and I want to help the others as you do, to give medical care to those who cannot afford to see a doctor, to help the children who are similar to who I was. Aunt Jian, I will study hard and realize my own value of life, and live up to the earnest expectations of all those who love me. Thank you! Please say thank you for me to the uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters of the “Tomorrow Program”; thank you for your concern and help. Thank you!”

Thank you, everyone! Your help has brightened the children’s future, allowed them to have their dream and to put into reality their value of life with a healthy, optimistic and grateful attitude.

Wishing everyone

Good health and happiness as the heart desires!

Tricia Jian
“Tomorrow Program”
www.tomorrowcn_org

1.“Tomorrow Program” Student Grants Work Report, Autumn 2016
– Gansu, Sichuan (Wen County, Qingchuan County, Nanjiang County)

Many new students of Wen County and Nanjiang applied to join the “Tomorrow Program.” After interview, the volunteers together did a detailed analysis, screening and discussion of the students’ data and selected the poorest and most in need of help students. Only the 2nd year and 3rd year senior high students of the two high schools in Qingchuan still need to be helped. Two years later, we will withdraw completely from the rebuilt to brand new Qingchuan.

Click here to view the photo report on the 2016 Autumn Student Grants in Gansu & Sichuan province: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=332

Many thanks to each and every volunteer for the love and assistance:
* Song Yu, doctoral student of Beijing University, participated in Wen County, Gansu Student Grants
* Ms Ye Meijin from Taiwan, participated in Qingchuan and Hanjiang Student Grants
* Ms Lin Li and Ms Li Xiaoxia, volunteers from TCL, participated in Nanjiang Student Grants and gave the students exquisite pencil cases and candies
* Mr. Chen Quanmao of Fuzhou, participated in Nanjiang Student Grants, helped the students to know about the world outside the mountains
* Mr. Li Jie of Guangdong, participated in Nanjiang Student Grants
* Ms Lu Yijun of Chengdu’s participation through out
* Xie Yuancong, 3rd year senior high student of Beijing 101 Middle School, and his junior partner who raised English-Chinese dictionaries as gifts to the new students of Wen County, Qingchuan and Nanjiang

Our great appreciation to Kelun Pharmaceutical of Chengdu for providing us with transportation, as they always do, to Qiaotou Village of Wen County.

Very thankful to Mr. Wang Li of Chengdu for arranging the transportation to participate in the whole Student Grants process after Wen County, which saved us lots of time and energy!

2.“Tomorrow Program” Student Grants Work Report, Autumn 2016
-Guangxi (Lingyun County, Jingxi County, Napo County)

In the new school term many first year junior high students of the various junior high schools applied for the “Tomorrow Program”. A group of new students were enlisted into the Program after interview and screening by the volunteers.

The students were in good mind state. Besides handing out grants, the volunteers also used inspirational stories to inspire them and taught them the gist of learning math, English, time management, emotions management, review on last school term’s performance, set learning goals for this term, and how to enhance personal character…… The students promised to work hard to achieve the goals they set for themselves. It was touching to see the seriousness they shown.

Click here to view the photo report on the 2016 Autumn Student Grants in Guangxi province: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=333

Our great appreciation to the volunteers for the love and hard work they contributed:
* Ms Xu Huizhong from the United States - participated in the whole Guangzi student grants activity
* Mou Liming and Huang Jiahuan. 4th year undergrads of Beijing University – participated in Lingyun student grants
* Ms Lu Yijun, partner from Chengdu – participated in Lingyun and Jinaxi student grants
* Ms Liu Xinghui, Mr. Chen Qi of TCL – participated in Napo student grants and gifted school bags to students of Napo
* Su Yanting of Baise College – participated in Jingzi GuoLe junior high student grants
* Thank you to Wang Guanwen, junior partner from Chengdu, for raising funds in school to buy English-Chinese and Chinese-English dictionaries and ball pens as gifts to the students of Jingxi County

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"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Spring 2016
May 13, 2015

Dear Partners
Good day!

This year, we started our student grants for Lingyun County as scheduled, amidst the constant changing temperature of spring, immediately followed by Napo and Jingxi Counties. We appreciate very much the laborious contributions by the volunteers that brought the students warmth and hope.

1.Lingyun County
The volunteers arrived at Lingyun County in early March, and I was touched and excited to see these old and new partners! Having spent the whole day on flight, train and car to arrive at Lingyun, there was not sufficient time for rest. We have to immediately head off to the Lingyun Ethnic Middle School after having a noodle in hurry at a tiny restaurant next to the hotel. It was a tiring day when we returned to the hotel at around 9:30p.m.

Our itinerary began with the Lingyun Ethnic Middle School, followed by the junior high schools of Luolou and Jiayou township, and ended at the Lingyun senior high school at Lingyun County. When we started our symposium at every school by asking the students how were they doing, they remembered what brother Jiang taught them in the last school term and responded loudly: “Good, well, very good!” The classrooms were filled with positive energy. They felt particularly intimated when they saw Aunt Lin and Aunt Li of TCL and Uncle Zhuo of Jingxi; they were curious with expectation toward the teachers Liu and Wang from Shenzhen Xili No.2 primary school.

Teacher Liu demonstrated the operation of the robot and the drone he assembled, and let the students watched carefully how to control the drone’s flying and took an aerial group photo at the playground of each school. The novel experience brought exclamations, praises and the students seemed to have some understanding that using the brain and both hands, they can create dream that they thought to be distant and unattainable.


Teacher Liu demonstrated photo taking with Drone before the symposium

Teacher Wang let the students to form a circle to teach them the inter-acting game of “We are family”. The rural children were relatively timid and shy in personality; they were from different grades and schools. The game was to make them interact with the students on both sides. From being shy at the beginning to getting acquainted, the whole process was with joy and laughter. Not only was the morale boosted, it also promoted their mutual trust and friendship.

Aunts Lin and Li from TCL brought candies, biscuits to the students which sweeten their taste and heart. Aunt Lin taught the students to distinguish positive and negative attitude, asked them to draw fruitful positive and negative trees in their note book to remind themselves they need to cultivate positive attitude to face the challenges and difficulties and to understand the result brought about by negative attitude.

Lingyun Ethnic Middle School is the best junior high school with the most students. The students in our program were very good and were brave to speak up. One student shared his experience of sharing with his classmates the stories and truth that we talked about in our symposium and received his classmates’ warm applause.

An orphan of third year junior high with outstanding achievement has been perplexed over whether to sit for the senior high school entrance examination or to attend vocational school because he did not want to increase the financial burden of his uncle. I got to know his potentials from the past two years contact and told him not to easily give up his dream; the “Tomorrow Program” will definitely help him to get over the three years senior high school financial difficulty. He thanked us with a deep bow and tears in his eyes. I believe I will see him again in the next school term at the Lingyun senior high school.

The road from the county to Luolou township had been belt. It is narrow, winding and uneven. A half an hour car drive must be extremely long and hard to teacher Zhuo who has motion sickness. Luolou junior high is building new teaching building and playground. The teachers and students got used to gusts of wind which made the campus dusty. Luolou was located at the depression of the mountains. Because of a bit far from the county and inconvenience in transportation many of our students even had never been to the county and were isolated from the outside world. Thus, our arrival has even more far reaching impact on them. The students listened attentively and made notes during the symposium. They gathered around the volunteers to talk with them after the symposium and were unwilling to see us leave.


Volunteers full of positive energy

Many of the students of Jiayou junior high school drawn colorful positive trees in their note book as taught by Aunt Lin. They were innocent and lovely like primary students, a great contrast to the students of Lingyun senior high. Senior high students are relatively more mature and conversant. So far, only 27 of the graduated junior high students under our program were admitted to first year of Lingyun senior high school. As the number of students was relatively small, we only arranged one evening symposium. Next school term, there should be more 3rd year junior graduates under the “Tomorrow Program” being admitted to Lingyun senior high school, when we will arrange one more evening symposium so that the students can bring up more questions and have opportunity to share and exchange with the volunteers.

Link to photos on Lingyun County Student Grants: http://tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=325.

Our appreciation:
To Ms Lin Li and Ms Li Xiaoxia of TCL for their participation again in our program and being our strongest partner; our thanks to them for their telling stories to the students, teaching them to face difficulties with positive attitude and brought to them candies and biscuits to replenish energy;
To teachers Liu Hang and Wang Enlong of Shenzhen Xili No.2 primary school who brought very different activity that gave everyone a novel and joyous new experience;
To teacher Zhuo Lige of Jingxi for his encouragement and blessings to the students.

2.Napo County
Zhang Zhiqi, 3rd year senior high student of Taida, Tianjin who participated in our Jingxi student grants in last spring will be heading to the United States this summer to study in the university. He chose to do one meaningful thing before he leaves the country: to participate in the 3 weeks Napo and Jingxi student grants program, to do something for the students to his best. So, teacher Zhuo, me and Zhiqi started the Napo and Jingxi program.

When it was close to the evening self-study time the students of the Ethnic Middle School had already gathered at and were waiting in the video and audio classroom where we happily met. They told us they have a good winter holiday. Those whose family raised pigs killed pigs to make preserved pork before the New Year. Strips of preserved pork meat hanged above the fire stove were enough for the year’s consumption. When asked if they hire someone to be the butcher, they replied in laughter that it was the job of the elders in the family. Families who do not raise pigs usually have chicken instead to celebrate the New Year.

Su Yanting who graduated from Napo Longhe junior high school (now a 2nd year senior high student of Baise school) had presented me last school term a handwritten book of inspirational quotes. I ask several students to each read out a paragraph to share with the other students. More importantly it was to teach them to learn from her positive attitude and regardless of any difficulty they encounter, to use this positive attitude to deal with it. Also, to learn from her to use the inspirational quotes written down to motivate oneself, to comfort and remind oneself.


Inspirational quotes written down by Su Yanting who graduated from Longhe junior high school

Big brother Zhiqi taught the students the way to learn English and answered a lot of questions. English has always been a most headache subject for the rural students. They do not have language repeater, usually they almost do not have any opportunity to be in contact with English (specially our students in poverty) except in English class. They did not know how to ask the teacher about the many areas in the English book that they did not understand. When they could not catch up, they would gradually lose interest. Zhiqi used humorous way to teach them English; not only did the students understand they also have laughter. It seems the rural English teacher should learn the way Zhiqi teaches.

The road that leads to Longhe village and Dingye village from the county was still bumpy and difficult to navigate, the road surface damaged by the aluminum factory trucks was getting worse, the excavation of the mountain and big pits along the road were shocking to be seen. The students of Longhe under the "Tomorrow Program" have been relatively assiduous, serious, also can adhere to study hard under difficult conditions, just like their sister Su Yanting, which let me really impressed. After the symposium, all 3rd year junior high students spontaneously came over to made a deep bow, and thanked us for helping and teaching them for three years, and accompanied us all the way to the school gate.

Tese children still have many questions to ask, one who was very good in his school grades asked at the gate whether he should choose Baise senior high school or to stay back and study at Napo senior high school? Two sisters of the same class and in particular difficult situation (their mother passed away years ago, the father was in disability and the family lived on aids of neighbors) asked whether they should continue to sit for the senior high entrance exam and continue with their study; the school fees and living expenses etc. were the greatest obstacles of theirs. I guaranteed to them that we will be in company with them in their three years Napo senior high study; there have been precedents of special assistance given to special circumstances. Another boy who was in dilemma whether to sit for the senior high entrance exam because he has no confidence on his study results told me in a very firm tone at the school gate: Aunt Jian, I will see you next term at the Napo senior high school; I will strive to prepare for the exam to give myself a promising future.


We told the student’s parent: no matter how difficult the finance is, she muse let the child to study; we will definitely assist the child to finish his senior high study.

The hot and cold weather of spring was impermanent, during the symposium we found about half of the students were coughing; I even teased them it was a coughing class but did not expect the next day, I and Zhiqi caught fever and coughing. Fortunately Zhiqi recovered after taken two days medication but I got even worse.

The number of students in Dingye junior high school was small, there were not too many graduates this year under our program. About half of the graduates decided to study at the vocational school, the other half were admitted to the senior high school. The school’s headmaster was changed to a new one, the teacher responsible for the “Tomorrow Program” was also changed. Zhiqi taught the students the way to learn English while I focused on strengthening the students’ psychological building. Apart from handing out the grants to the students, I also gave them the group photo of ours taken in the last school term. The volunteer sister Liu of last school term enlarged and printed out the group photo, have them laminated and asked me to give them to the students. The students were just like having received a treasure and were very happy.

There are a total of 70 “Tomorrow Program” students in the 1st and 2nd year of Napo senior high school. They were graduated from the junior high school where they were under our program. Currently, there are yet no 3rd year senior high students under our program. Next term, there will be another group being admitted to 1st year senior high school, and the Napo senior high students under our program will increase.

Zhiqi specially prepared a set of English teaching materials for the senior high schools which is of great help to the senior high students. They learned seriously, brought up lots of questions on the teaching materials to Zhiqi even after the symposium. Seeing their serious attitude I was really pleased and touched. These students understand they have to work harder than others so that in future they have the ability to compete.

Link to photos on Napo County Student Grants: http://tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=326.

3.Jingxi County

About one hundred of the “T, omorrow Program” students of Jingxi First Senior High School happily gathered at the video/audio conference room on the 6th floor of the teaching building and were very happy to see uncle Zhuo, Zhiqi and me, just like seeing long separated relatives. Since our grants to them that started from their junior high schools in various villages, these students have grown up and were very much matured.

It was the 79th day countdown to the collage entrance exam, and every 3rd year students were worried and anxious. After I briefly explained to them how the brain works, I taught them some methods to relieve emotional stress, anxiety, worry and fear. These were also very helpful to the homework and examination stress of the 1st and 2nd year students. Every year at this time, we will make review with the 3rd year students on the things to pay attention to after the examination: such as how to apply for national student loan, travel subsidies, green passage, scholarship application…., and things to pay attention to after entering the university…. etc. etc., as well as encouraged them to make the last 79 days fight for their future.


Zhiqi with the 3rd year senior high students of Jingxi No.1 Middle School

The English teaching by Zhiqi was most popular; in addition to the vocabulary, grammar, he also taught the students English composition. I believed this will be a great help to the students’ essay writing during the examination. The classroom was very big with many students; Zhiqi did no wear the portable speaker that I have, which led to his throat became uncomfortable the next day.

I was reminded the night before by a student that this term, I need to explain to them emotions management. Several students who had heard of our symposium and came to attend the session told me afterwards: “Very shocking, thank you Aunt Jian.” The symposium which started at 6:30 p.m. should end at 8:30 p.m. but was delayed to end at 10 p.m. because of the questions, hugging to say good-bye after the symposium, especially the 3rd year students were reluctant to leave. Several 3rd year students bowed deeply to thank us for the love and teaching in the past six years, which very much touched me.

The Nanpo and Kuixu village were a bit far from the county and did not have lodging facility. We have to take 3 hour drive to and from every day. Fortunately the road leading to Kuixu have been repaired and was no longer bumpy and difficult to drive on. Ande and Guole village were also far away, only Longlin village was closer to the county, which took about 45 minute drive. In addition to teaching English in the various junior high schools, Zhiqi sometimes also talked to the students the importance of continue to study and encouraged them to study well. In Nanpo and Guole, I still used Su Yanting as example to teach the students to face problems and difficulties with active, optimistic and upbeat positive attitude. I also got them into deeper discussion, stressing that they must work hard and persevere in order to give themselves and their family a promising future.


Home visit at Nanpo Village

As my flu condition was getting worse, Chief Zhao of the grants office of Jingxi Board of Education came to assist and joined our grants trip to Ande, Guole and Longlin. At Ande and Guole junior high school, Zhiqi made the main speech during the symposiums, Chief Zhao and teacher Zhuo also discussed and encouraged the students. I can only say something to Zhiqi with a totally hoarse voice and asked him to relay them on the spot to the students of Ande. When bidding farewell, one boy came over and said: Aunt Jian, don’t worry, I will work hard.

At the last stop at Longlin junior high school, Chief Zhao suggested that we split into two teams – Zhiqi and Chief Zhao will make home visits, I and teacher Zhuo will host the symposium. This way, we can be back to Chengdu one day earlier to see the doctor. During the symposium, the students were particularly quiet and listened attentively. Seeing the relief and firmness in their eyes, I knew that although my voice was hoarse and weak, they all heard me with their hearts. During the handing out of the student grants, every student hugged me, told me to take good care of myself and wished me a speedy recovery when they received the grant.

Link to photos on Jingxi County Student Grants: http://tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=327

Because we were concerned we have missed out to explain the adjustment of the junior and senior high grant amount to some schools in the last term, this time we decided to once again explain this to all the schools in Lingyun, Napo and Jingxi. We received the unanimous understanding and agreement of the students and the school and we decided that the implementation will start from next school term: for junior high students, a downward adjustment to ¥600 per annum; for senior high students, an upward adjustment to ¥1200 per annum. For students with special difficulty, as have done in the past, we will provide special assistance.

Our great appreciation: To teacher Zhuo for participating once again in the entire Guangxi student grants trip, quietly helped in arranging and handling many things and issues, lessen many of my burdens; in these two school terms teacher Zhuo become our unsung hero, thank you teacher Zhuo!
To Zhang Zhiqi for setting aside time to give English lessons to the students at a time when he has multitude of things to take care of before heading for his study in the United States; for his encouraging the students to continue with their study to create their dream of the future. What touched me is the love and sensitivity of Zhiqi – in his heart he and the students are equal; the respect, love and friendliness to the students from his heart is really rare. Thank you Zhiqi!
To Chief Zhao Guangmang of the Board of Education for participating in the student grants among his busy schedule; much thanks to his timely assistance, his trust and support given to us throughout these years.

Wishing our partners
Good Health, Peace and Happiness!

Tricia Jian
“Tomorrow Program”
www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Autumn 2015
November 11, 2015

Dear Partners,

Good Day!

The two months long Autumn Student Grants ended satisfactorily on November 5th. The many touching experiences that we have had in the two months with the students, teachers and volunteers cannot be put in great detail. We can only provide a brief overview of each area, and supplement them with photographic descriptions. For this we ask for your understanding.

General Overview Of This School Term

September is the start of the new school term. Just as last year, a group of junior high graduates from the “Tomorrow Program” were admitted to the local senior high school. We will continue with their grants until their graduation. At the same time we have also accepted applications for grants from a group of first year junior high students. After interviewing and screening each individual to understand in depth their family’s impoverished situation, they were included in the “Tomorrow Program”. Many of the first year junior high students look like elementary students, contrasting their great difference with the second and third year junior high students.

Every school term, apart from the issuance of grants and the home visits; the headmasters, teachers and even the staff of the education department all agree that the most significant long term positive impact and changes affecting the students are brought about by the care, guidance and encouragement we have given them during our two day symposiums. We extend our immense appreciation to the volunteers who participated in the program over these years; your contributions not only brought love and hope to these vulnerable impoverished children, you have become their role models that will have a far-reaching impact on their future.

There were not many school assignments for the summer holiday for the junior high students, some schools did not even have any assignments. The students said they spent most of their summer holiday doing farm work: harvesting corn, tilling the earth and planting potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, rice and feeding the pigs, chickens, ducks etc., picking up firewood and cooking meals... Most of the children only have elders (grandparents) at home, therefore they become the main labor force at home during the summer holiday. The senior high students must return to school to participate in extra classes and thus they have a shorter holiday. Apart from farm work, several students traveled together to the county to take summer jobs to earn extra money to supplement the family income. One second year senior high student went with his father to work in Guangdong to experience the hardship of working away from home, which buttress his resolution to continue with his study.

Again this year, many of the “Tomorrow Program” third year high school students were admitted to the university and colleges. Xu Caiqin of Jingxi High School was admitted to Sun Yat-sen University, which made her mother school, Longlin Junior High School very proud. The first year high school students will have a mock exam that will last three days starting September 11th; the exam results may be used as the basis for class grading. Some students worried whether we would continue to be present at that time to accompany them during their three years of high school life.

Several of the “Tomorrow Program” junior high school graduates of Napo, Jingxi and Lingyun were particularly successful in their exam results. They could have been admitted to the leading senior high school of Baise City but due to their families impoverished status, they could only study at the local high school and received special grants from the school. This time when they met with me, they held me and cried sadly. After I comforted them, they accepted the reality of their situation and realized that the results of the coming national exam for university entrance depended on one’s hard work instead of having studied in a leading senior high school. The repression and resentment in their hearts were released.

All these years, I have profoundly understood that most of the rural students were passive in their study. They were overwhelmed by the heavy load of homework; they dared not ask questions in class when they did not understand, which gradually accumulated and led to psychological fear or weariness in studying. Therefore, this school term, apart from detailing the rationale, we also arranged for the students an “assignment” – everyone is to draw up the clear goals that must be accomplished this school term, write down the steps and methods to achieve these goals and to persevere in these methods and steps every day until the end of the school term, to transform from being passive to taking the initiative in studying. In the second day’s symposium, many students shared their goals and methods, which led other students to imitate, supplement or follow suit, which was a great help to all.

The two day symposium at each school was earnestly attended by the students; the senior high students were particularly attentive as they listened quietly despite the great number of attendees; we were touched by their serious attitude. They were also more confident to stand up to ask questions, ranging from studying to making friends, how to get along with classmates, how to maintain self-confidence long-term, how to overcome personal shortcomings…etc.

Every day, our itinerary was thoroughly filled up, time came and went in a rush; many students did not get an opportunity to speak or were shy to speak face to face, and they handed me written notes or letters before my departure. When I read them in the hotel, they were full of love...

Counties Overview

This year, a total of fifty-four “Tomorrow Program” students of the three junior high schools in Napo County were admitted to Napo Senior High School, which increased the senior high school students of this term to seventy-three. Because the first day senior high students symposium scheduled for Saturday was the last day of their mock exams, we met and talked with the second year senior high students and handed out this term’s grants first, leaving the group discussion to the second day. The “Tomorrow Program” in Napo County is adding more and more students because of the increase in senior high school students and the new addition of the first year junior high students.

As the school term just started in September which was the busiest time, we thank the teachers of all the schools for their full cooperation with our work on the student grants. Our visit also enabled the students to calm down mentally to start making positive efforts for the new school term. The roads from Napo County to the villages of Longhe and Dingye were getting worse than ever, the destruction done to the roads by the heavy trucks of the aluminum factory had caused great hindrance to the commuting villagers, which also made our home visits more difficult. The situation in Jingxi was pretty much the same.

Jingxi is the largest county of Baise, with a broader area and a population of over six hundred thousand. The State Council has recently approved its change to a prefecture-level city, still vested in the Baise City jurisdiction. The villages and towns in the south have abundant water resources and have better living conditions whereas those in the north are in serious rockbound desertification; without land for farming and are very poor, differing greatly with the villages and towns of the south. Among the “Tomorrow Program” first year junior high students many are orphans and are extremely impoverished. Their living condition is far below the poverty line. It is saddening to see these small children under this living and spiritual burden. Therefore, this time we made a special case of giving these students double grants.

Jingxi Middle School has over three thousand students, about ten percent of them are impoverished. The teacher appealed for us to include them in our program. However, in this term many students of the five junior high schools in the northern villages and towns under our program were admitted to first year senior high school, their number were more than one hundred, so we decided to temporarily defer accepting any student until the next term, when we will determine whether to increase the number of students according to the situation.

Some third year graduating students of the three Lingyun County junior high schools under the “Tomorrow Program” were admitted to Lingyun Senior High School and became the first group of senior high students in our program in Lingyun. A few students with particularly good results were admitted to the leading local senior high school and they decided to continue their study in Baise Senior High School and Baise Ethnic Senior High School with the financial assistance of their relatives. We made an appointment to meet with them at the Baise Long Distance Bus Terminal to convey the grants to them and listen to them talk about their dream for the future with excitement.

The volunteers, Auntie Lin and big brother Jiang of TCL, brought with them English-Chinese dictionaries and pens as gifts for the students, as well as positive energy. Big brother Jiang’s “Compliment Exercise” not only taught the students to compliment themselves but others as well, creating lots of laughter and it was the most joyful grant presentation of this school term.

The traffic to Wen County in Gansu Province was very burdensome; the road up the high mountain to Qiaotou village, deep in the mountain, was particularly dangerous. To visit the homes of the students of Wenxian No. 4 Middle School you have to take a narrow road that has a steep slope on one side and a cliff on the other side. The visibility was very poor as we were winding uphill in the cloud cover, the teacher said that we were fortunate as otherwise the volunteers would be scared if they saw how high the cliff we were on. It takes the students four hours to hike back home on the weekends, so far no car has been driven from the city up the mountain.

A student of Wenxian No.4 Middle School who was from a family in particularly difficult circumstances, who was especially hard working, had originally planned not to take the exam for senior high school. He regained hope for the future with our guarantee and encouragement, feeling for the first time that it was not a luxury to study in senior high school. This saddened us. This year some junior high graduates of Wenxian No.4 Middle School who were admitted to the senior high school surprised us with their confidence and conduct in sharing during the symposium. I secretly admired them in my heart. It is the desire of the senior high school students to be able to leave the mountain towards the hope of the future, the torch in their heart have been lit and their wish will only be accomplished with hard work and perseverance.

Starting this school term, only Qingchuan Middle School and Qingchuan No.1 Middle School remained in our program in Qingchuan County. The last group of junior high students has been admitted to the senior high school, and our Student Grants in Qingchuan that lasted a decade will end in two and a half years later. Nanjiang County of Bazhong District, located in the Daba Mountain area having a common border with Shaanxi, belongs to a national-level poverty-stricken county. With the recommendation of the local education department, we started our student grants this school term to the impoverished students of the two junior high schools at XiaLiangXiang (lower two village) and ShangLiangXiang (upper two village) which have more impoverished students.

ShangLiangXiang is located at the foot of Guangwu Mountain, more remote than XiaLiangXiang. The students under our program all come from families of extreme poverty or misfortune, but the strong and studious attitude they have shown at the symposium touched us very much. June 28th of this year was the date the junior high school had the final exam of the school term, when exceptional heavy rain flooded the school’s office and all the classrooms on the first floor of the education building. The students were safely evacuated in time with the full assistance of the teachers but the school and the teachers suffered heavy losses. Except for the surrounding wall having been washed away by the flood, the school basically has now been restored to its original condition with the donations of the local government and outsiders.

Student Grants Adjustment Strategy

In the recent past two to three years, all regions are in full implementation of the nation’s “Two Exemptions and One Subsidy” policy for the junior high school students of the poverty-stricken regions and the Nine Year Compulsory Education. Originally, there was only one free nutritious breakfast, now all three meals are free (the schools in Guangxi make use of part of the “subsidy for the boarding students of the poverty-stricken areas” to pay for lunch and dinner, schools in other regions hand out the subsidy directly to the students but charge for lunch and dinner), free boarding, miscellaneous expenses, cost of textbooks; the only extra expenses of the junior high students are on purchase of supplementary study materials and transportation for returning home on weekends.

Since 2012, senior high students of poor counties were exempted tuition fee, the monthly expenses of a very frugal senior high student is roughly as follows: Breakfast + lunch + dinner : (3.00 + 5.00 + 5.00) yuan = 13.00 yuan x 30 days = 390.00 yuan/month
Living necessities : 100.00 yuan/month
Boarding fee : 225.00 yuan/school term = 45.00 yuan/month
Textbooks : 300.00 yuan/school term = 60.00 yuan/month
Supplementary study materials : 150.00 yuan/school term = 30.00 yuan/month
Total monthly approx. 600.00 yuan; at least 3,000.00 yuan/term; annual 6,000.00 yuan

The senior high schools are in counties where goods are expensive as most of the goods are transported from out of the area, so the cost of living is similar to large cities. It costs the students time and money (transportation) to go back home, so they rarely return home, and for the Mid-Autumn Festival they also stay at school. The nation gives a certain number of poor students of senior high schools student grants - 1st grade grant 2,500 yuan per year or 1,250 yuan each term (this term, the amount has been increased), 2nd grade grant 1,500 yuan per year or 750 yuan each term.

The conditions for the national poor student grants for senior high schools are: 1. The family must have qualification of low income. 2. Must be in the nation’s record for poor families. Many families of the students of the “Tomorrow Program” did not receive the qualification for low income nor were they included in the nation’s record for various reasons. These students were not eligible to receive the nation’s senior high school student grants.

After communicating with the education department, the headmaster and teachers of each school, as well as having the full understanding (after face to face explanation of their situation) by some of our junior high students, we decided to make the first stage adjustment of our student grants beginning the next school term: junior high students ¥600.00/year, senior high students ¥1,200.00/year. We hope that in the future when we have more funds, the grants to the senior high students can eventually be increased to ¥1,600.00/year so that they can study calmly and their life will not be , so hard and distressful.

For some of th, e particularly impoverished junior and senior high students we will continue to give special assistance. For instance, this school term, two Jingxi students received double grants from us, the first year university students graduating from Qingchuan also received our special grants to relieve them from their current difficult situation. We’re able to understand on the spot the student’s family situation and to provide appropriate assistance, and deliver every single cent to the hands of the students most in need of help; at the same time we also adjust the amount of grants depending on the change in situation, so that the junior high students do not spend the money casually, the senior high students not too short of money so they can complete their study without worry.

The sincerity of all the students who received our student grants from junior high to senior high school did not change. They maintained their perseverance even under the dual pressure of homework and finance. It is their dream to get into a university to change their future. Not only do they work hard at their study, they also receive their teachers’ praises for their personal character. The teachers attribute this to the care and guidance given to the students by the “Tomorrow Program”. However, the fact is lacking the teachers’ love and teaching every day and the innocence and tenacity of the students, it would not be able to shape them into optimistic, striving upwards and having heart of love “Tomorrow Program” students.

We very much thank the following volunteers for their contribution, for the love, care, joy and positive energy they tirelessly brought to the students:
Jingxi County: Ms. Lin Huiwen of Beijing
Lingyun County: Ms. Lin Li, Mr. Jiang Guangyuan of TCL
Guangxi, entire trip: teacher Zhou Lige
Wen County, Gansu: Mr. & Mrs. Jin Shaofa, Ms Susan, Alex
Gansu, Xichuan, entire trip: Ms. Lu Yijun

Special Thank You to:

Ms. Lin Li, Mr. Jiang Guangyuan of TCL for the pocket English-Chinese dictionaries they gifted to the students of Lingyun County, also prepared inspirational small cards in small folders for the senior high students, and a set of ball-point pens for each of the first year junior high students who joined the program this year.

Xie Yuancong, 2nd year senior high student of Beijing 101 Middle School together with his three classmates, who formed the “Tomorrow Program 1,001 Back-up Group” and collected in their school two hundred English-Chinese dictionaries suitable for senior high school as gifts to the students of Wen County and Nanjiang County.

Kelun Pharmaceutical, Chengdu who continued to provide the car to transport us to Wen County, Gansu. This solved our biggest transportation problem. Without the assistance of Kelun Pharmaceutical, we would not have arrived in Wen County from Chengdu within the day and to start our work immediately on arrival.

With the support and assistance of all the partners, “Tomorrow Program” is about to enter its eighth year. Many thanks for the funding you have made toward the students who felt the love you have for them. A senior high student whose father does “scavenging” for a living wrote to us: “…really thankful to the “Tomorrow Program” big family for having taught me lots of truth, especially the love and encouragements that let me gradually became courageous, strong, having pursuit and strength; most importantly I became more and more grateful… auntie, I am grateful to the “Tomorrow Program”, it is it that made me know the world can be so warm, that there is such a selfless feeling between people… This family let me have a sense of belonging, let me get rid of bit by bit the self-abasement in my heart, to gradually grow without fear to the winds and rain…”

It is the love and assistance of yours that let the poor and self-abased students to have love in their hearts and learned to be grateful, and got to know that the world can be so warm.

Grateful for having love!

Grateful to have you!

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" Student Grants Work Report, Spring 2015
May 11, 2015

Dear Friends,

Notwithstanding the abrupt change from hot to cold weather in Guangxi in March, I was warmly greeted with "Welcome back!" by the front desk staff and floor cleaning lady at Jingxi County Hotel, the sales girl at the small grocery store and , , the owner of the nearby noodle shop. In this friendly and warm atmosphere we launched our Spring 2015 Student Grants work.

1. JingXi County, Guangxi

Our first stop was still at Jingxi First High School, 117 high school students of the “Tomorr, ow Program” happily gathered together, while some have grown taller all have matured. Although the new school term has just started 2 weeks ago, it is already the countdown for the National University entrance examination that is only 85 days away.

Once again, we explai, ned to the students the notes we had prepared for last year’s senior high school graduates on the issues to pay attention to in the national university entrance examination and their first year in a university. These included how to apply for the national student loan, grants, scholarships, transportation subsidies, green channel, work-study program etc. for students in poverty. They all took down detailed notes. To alleviate the pressure from home work on the first and second year high school students, especially the worries and anxieties of the students of third-year high school, I particularly explained to them the “Wallenda Effect”: if too concerned about an outcome, psychologically it could lead to the consequence of failure. I used this to instruct the students on how to shift from fear and worry over the university entrance examination to focus on their daily home work and revisions that they should complete. When they feel stressed and worried, to use positive thoughts and the pictures in mind to replace the worries. They listened attentively in silence, seriously jotting down the main points and interacted actively.

This group of students had been helped by the “Tomorrow Program” since their junior high school time and under our influence throughout these years, had now been transformed from confused, low self-esteem, and rebellious into grateful, hard-working and self-confident young people. Although there is still a lot of room for improvement, they are already very good and impressed me a lot. They also very much amazed the volunteer of their age who made his first visit to Jingxi. The other five junior high schools are all far away from the county, their teacher or principal provide the transportation for us. Therefore, except for Guo le Junior High, we have changed the evening symposium to be held in the afternoon to avoid the danger of driving in bad road conditions at night. This also prevent us from getting back to the hotel in the county around 11:30 p.m.

There have been gradual changes in the junior high school education in the countryside: in order to improve educational performance and competitiveness, the local governments began to focus on integration of educational resources to the county. Several junior high schools of the county have come to the elementary and junior high schools in the countryside to recruit students of top performance, resulting in most of the best students gradually turned to study in the county schools, making those remaining students even more vulnerable. In some countryside, the female students in the junior high schools almost double that of the males because most rural households still have patriarchal concept, the parents will find ways and give everything to send the son to study in the county junior high school.

Some teachers in the countryside junior highs were also transferred to the county schools, resulting in a shortage of teachers and increased workload and responsibility for the remaining teachers in the countryside but over supply of teachers in the county schools. However, there are headmasters and teachers of the five junior high schools we visited who still stand fast to their post and teach wholeheartedly; they are admirable.

Many schools did not provide students with meal cards. The students of Nanpo Junior High School, upon receipt of the grants from us, used to hand it over to the vice-headmaster for custody. Every week, they will register with the vice-headmaster to collect the amount of grants they need to spend for the week. This way, the students will not lose the money or overspend under the temptation of fellow students, it also ensured the money can meet their needs for the entire school term. Although this will increase the workload of the vice-headmaster who keeps custody of the grants, this is the best means that give the students, the teachers and us the peace of mind. Thus, beginning this school term, we asked the Kui xu, An de, Guo le and Long lin Junior High Schools to do the same way; the request was gladly accepted by the students and teachers.

The two days symposium held at the schools by us were still in accordance with the conditions and needs of the students of each school to strengthen our counseling, such as to enhance the motivation to learn and understand the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in order to make recognition or improvement, to resist the temptation of fellow students and the outside world, to comply with school regulations, to persevere and work hard etc. On the academic side, we arranged for volunteer Zhang Zhiqi, who was from Taida High School in Tianjin and to teach our students English grammar, tenses and how to memorize new vocabulary. The students found it both novel and exciting and learned with great focus and attention.

In the last school term, there wasn’t an opportunity to advocate education on the prevention of sexual assault in Kui Xu and Guo Le Junior Highs. This time, we specially made up for them. Because of our advocacy in the last school term that this time I received a letter from one student detailing the painful experience she had endured two years ago. Even though I was very sad about this, I admired her courage and was pleased with the trust she had in me, so that I have the opportunity to give her personal counseling and help her out of the darkness. Meantime, I prayed that such an incident do not happen again to any students, especially to these most vulnerable poor countryside kids.

In the symposiums held in the junior high schools, we found in each school a very small number of students hesitant in whether to sit for the senior high school entrance examination and were lacking confidence on taking the examination. Ever since the county government implemented the “centralization of educational resources” the learning atmosphere in countryside schools was not good, many students left home to work in other places after graduating from junior high school. This resulted in a small number of the “Tomorrow Program” students struggling over the dilemma of whether to sit for the senior high school entrance examination or to go out to wo, rk. In this regard, I specially analyzed the pros and cons to the students, so that they can take the long term view, and taught them to think about their future and, , make their greatest efforts during the remaining, 90 days. At the same time, taught them to overcome the fear and give it a try with their best effort. From the enthusiastic and firm look in their eyes I felt that they seemed to see hope for the future, no longer anxious and confused.

Click here for more pictures about home visits at Jingxi County, Napo County and Lingyun County.

The questions from the students of these schools included how to gain back the study motivation, whether to sit for the senior high entrance exam, how can they not repeat the same shortcoming, how to control emotions and so on. We gave them detailed answers and hope it to be helpful to them.

Thanks to volunteer Zhang Zhiqi from Tianjin. It is very rare for a second year high school student like him to have a soft and sensitive loving heart and know how to protect the dignity of the students and their family. We thank him for his full participation in our Jingxi trip and for his help in teaching the English to the students.

2. Napo County, Guangxi

The next day after we ended the works in Jingxi County, we head off immediately to Napo County. We were advised at the last minute that the scheduled volunteers could not attend but this did not affect me and my work partner to go ahead with our planned schedule.

When we entered the class room of Napo Ethnic Middle School at 7 p.m., 83 students were waiting for us with smiles on their faces. Upon roll call, every one stood up and answered “yes” loudly with eyes watching us and bowed slightly. Seeing their perfect performance, I recalled in the last school term they were taught the roll call manner and that, no matter when and where they come across teachers or elders, they should use the same ritual to show respect. I have not expected that everyone took this to heart and did so well. I asked them to applaud themselves. The majority of this group of student are about to graduate from junior high, many of them were both good in character and at studies. When asked which senior high school they wanted to get into, many aspired for the three best high schools in Bai Se City, others aimed at Napo Senior High School, only 1 to 2 students was deliberating whether to sit for the entrance examination. In the two evening discussions, we encouraged the students to grasp the remaining three month time to go all out, and taught them how to shift away from worries, be concentrating and doing their best to prepare for the examination. They took down the salient points of the discussions with concentration.

On the second evening, the students grasped the opportunity of this last symposium before graduation and enthusiastically asked questions. Their questions included: In the rebellious phase, how to deal with the situation when they do not agree with the views and ways of handling matters that their parents take and have dispute and conflict with parents; how to let the heart-mind calm down; what to do when often cannot concentrate during class; how to keep the passion long for a matter…They took the courage to raise their problem to seek for an answer, which also indirectly helped the other students. I believed most of the students have similar problems, so at the end of the Q & A, I invited all the students to applaud them.

After the discussion, the students came forward to give us a hug and say goodbye. A cute guy stayed to the end and said, “Aunt Tricia, could you please again write on my note book “加油”(jiayou” - literally “make an all-out effort”)? Every time when I see it, I can feel the strength”. A girl severely disabled in her legs said, “the grants recorded on my meal card over the past three years have a credit balance of over 1,000 yuan, I would like to donate it to the ’Tomorrow Program’." In addition, there was another student whose family finance has got better and took the initiative to concede the grant…

The senior high school students have to attend class on weekends and only have an afternoon off on Saturday. We made use of the Saturday afternoon to meet with the 20 students of the “Tomorrow Program” who got admitted to the Napo Senior High School in the last school term. They have slowly gotten use to life in first year senior high school, but after all there is great difference between a county school with 2-3,000 students and a countryside school with 500-600 students. Students under our program are simple and poor, some of them were looked down upon by classmates. They asked me what to do? There were also students who gave up to be a student cadres because they were ridiculed by classmates. I told them a little story, and told them: whenever faced with setbacks or difficulties, they must have the courage to stand up and accept the challenge. I believe they could be inspired.

The road from the county to Long He Village and Ding Ye Village has been seriously damaged by the large trucks of the aluminum factory and left unrepaired, making it bumpy and difficult to drive on. The junior high schools of these two remote villages lack the attention of the outside world, nor did they get any social support, children living in this poverty are particularly modest. The original comparatively high dropout rate have fallen to only one or two student dropouts each school term after our persuasion in the last 2 – 3 years. We stressed to the third year junior high students who persevered until now that they must continue with their studies, whether it be senior high school or technical schools as these are means to continue to elevate oneself, the necessary means to enrich oneself for the future. They should not easily give up and go out to work, like other students had done. I asked them to write down in their note book: “Happiness is Being Able to Challenge” as a self-encouragement.

A third-year junior high girl from Long He asked: even though she had made the daily study plan and seriously implemented it, she still found she did not have sufficient time; what can she do? I took the opportunity to teach the students the ways to improve their efficiency, to differentiate the priorities of importance and urgency of matters, and invited her to tell other students how to draw up the daily study plan so that they can take her as a model and learn from her.

The two-day visit ended in a hurry. Upon leaving, beyond expectation, all third-year students stood up to make a deep bow and said, “Thank you, Aunt Tricia!” Having got along with them for three years, the students had tears of unwilling to part with us. I was also touched without words. An orphan, in tears, insisted to accompany us to the car at the playground to see us off. I believed she may have planned to attend technical school and we may not see her again in the future. That’s why she insisted to see us off. At the Ethnic Middle School, Long He and Ding Ye Schools, we made home visits: the children’s unfortunate encounters, the silently weeping mothers, the granny in tears, the grandfather who did his best to work to raise the orphans all made our heart very heavy. The growth process of students of the “Tomorrow Program” is really very difficult. It has been our goal for many years to teach them to learn to be optimistic, strive upwards, learned to love the self, cherish the self and let them feel the love and warmth.

Thank you for the assistance of my work partner Xu Yujia, wishing her all the best in her new job.

3. Lingyun County, Guangxi

After the Qingming holidays, we ushered in the TCL volunteer and started our Lingyun County work right away.

The Lingyun Ethnic Middle School was the best junior high school in the county. The 47 students under the “Tomorrow Program” all came from the remote villages. Because their home is too far away and to allow their children to study in the county school, the parents of a small number of students came to the county to work part-time jobs and live in a cheap rental house in order to take care of their children. Most of the students go home only once a month.

The “Tomorrow Program” students of the Ethnic Middle School were very good and polite. In the two evening discussions, they listened with great focus and participated enthusiastically. We taught them the study methods, how to draw up the daily study plan, explained the value of people, and told them the inspirational story of the Napo school student Su Yanting as well as how to persevere, to turn working hard into a habit…The two big sister volunteers also used stories to encourage the students to study hard and pursue their dreams.

The students asked questions enthusiastically in the second day discussion. Apart from questions on learning English and the problem of preferance on some subjects, a student asked how to improve on writing skill. I asked if anyone can give some suggestions. Out of my expectation, many stood up and made very good and practical suggestions. Also a guy asked about puppy love and how to get along with female students; someone asked whether to give a hand when an elder falls; whether one should study hard or should combine work with rest?...The atmosphere was very warm, and the volunteers also handed out small gifts to those who raised questions and provided suggestions.

Before we left, a girl privately asked me in tears: the parents was filing for divorce, the court required her to make a choice in two weeks whether to live with the father or mother, what should she do? To any child, this is a very heavy and cruel issue. Having understood the detailed situation, I gave her advice, comforted and enlightened her, hoping these could help her to overcome this difficult issue.

Luolou Middle School is deep in the mountain, about 1.5 hour drive from the county. The children there do not have much contact with the outside world and are more bashful and shy. A few months ago, I got a letter from a “Tomorrow Program” student from Luolou Middle School, which raised three big issues: first, the biggest headache is English, second, conflict with the parents, third, how to get along with classmates. As these are questions common to most students, therefore on the first evening symposium I taught them how to manage one’s emotion, how to get along with people. On the second evening, I taught them the effective way of learning English. We wrote down on the blackboard the mistakes made by students in past test papers, explained in detail what the mistakes are, hoping it would be helpful to them.

As we were rounding up the two day symposium in Loulou, a third-year junior high girl took the courage to ask: what should she do as she may not be able to continue with her study because major changes happened in the family. She broke into tears and could not speak before finishing the question. I comforted her and asked her to stay behind to let me understand the detail situation. I understood that her performance was very good and was top of the class, but because of the major changes at home, she may have to give up sitting for the junior high entrance exam and go out to work to help the family pass through the crisis. We could not resolve completely the practical difficulties of her family but we guaranteed to her we would help her complete the third-year school term and sit for the coming entrance examination. Give individual special help in special circumstances, give timely helping hand in the most difficult and helpless time.

The students of Jiayou Middle School have grown much taller. When they saw us, they smiled brightly like seeing relatives not seen for a long time., our conversation started also like family chatting. The school played music at 6:30 a.m. every morning as the wake up call. Some ”Tomorrow Program” students took the initiative to wake up 40 minutes earlier to study, among them 5 have drawn up daily study schedule. I invited them to share this with the other students and teach them how to draw up the schedule, to follow the schedule every day with persistence and gradually turn this effort into a habit.

The students enthusiastically raised questions: how to cultivate a strong will, how to increase self-confidence, how to overcome difficulties…but the question that amazed me and broke my heart came from a second-year junior high boy whose mother had died at an early age, lived in a mud house, received hard beatings by his alcoholic father and was ridiculed by his classmates; that led to his somewhat eccentric character. He asked how can he overcome loneliness? A boy of his age should be in the phase of mischievous, rebellious, uppish yet he was struggling in loneliness. After the symposium, we had a long chat with three third-year students but this second-year boy waited for us until the last moment, want only to hug with me and say goodbye again. I held back my sadness and cheered him up. He did pinky swear with me that no matter what, he would work hard on study.

Many thanks to the TCL volunteers Li Juan and Bai Sijia who brought positive energy to the students and gave each student a set of 20 ball pens and small cards imprinted with inspirational motto, as well as a nice desk calendar for each of those who took the courage to stand up and asked questions. My appreciation also goes to the teacher Zhou Lige, a volunteer from Jingxi Education Department, who will join us in our Guangxi Student Grants work starting next school term.

4. Visit to Wen County, Gansu; Qingchuan County, Sichuan; Bazhong Nanjiang County, Sichuan

We much appreciate Kelun Pharmaceutical of Chengdu for sending us by car to Qiaotou Village of Wen County, in the remote mountain of Gansu. Without their help, we basically could not arrive in one day from Chengdu to Qiaotou Village to start the Student Grants work. Qiaotou Village is right next to Jiuzhaigou County of Sichuan, . It is more convenient to drive from Qiaotou Village to Jiuzhaigou than to Wen County. We started from Chengdu at 8:00 a.m., arrived at Qiaotou Village at 4:00 p.m. and started our work immediately.

Last school term, we visited the Wen 4th Middle School located at Qiaotou Village. This time, after having individual interview with students and selection, we decided to start immediately grants to the 51 poverty-stricken junior high students and 4 senior high student of the Wen 4th Middle School. After the two evening symposium of the “Tomorrow Program”, students of the 4th Middle School for the first time felt the genuine concern and encouragement of the volunteers outside of the mountain, for the first time they understood they are worthy of the respect of others and understood their own value. They also learned how to deal with the difficulties and obstacles at home and at study. They all listened very carefully and responded enthusiastically.

The homes of most of the “Tomorrow Program” students were in the mountain far away from the school. The teachers specially arranged for us to visit the home of a few students who lived “closest” by, where a car can reach and do not need us to walk for too long. However, the volunteers still have to hike up and down the mountain, with shoes mud-covered. When we walked back to the road after the home visits, we picked up a stone to scrap off the thick heavy mud from our shoes, yet the heart of the volunteers were made heavier by the students’ home conditions. The volunteer from Chengdu Ms. He Xiaojun took two days off from work to accompany us to Qiaotou Village when she heard that we needed help in our selection interviews with individual students to see whether they are qualified for the grants. Having finished the second day home visit, she hurried back to Chengdu with the car provided by Kelun Pharmaceutical, we thank them very much for the tiring two whole day nonstop helps provided.

At the end of the second day symposium, a tall thin student waited until all the students have left the classroom to tell me that he wanted to donate part of the grant that he just received so that we can help more students in poverty like him. I was much amazed and touched. Looking at his thin body and clothing, I repeatedly declined his offer and asked him to keep it for himself. But he insisted that “I can make it with frugality”, and took 150 yuan from the envelope he just received from us and gave it to me. For his dignity and gold like heart, I accepted his donation. This “donor” from Wen 4th Middle School had his father passed away at an early age, his mother then got remarried a few times in order to survive but all were ill-matched. A life full of frustrations, the child must have gone through lots of bitterness, now they still live in poverty in a mud house.

We got out of the classroom to find out that many students were still waiting to bid farewell with us. We took a group photo and promised to see each other again next school term. When we left, a girl was still weeping; our imminent departure did not allow us to understand her situation in detail. However, I knew that our main task in the future is to teach the students of the 4th Middle School to learn to be optimistic, to be strong enough to face poverty and misfortune.

After two hours of driving, with much winding through the mountain, we arrived at Wen County. The 89 students of Wen First High School had already been waiting eagerly. This school term, we have a group of third-year senior high students sitting for the university entrance examination. Therefore, we again reminded them of the procedures for applying for the national loan and various grants/subsidies when they were admitted to university. Ms Huang, the volunteer, also supplemented with the things to take note of when applying for scholarship in second year of university, so that they are prepared psychologically. For the senior high students of Wen First High, Qingchuan High School, and Qingchuan First High Schools, the main subject of our discussion this school term was efforts, courage, challenge, faith; to fill them up with positive energy.

Click here for more pictures about home visits at Wen County.

The reconstruction after the 512 earthquake have completed. Due to serious loss of population after the quake, there were over supply of new buildings in the county and other townships, with lots of vacant new commercial buildings and public facilities. The living conditions of the people in Qingchuan after the reconstructions has improved significantly; we have stopped accepting new students to the grant three years ago. This school term, the students of Muyu j, unior high school and Quanzhuang junior high school under our grants will be graduating; we will continue to help them until their graduation from senior high school but in the next scho, ol term, Muyu a, nd Qu, anzh, , uang, like the Sanguo Middle Sch, , oo, , l, will be part of the “Tomorrow Prog, ram” history. Starting next term, our trip to Qingchuan will be to Qingchuan High School and Qingchuan First High, the two senior high schools only. However, we still will stop by Muyu to bring our grants and warmth to the only remaining second-year junior high student whose parents were disabled.

The teachers of Muyu and Quanzhuang Middle School made a review of the time spent with “Tomorrow Program” in the last 7 years, as well as the assistance we have given to the students; from the devastated, difficult to walk anywhere after the quake to the new look now, the soothing of the students’ soul after the disaster to the earnest teaching till the present, apart from thanking the “Tomorrow Program”, the teachers also kept saying: please come back to see us “the old friends” whenever you have time.

Besides the grants, this school term, we have given out a “Chengdu Century City Scholarship” each to the Muyu Middle, Guanzhuang Middle, Qingchuan High School and Qingchuan First High School. The four scholarship winners of Qingchuan First High made a total donation of 500 yuan from their scholarship to help the more needy students. A student of Qingchuan High School, whose family condition had turned better, conceded his grant eligibility; love is passing on...

A “Tomorrow Program” student He Jinfeng, who graduated from Qingchuan High School last year and now a freshman in university, specially took two days off to volunteer in the alma mater to share with the brothers and sisters her experience on the university entrance examination and as a freshman. The volunteer from Chengdu Ms He Xiaojun specially drove from Chengdu to Qingchuan First High School to spend the two evening symposium with the students. The symposium that was scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m. was further extended as the students were very enthusiastic in bringing up questions. It finally ended, but some students were still reluctant to go and continued with the conversation. It was already past ten o’clock when we got back to the hotel next to the school.

We thank volunteer Huang Xuemei, who just got admitted as a graduate student by the SWUPL (South West University of Political Science & Law), for her full participation in the student grants work at Wen County and Qingchuan County. Her assistance has facilitated our program work there. Our thanks also to Ms Ho Xiaojun for her participation at Qiaotou Village of Wen County and at Qingchuan First High School, she brought love and care to the students, also thank her very much for driving me from Qingchuan to Bazhong the day following the end of our program before she rushed back immediately to Chengdu to have her meeting.

The Nanjiang County of Bazhong district is a national-level poverty-stricken county, located in the Daba Mountain, offshoot of the Qin Mountains, having common border with Hanzhong of Shanxi. After meeting up with my Chengdu partners Wang Li and Lu Yijun at downtown Bazhong, we headed for Nanjiang County. Escorted by staff of the County Education Department, we visited two junior high schools in the Shangliang and Xialiang townships. Through our home visits, we learned that these two schools have many poor students, whose families are really in very difficult situations and needed assistance. We decided to start our Nanjiang Student Grants from next school term, and will gradually reduce the number of grants for Qingchuan students to help those needier in Nanjiang County.

Perhaps this was the season of graduation, this school term the students have more tears than usual, most are tears of gratefulness and we were really touched . Over the years, we have accompanied their growth, witness them change from the silly, shy, anxious, confused children to sensible, strong, hardworking and grateful individuals. A girl whose father had died, was abandoned by her mother, attempted suicide as she did not want to burden her elderly grandmother but was rescued, she handed me a letter telling her story, and wrote: “Aunt Tricia, I am blessed to have met you! Thank you for letting me to see the hope again…”

I am much appreciative of the support and assistance that you have given to the students. It is your loving heart and financial aid that had changed the students’ life, letting them to again see the hope!

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" 2014 Autumn Report (2) - Jingxi County, Wen County, Qingchuan County
November 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

How are you?

We completed the sponsorship program in Lingyun County, and Napo County in Guangxi Province at the end of September; we rested awhile and had our holidays in Jingxi County. Then we started our 2nd phase of the sponsorship program in Jingxi County in Guangxi Province, Wen County in Gansu and Qingchuan County in Sichuan.

1. Jingxi County, Guangxi Province

At the beginning of the new school year, there are great changes in each school, at each junior high school in our five sponsored townships; there are a number of graduate students. This year there are a total of 56 Tomorrow Program students admitted to the Jingxi 1st High School (senior high), so this semester the Tomorrow Program’s student at the County’s Jingxi 1st High School increased to 119 pupils, it became the largest number of students’ at a school. In addition, each school has a number of junior students applying to join our program. We counseled our volunteers with detailed instructions on how to conduct the one on one interview with the students, and to confirm the actual economic situation of their families and undergo a rigorous review, each school has an increase in the number of eligible new students in the junior 1st level.


The Jingxi 1st High School’s Tomorrow Program big family.

Our first stop was Jingxi 1st High School, we felt the kids have matured compared to last term. The thoughts of the high school students are now under enormous pressure from their school work, most of the students are lacking in initiative thinking skills. It is difficult for them to judge which are important points in learning, therefore in order to encourage them to stand up and express their views bravely, we use the method of storytelling; telling them some of the incidents we had in Lingyun and Napo County, training them to listen and to focus on the important points, asking for their views regarding their thoughts. For example: an individual freshmen "feels he is very unfortunate", an abandoned child is thankful for his adoptive father, he “felt happy and fortunate”, and a girl stands up to express herself while crying and said: "If you feel lucky, you will find many people to love you; if you feel you are unfortunate, then you will find everything is against you”; when she said that I did not know whether she was sad, or she was touched by the other students comments, or just afraid to express herself. Her insight and courage won the applause of all the children and volunteers.

When we asked the children if they remembered and followed through with action what we taught them last semester, a dozen students stood up and said that they did so; their school performance showed improvement and they are a good example to all the other students. One of the girls said, "When I first started, I felt that the continuing effort was very difficult, but I persisted and now I have lit a fire in my heart; persistence is no problem just as the elder school sister stated last semester." We were so happy to see this kind of result.

During the summer vacation a Tomorrow Program student had an accident and passed away. The students had difficulty dealing with this matter, having continued feelings of sadness. I’ve raised this issue with the kids and provided psychological counseling to them and also reminded them to be aware of the safety issue, and to cherish the people around them, especially their parents and friends. Some kids were very touched and had tears in their eyes. In the last question and answer session the next day, the children actively raised questions, we provided answers to help solve their problems of fears and confusions. After the last session, all the senior high students gathered around the volunteers to discuss their nervousness and pressure arising from the final exam.


"Please try to understand more about your mother, she must love you so much, but does not know how to express herself"...the girl cried.

Similar to the Counties of Lingyun and Napo, before we talk about the subject of sexual harassment, we adequately communicate with the school officials and obtain their full understanding and support. We advocate this topic to the students to let them be aware of being self-alert and to protect themselves.

At the session in Jingxi, we went into the village to the five township schools. In each school we added the 1st level freshman which includes: orphans, single parent students, abandoned children, a student’s father who suffers from an incurable disease, and a mute student who is considered by the teachers, and other kids. The kids were very shy during roll call and they would not look at us to answer “Present”. We took this opportunity to teach them the proper manner, the children readily accepted and immediately made the adjustment. We told the story about a deaf girl who learned to speak and participated in the "Super Speaker" contest and won second prize; in order to encourage the kids to speak up with strength, to bravely overcome their fear to speak and not to be afraid to ask the teacher questions in class, this will improve their academic performance and efficiency.

Our goal is to improve the children’s confidence and persistence in learning. Each semester we put forth our best effort to teach the students, but only a few students can follow our way and continue to do so. Most children need to be reminded repeatedly in different ways.

This time we talked about the hard working student in our Tomorrow Program at Napo’s Longhe Junior High School as an example story to encourage the children to work harder. This Napo child goes to the school playground after the self-study session every night and study alone under the light pole due to noise in the dorms, it became a nice scene on the campus. Although there was some jealous students, it moved her teacher and most students. This year she is the top student in her school and the second best graduate student in the county. Her efforts and hardworking story also inspired the Jingxi’s students to self-evaluate and to study harder.

By the inspiration story of the Napo student, each student in the Ande Junior High School expressed their view individually: regardless of others - one has to have a clear target, make your best efforts as a habit, study hard and take the courage to self-challenge, regardless of how poor we are we must study hard in school, all life is full of thorns - one can be successful if you have persistence and work hard, do the best in each matter, persist on everything you do - pursue your dream, walk the life path bravely, view the learning process as a fun matter and determination is victory. A shy boy stood up and said: "Be determined in your goals, work hard," these small tips contains a child’s insight after thorough thoughts and determination. A boy, who has a disabled right hand and can only write with his left hand bravely said: "No matter whether we are lucky or unlucky, fate is in our own hands, we make our own decisions."

TCL volunteer big brother Liuhai at Nanpo Junior High School taught the students the learning method in each subject, and Aunt Lin wrote on the blackboard "Diligence" and other learning attitudes; these will greatly benefit the students. Sister Fang Fang shared the story of "The Rabbit Jumped Into The River Collectively” at Ande Junior High School. She told them when encountering problems, they have to think positively. Big brother Wang taught them his learning method, requesting the kids to set clear learning objectives, always consider over all the issues, learn to think too. Uncle Jianghua at Kuixu Junior High School shared the story of his growing up process and asked the students to practice; "excellence is a habit" in each stage of our life, we have to put forth our best effort to do things and wished the students will study hard and follow their dreams.


Volunteer Uncle Jiang encourages the students at Ande Junior High School.

When we communicated with the principal of Kuixu Junior High School regarding the subject of sexual harassment, we did not think he would ask us to advocate this issue to the students. He also informed us of a problem which they encountered at their school: the problem is how to improve the students’ enthusiasm in learning. The next day we visited the school at 3:30 p.m.; the school officials gathered all their students at the playground to listen to us. It seemed to me, the issue of how to improve the students’ enthusiasm in learning was most urgent; therefore we talked about this topic first. During our meeting some students thought that they did not have any hope for the future. I requested one of the boys to come forward and asked him in detail; he said, "I am in the junior high 3rd level already, it is too late for me to improve my school marks." He did not know what to do after he graduated from junior high school. Some students and teachers laughed when they heard him, but my heart ached. Is there anything more painful and heartbreaking than knowing this young age boy does not have any hope in life?

So I used the story method to talk about the value of life, how to recognize their own value and find the motivation to learn, it is never too late to start to study hard and put their best efforts in it. If they could not go to the senior high schools they could study in the vocational high schools (technical school), learn some practical skills and one can live a wonderful life, the main point is never to give up, and as long as they try with their best efforts it will help. Finally I asked all the students, are they willing to study hard for their own future? At first only one student stood up to show he was willing to do so, slowly more and more students stood up in quick succession, finally almost over two-thirds of the students stood up to make their commitments: from now on we will exert our maximum effort to study, and to give ourselves a better chance for the future!


Speaking to all of the students of Kuixu Junior High School about an inspirational story, and the principal about making it a habit to be persistent in studying hard.

We did not realize that we had talked for two sessions worth of time; the students’ dinner time is around 5:00 p.m. It was too late to advocate the prevention of sexual harassment and self-protection, although the volunteers heard some students say: we want to continue to listen, we do not want to have dinner, but it was pass the time for dinner for all the students and teachers, we had to say goodbye to them, hope they will pay attention to their own commitment to work hard.

Thanks to the support and co-operation from all the teachers and schools, the teachers drove us to the countryside to do our family visits in the five townships in Jingxi County except Guole Junior High School, due to their holiday weekend. Mr. Lin Lib is a teacher who participated in our Jingxi sponsorship program, this is his 2nd time to join us, and other volunteers saw for the first time the damaged wooden-tile houses and the students’ poor family situations. The home conditions during this period of family visits were very similar to those previously mentioned in our work reports: an abandoned child who was adopted by an old disabled father who lives in a damaged tile house near the hillside, a student’s father who passed away and the mother having remarried - the student was raised by his old grandma who has a big tumor in her neck, a student’s father who works in Guangdong but suffers from a mental problem, the mother who left home five years ago - this student lives in a wooden tile house without any external walls with his elderly grandparents…please refer to the photo story for details.


The grandma and uncle who adopted this abandoned girl since she was very little.

Thanks to the support of the two volunteers groups from the TCL multimedia company. Thanks to all the volunteers who provided more than 300 notebooks, together with the preprinted small cards with the “21 Rules to Success” as gifts to each of the students. These small cards are very convenient for the children to carry with them at all times, so that, it will remind them to work hard. Thank you very much!

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2. Wen County, Gansu and Qingchuan County, Sichuan

Wen County, Gansu has numerous high mountains and is very distant with dangerous road conditions. Under normal circumstances, travel to Wen County from Chengdu requires three bus changes. it may take half a day to get there. Every semester we are very grateful for Chengdu’s Kelun Pharmaceutical Industry Co. for sending a car to transport us there; without their assistance we would be unable to arrive within the day and start our sponsorship meetings in the evening with the students at Wen 1st High School. For the past six years from disaster areas in Qingchuan to the more remote places of Wen, Cologne Pharmaceutical Industry Co. has continued to help us every semester to solve these transportation problems without fail. We thank them with all our hearts forever.

The national 212 Highway leading to the county was damaged by a landslide more than a year ago and was finally reconstructed. The winding narrow mountain roads are often blocked by vehicles, such as large trucks and excavators, which increased our travelling time to reach the schools. When we arrived in Wen, we quickly rushed to the county’s 1st High School, the students were anxiously waiting for us, while some of them even worried that we would not make it this term, they were very happy to see us. We went into the classroom and saw the large characters, “Serious”, written on the blackboard. I was somewhat surprised and at the same time I thought it seemed rather close to the topic of our discussion.

We first answered a few of the students puzzled questions which were mentioned in their letters. This was followed with talk about their stress and worries in learning, how to release their stress, how to live the best each day, how to make it a habit to study hard and how to step forward bravely without any worries and concerns...after our discussions, a boy came up to me and told me that he was the one who wrote the “Serious” characters on the blackboard, and handed me a ripped page from his notebook and calling me Aunt Jane, he had wrote a poem for me, "Walking thru a thousand miles to help the poor, time to go home is unknown, continue to send love to others all these years, touched the hearts o, f, lots of the poor children, help them clear their doubts, so they could express themselves freely”...when I returned to the hotel I read his seven-word poem (i, n Chinese) over and over, this child’s literary talent and true feelings made my eyes wet....

The ne, x, t , , , , mo, rning a teacher drove his car, climbi, ng , hi, , , gh, , , m, ountains and going through low thick clouds to transport us to Qiaotou Village for the family visits. Due to the rainy season, the roads were very slick and the car could not navigate the small muddy road into the remote mountain village. For safety reasons we had to give up the family visits in the mountain. We only visited a student’s home in the nearby streets. We also went to Qiaotou Village’s Wen 4th High School and talked to its principal and teachers. Qiaotou Village is desperately poor; it does not receive any financial assistance from the outside, world, because of its isolation in the high mountains and th, e difficulty to get there by any type of transportation. The principal said there are many poor students , at their school, they estimated there are about fifty to sixty students who were extremely poor, more than twenty orphans among them. We had consensus with the school that we will begin our sponsorship program at Wen 4th High School next semester.

When I went back to our meeting that night, I asked the young senior high school boy who previously wrote the characters "Serious" on the blackboard to write the word "Work Hard" on the blackboard in a striking way, to impress upon the the students, "Serious & Work Hard", are of utmost importance in each of their student lives. No matter studying or working, these words are eternal principles.

We have been at the senior high schools, of Jingxi 1st High, Wen 1st High, Qingchuan High School and Qingchuan 1st High, telling the students about the principle of "Accumulating small steps will become a thousand miles, accumulating laziness will fall into the deep hole.” We also used a method of constructing numbers by way of a mathematical formula, to show the children if they apply an additional 1% effort from their previous effort every day, it will accumulate to 37.8 times in one year and be very powerful, if they laid back 1% each day, over a year their effort is reduced to 0.03%. The mathematical formula gave them a clear idea about the differen, , ce between working hard and laziness.


Be Serious & Work Hard are the stepping stones to a wonderful future.

We said farewell to Wen’s children reluctantly and went to Muyu, Qiaozhuang, Guanzhuang and Bamboo Plantation in Qingchuan County to start our final sponsorship program for this Fall semester. Because of the completion of the reconstruction work after the (earthquake) disaster, the people’s living conditions have been , improved, we no longer accept new students and thus no need for the family visits. This semester the junior students at Muyu High School only has twelve children, Guanzhuang has twenty-two and all the junior students at Sanguo Middle School have graduated. We still insist on p, roviding financial grants to all the kids until they graduate from senior high school; we estimate this will take approximately three and half years to complete our sponsorship program in Qingchuan.

A teacher at Muyu Junior High School proudly took us to the school’s honor-roll board on the campus; several of Tomorrow Program’s students were listed on the board with excellent results. We were really happy for them. The teacher at Guanzhuang also told us with excitement: our children have progressed greatly, many of the senior high schools like to grab the Guanzhuang graduates to their campus.

Yang Mingqiang was one of the students under the Tomorrow Program who graduated from Guanzhuang Junior High School and now he is a 2nd year university student at Sichuan University. He is also a volunteer who returned to Qingchuan. There to meet the younger school students in his old school, Guanzhuang High School, to encourage them to study hard and tell them he was raised by the Tomorrow Program, each one of us should know how to be grateful. Yang Mingqiang even used his previous identity at his school to explain the methods and attitude in learning, helped the students to find the essentials in each subject. His theories gave the children a great deal of incentive; he himself is the best example for the students.

Another volunteer He Xiaoyan used to be a student of the Tomorrow Program who graduated from a technical school and started working this year. He took three days off work to also return to his old school, Sanguo Junior High School, to encourage the students. Time went by very quickly, the Tomorrow Program is now entering its seventh year, the children also grew up, I can still recall their fresh appearance from six years ago....


University student Yang Mingqiang returned to Guanzhuang Junior High School where he graduated to encourage the younger students.

We did our awareness lesson about "Sexual haraassment prevention and self-protection" in Qingchuan just like we did at the other schools. We tried to enhance their safety awareness.

This semester the children raised some questions: How to deal with the difference between the students’ own plan for their future and their parents’ expectations? A student does not want to continue to senior high school and wanted to go to work because he wanted to ease his mother from working so hard. Some students seem to be more selfish and at a distance, why? How to treat our teachers? What is more important, the school results or learning attitude? I become more and more outraged, what should I to do? Should one insist on his own ideal or compromise to reality? The difference between a senior high school graduate and a university graduate in finding jobs? Why I can’t convince myself but I can convince others? I always think that I am bad and can’t find my strengths, what should I do?...

To ease the anxiety problems of these confused children, besides providing answers to their questions, I told them to be brave in facing their doubts, difficulties and problems, put forth their best efforts to solve them, take up the challenge, the hard work will be rewarded in the future. And believe the world will be much better, I used the example of “The butterfly will come naturally, if the flower blooms beautifully” to encourage them. I encourage the children to work really hard to achieve their best, also comfort them to put aside their worries and anxieties, make the most of the things now and take charge of the future without hesitation.

Thanks to Yang Mingqiang and He Xiaoyan who returned to Qingchuan County to share their experience and learning methods to the young students. I hope there will be more Tomorrow Program students who will join our volunteer work. Their participation will bring hope for the future to these children.

When we finished our sponsorship program and returned to Chengdu, I notice that I did not read two notes written by Wen Xian’s children who gave it to me when we said good bye to them at the school gate. One note said: "Your talks have given me a lot of motivation, inspired me to have the direction to go forward, please do not worry about me, and I will apply and follow what you have taught us in the meeting to study hard.” Another note said: "Aunt Jane, I really feel you have helped me a lot spiritually, I am really fortunate to meet you when I was most rebellious in my life, I am sure there are a lot of my schoolmates who have the same feeling too...” These great changes in the children has given us a lot of motivation to continue our sponsorship program, the two notes has provided a good ending to this Fall semester’s journey.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart to our friends and partners for your great support and help, your financial support releases the pressure on these children’s lives, so that they are able to attend school without worries, it also allows us to touch the childrens’ heart, and to grow with them. We will continue our efforts to pass on love, thank you very much!

Please click on the following site to see this semester’s sponsorship photos:
Jingxi County
Qingchuan County
Wen County

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" 2014 Autumn Report (1) - Lingyun County, Napo County of Guangxi

Dear Friends,

We have visited three junior high schools in Lingyun County after the completion of the first term of this year’s student subsidy program. We have decided to implement the Autumn Lingyun County student subsidy program. Lingyun County’s population is composed of three ethnic groups known as Han, Zhuang, and Yao. The county is well known for its fresh air, good water quality and scenic mountain views. This is attributed to the well-organized local government’s policy of prohibiting mining and their awareness of environmental protection. Unlike Jingxi and Napo, the small county of Lingyun is clean and tidy, giving people a sense of quietness and substantia, lness. Over the years, the county’s tradition of placing emphasis on the importance of education has forged high graduation rates and has developed people of go, od , talents; which is rare in this national-level pov, erty-stricken area.

1. Lingyun County

This school term, we started the student subsidy program in three junior high schools. They are Ethnic Middle School, Luolou Middle School and Jiayou Middle School. There were lots of students in these three junior high schools, ranging from 1300 to 1800 students. We have conducted individual interviews with the poor students from these three schools who have applied to join the Tomorrow Program. We asked detailed questions about their family situation based on their completed application form. After rigorous review we eliminated students whose family situation was relatively better-off, and supplemented with students in first year junior high who were extremely poor.

We also gave a careful explanation to the students who were eliminated from the selection process in order to avoid any unpleasant feelings. We got their full understanding and appreciation of our intentions. In the meantime, we also encouraged them to join the evening self-study discussion. There were two boys, though not being accepted for the subsidy, raised sympathy on the selection panel members. One showed concern about our hard work in helping the poor students. Another believed that we have faced a lot of challenges. We just wonder how students of the second year junior high could have such delicate, sensitive hearts. I was so touched and surprised. I told them that we were alright and did not have any unpleasant feelings, rather we were happy and inspired.

Like other areas under the Tomorrow Program, students in Lingyun County consisted of orphans, children from single parent families (one of the spouse having passed away, or divorced, or the mother ran away), abandoned children adopted by poor families, children left behind by parents working in other provinces. Their lives were extremely difficult.

For the schools that joined the Tomorrow Program we have two Evening Self–study Discussion sessions, where we hold discussion with the Tomorrow Program students, and deliver the Education-assistance to them. Perhaps this was their first group discussion, the students were very excited, curious and paid attention to the discussion. It was a surprise that when taking roll call students from the Ethnic Middle School were very polite and stood up with a bow in response. Students from Luolou Middle School, Jiayou Middle School were also very simple, well-behaved and polite. Could this be related to the people and government of Lingyun County attaching great importance to education? The performance of the children gained my inward praise of them.

Each discussion lasted for at least two hours. The students were focused so much that no student whispered nor went to the washroom. On the first day we used story-telling to guide the students to recognize their personal core value and to learn to think independently, to challenge difficulties, to take responsibilities and to work hard unremittingly. We also requested the students to think about what they have learnt from the story. The next day, we asked the students what their thoughts were. Some students said they will persist and will not give up; there will be solution to the problems should they think carefully. One girl said the depth of thought will be deeper if we expand the range of our thinking.

We then taught the students the way to handle by way of love their personal problems such as: low self-esteem due to poverty, being ridiculed as “wild child without parents”, the pain from parent’s divorce, missing relatives who had demised or were away from home, contradictions between students, difficulties in learning etc. etc.. Students have seriously written down the key points. One girl from Jiayou Middle School had tears in her eyes when taking notes. During the first day of discussion, a volunteer from Tianjin had noticed this girl listening with tears. The following day, to our surprise, she stood up and expressed with a smile on her face her gratitude for us visiting and helping them from afar. She promised that she would be optimistic and diligent in her study. I gave a big hug to this beautiful, optimistic, strong and having gratefulness girl who was abandoned by her parents when she was a child. We were all touched.


We were deeply touched by these strong, optimistic and grateful children.

One head teacher from Jiayou Middle School brought with her a first year junior boy and requested the Tomorrow Program to help him. His application form simply mentioned that his mother left the family seven years ago, his father was serving jail terms and his grandfather was an alcoholic, who beat him always, and he lives in a mud built house. He also indicated that his ideal was being admitted to the undergraduate university. He could only write these few simple sentences but it was these simple sentences that made me decide on the spot to accept him into the Tomorrow Program. During the discussion he was almost the most pro-active student in responding and I was greatly surprised by the innocent yet firm expression in his eyes.

Seeing the hot, urging and focused expressions in the eyes of the students at the discussion I could understand this must be the first time they recognized their personal core value. They knew that they were worthy of being loved and respected. I believed it was the first time they heard of “love yourself” and “how to love oneself”. This guidance is nothing the students can achieve overnight. In the future, we will remind them each school term, and we will use different ways to have more in-depth discussions with them. When the second day discussion was over, we thought the students would have hurried back to the classroom to continue with their class, and unexpectedly the students from Luolou Middle School and Jiayou Middle School had lined up to hug us to say goodbye. This touched us very much.


At the end of the conversation session, the students of Luolou Junior School lined up automatically to give Aunt Jane a goodbye hug.

We have visited the families of the students from the three schools. Thanks to the help from the county education department and school authorities. The village houses have almost completed reconstruction with bricks with the assistance of the Lingyun county government and household loan. Only a few wood frame and tile roof houses remain. However, the poor families could not afford to renovate the interior, which remained in very poor condition. The houses in Napo and Jingxi are in similar condition.

Visits to families of the three schools took different routes. However, one thing in common is their poverty situation. The father of a single-parent student worked hard alone in farming to bring up seven children. Some families of the Yao ethnic group who moved from the mountain to the rural area were heavily indebted although they have already received subsidy from the government to build their houses. The father of a student, a sheep herder, sold 30 sheep each year in order to support his two children going to school. The broken-down wooden house was tidy and clean inside, and the words “Heaven, Earth, Monarch, Parent, Teacher” was enshrined in the sitting room. A farmer father told us the story that his daughter was a new born baby girl abandoned at the roadside fields. Another student’s home was a messy shabby brick house, his father was working outside the county, his mother had left the family. An elderly grandmother has to take care of a student’s mentally disorder sister. Another student has to live in a shed at the work site with her mother and sister as their house was being rebuilt. The other family was still a low-income family, the student was an abandoned baby adopted by two unmarried brothers a decade ago, living with their elderly mother.


A Student’s grandmother and uncle -- the student were abandoned since she was born and adopted by this poor family.

During a family visit, we encountered torrential rain owing to typhoon Seagull. The 10 to 15 minutes’ walk to the student’s home that we were told by the local people after we got off the car took a long time as the road was long, rough, up and down hill. We finally managed to walk up to the top of the hill under the bad weather condition. The only way to the student’s home was flooded. The school teachers and the Tianjin volunteers brought in stones to build a make-shift foot bridge. Two volunteers stood in the rain and flood to help me walk over the unstable footbridge. I was very grateful and touched by what they had done.


Flooding caused by the typhoon blocked our way to the family visits. The teachers and volunteers used stones to prepare a small make-shift foot bridge, a teacher is assisting Aunt Jane despite having her own feet soaked...

A small episode happened in the morning of the day we headed off to Lingyun county to start the school subsidy program. When I was repeatedly briefing the volunteers in the hotel lobby with the details for accrediting students to be assisted, a middle age man was standing there listening to our conversation. At the end of my briefing, he offered me RMB 2000 and said that he would like to offer his love to our students. Before I accepted his kind offer I asked him why he had trust on us? He simply said that he had listened to our conversation; he was sure that we were doing something good and practical for the students. I was very grateful and touched by his faith in us, which encouraged us immensely. We would definitely deliver his donation and love to the students.

We wish to thank the volunteers Lu Peng from Tianjin and Zhu Shan-Shan from BUAA of Bei Hai College for the warmth and encouragement they brought to the students and for their help in completing the family visits. Tomorrow Program is fortuned to have you in company.

2. Napo County

It was still pretty hot during late September in Napo County. We were very busy at the beginning of the new school term in September. Students of the third year junior high school under the Tomorrow Program graduated and were admitted to the senior high school. We will continue to subsidize them until they have graduated. At the same time, we have accepted some exceptionally poor first year junior high students to be subsidized after our audit.

Students from the subsidized schools were very happy to meet us again. I asked the students how did they spend their summer holiday to kick off the first day discussion. Students from Ethnic Middle School said it was not good as they have to study at the school most of the time during the holiday. They only had two times off, each about ten days. Students from Longhe and Dingye Middle Schools were not required to attend school during the summer holiday. However, they have to finish the homework allocated for the summer holiday. Moreover, they have to help out in other jobs like cow-herding, wood cutting, weeding, corn harvesting, and vegetables planting. This was the summer holiday life of the students under the Tomorrow Program! Thinking of the huge difference with the students in the city I held back my sadness and told them they were so great as they could share the hard works of the family and let their grandparents take some rest, and I was very proud of them.

The only exception was one girl under the Tomorrow Program studying in Longhe Middle School, who was good both in character and at studies; had been selected to represent Napo County to attend the summer camp for minorities for ten days in Jiangsu. She was envied by other students.

I had a review with the students on the key points of our discussions in the last school term: how to find motivation to study, to set clear targets, take immediate action and how to make the best effort to achieve the goals etc. I also requested the students to review whether they really can follow the proper steps they have been taught. A girl from Ethnic Middle School proudly stood up and told everyone that she really did and had already found the motivation in her heart to study. She has a clear objective for getting admission to senior high school and the university. She has been doing her utmost and had made good progress in her study. She has set a very good model for the other students. The vast majority of the students were concerned about completing the homework which seems to have no end. They were so stressful that they either forgot the guidelines and methods taught by us, or were worried that they could not persist. It really made life difficult for them. The average child could not remember firmly and put into action just having heard it once, hence, we have to take the trouble to repeat and emphasize the major points mentioned in the last school term on the first day of discussion. They were also taught to set priorities. We advised the students instead of being stressed out physically and mentally by the homework every day, its better to be determined and take the initiative to change the mentality and way of learning.


Students of the Longhe Junior School.

This could make a real difference...this subject of discussion have been my concern over the years but I did not know how to discuss this with the students. However, the sexual assault of youths and children that happened every now and then reminded me that the students should be made aware and to realize as soon as possible the importance and necessity of self-protection. The poor left-behind students living in the village were the most vulnerable groups. Protecting the physical and psychological safety of these students was of extreme urgency. I am grateful that an enthusiastic person has provided the teaching mat, erials in this aspect. In the new school term, Lingyun County is the only county that was not suitable to launch this discussion as it was the first time that we had started the school subsidy program. We would start the advocacy of preventing sexual abuse and self-protection in all the schools under the Tomorrow Program.

Under the premise of not causing any panic or fear to the students, we tried our best to tell them with a relaxed and calm attitude: “how to distinguish normal and abnormal physical touch”, “what behavior is sexual harassment and sexual assault”, “perpetrators belong to which type of people”, “preventing sexual assault”, “which are the places that need special vigilance”, “what to do when being sexually assaulted”, and “what action to take after being sexually assaulted” and other related issues, as well as providing them with detailed explanations. We hope this will increase their awareness and enhance self-protection.

The students were very attentive in listening and wrote down every warning quietly. They were all very calm. No one raised any questions. Until the end of the discussion, I was still not quite sure what their psychological state was. Beyond our expectation, after we left the multi-media classroom where the discussion was held, students from Ethnic Middle School caught up with us and circled around us to take turns to hug us. Students from Longhe Middle School and Dingye Middle School stayed for quite some time and did not want to leave. When they hugged me, they whispered to me that rest assured they will protect themselves. Their warm response like the sun left me relieved. Maybe they did appreciate our good intentions...


The beautiful smiling faces of the Dingye Junior School’s 3rd level students, standing naturally like the shape of a love heart.

Typhoon Seagull has caused a number of landslides in Napo, which aggravated the original uneven road condition. The teacher from Dingye Middle School drove us to do family visits. The small car could only keep to the speed of 10 km. From time to time we could hear the loud impact the car chassis had with the uneven road surface. We really felt bad for his car. The teacher at Longhe Middle School drove a small truck to carry us around for family visits.

We have conducted many family visits over the last six years. Theoretically, we were used to seeing the poor and unfortunate families. However, every time I still could not help but sigh deeply, it is difficult for the students to grow up. How to earn a living to support their families had utterly exhausted the parents who are illiterate or only have primary school education. They could not understand or have no time to care about the problem or feeling in the heart of their children. It was even more difficult for the grandparents to communicate with their grandchildren. This was the reason we insisted to get together with the students for two evenings in every term to discuss with them apart from handing out the school subsidy. We believed this would alleviate some of their mental burden and let them feel the love and care.

A brief description of family visits on several students:

** The father passed away many years ago. The mother was working out of the county (as janitor in the hotel) to support the family. The student was living with the grandmother and unmarried uncle. The mother will see them once a year.

**The mother passed away in 2009. The father has to take care of the paralyzed grandfather and could not work. The sister was forced to quit schooling to work in Guangdong. The house was not furnished except the wooden bed close to the entrance.

**The mother divorced eight years ago. The father had been working out of county for many years. The student was living with his elderly grandfather in a small unfinished and messy brick house.

** The parents were working out of the county to earn money to treat the child who has suffered from congenital heart problem. At present, the condition of the child was stable and continued to go to school. He was living with his grandparents in a brick house (wood built inside)

** The student is an orphan and was living with the grandfather in a small unfinished house.

** The student’s parents passed away and was taken care by the uncle.


A child’s home - interior appearance: There is no visible support when seen from inside. It is hard to imagine someone is living here.

Napo senior high school is the new as well as the last stop of the school subsidy program. The junior high school graduates this year, except a few who were admitted by Baise College and senior high schools in other places, 21 students were admitted to Napo senior high school. We will continue the subsidy to them until their graduation. Napo senior high school was built on the hillside, the teaching building, the laboratory building and the students dormitory were all built along the hillside. The hardware facilities were consummate, provided a good learning environment. We met and talked to the students at the school’s conference room. Some students were worried that they would not be able to see us at the senior high school. They were very much encourag, ed by our visit. During the discussion a student wrote on his notebook: "New hope starts from the heart". The other student gave me a paper taken from her notebook, on which was , written a big Chinese, w, ord “Lov, e” , with smaller wr, , itin, gs, at the bottom “this is what you taught, us when I just started first year junior high; you told us ‘Love is with the heart, having love is having heart,’ I love you. ”

I am very grateful to those who helped in subsidizing the students with a loving heart. They have provided the opportunity for us to love these lovely students. It also provided the opportunity for the students to love themselves and others. Thank you to Wang Yi-na, volunteer from Beihai College and to my coworker Xu Yu-Jia for their hard work and assistance to make the school subsidy program under the Tomorrow Program successfully completed.

Best Regards

Tricia Lin

Tomorrow Program

www.tomorrowcn.org

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"Tomorrow Program" - 2014 Spring Work Report

Dear Friends,

Hello Everyone!

The weather of early spring was still cold. Following our practice from last year, we started our journey from the mild climate of Guangxi to our last stop in Zhangjiachuan, Gansu in the north. Thanks to all of your support and the help of the volunteers, the spring program came to a smooth completion.

1. Napo County, Guangxi

Napo had drizzles every day in early March; the wet and cold temperature did not turn away the enthusiasm of the volunteers. The 99 students of the Napo Ethnic Middle School were so excited to see us again. Last semester we taught them how to overcome their internal fear, not to be shy in speaking out openly. This year many of them seem to be prepared and to speak out and ask questions more frequently. I was very proud of them.

One boy in 3rd junior high level stated, he felt pressured from the abundance of home work, his marks were not good enough in class, he has feelings of wanting to give up at times, what could he do? Actually, this is the common problem for a lot of the students. Furthermore, one of the excellent performing students gave me a letter after our group discussion on the first day: “I was born with eye defects; I was given nick names by my classmates ever since I was small. I never look at other people face to face except for my parents, I felt very shameful and afraid that others will laugh at me.” The students were generally having a sense of inferiority for their own reasons, therefore these two problems became our main discussion in Napo and Jingxi Schools.

We used different stories to teach the students how to value themselves; how to find their internal strength to motivate themselves; set their own goals under the pressure of their school work and make their achievements with determination and hard work. It was of great help to the students that volunteer Chang Gui Zhi, a graduate student from Sun Yat-Sen University provided many methods on learning in school and accounts of her own exam experience to the students. The kids psychological problems are not easy to overcome in a short period of time, due to the experience of poverty in the rural countryside, therefore each semester we strongly emphasize on how to build up the strength of the students psychologically, provide different methods on how to build up their self-esteem and self-confidence, this depends greatly on the student’s determination to follow our instructions. I will be really happy even if they have just a very little improvement.

Long He and Ding Ye village are located in the mountain ravine groove; the teachers and students are very simple and honest. Due to the rough and difficult road conditions in the mountain area, a teacher recommended we go for home visits in the morning and schedule the group discussion with th, e students in the afternoon; so that we may return to Napo Co, unty before night time. We learn during our home visits that ev, ery st, udent’s family were very poor. One of the junior high 1st level student’s father had passed away, his mother had to leave home for work to support the family, the, refore the old grandparents had to look after 3 kids in the family (one of the kids is the student’s cousin), the grandpa works in the farm land and also works part time nearby to earn more money. They are so poor even the bus expenses for the kids to come home from school each week is a burden for them. We discovered that the elder sister is in junior high 3rd level at the same school, therefore , we placed her in the “Tomorrow Program”. We also requested the grandparents must let the kids continue their schooling. Other cases: an older brother quit going to school in order to support his younger brother to go to junior high school; really old grandpa and grandma supporting the orphan grandchildren....


The grandparents of three grandchildren, corn became all mouldy due to the roof leaks

After the two day seminar in Long He Village, all the 9th grade students worried they might not see us again after their high school entrance exam; if they got admitted to schools outside of Napo. They pulled me to a corner of the classroom, bowed deeply and said, "Thank you, Aunt Tricia!” The kids were sad with tears in their eyes; I was so touched and choked without words.

A boy in junior high 1st level from Ding Ye Village had put in an application to be accepted into the “Tomorrow Program”. His mother had passed away; in his application form he wrote: “I had to help in house work since I was 7 years old. Every day after school, I help my grandparents to get water, cut fire wood, wash clothes, cooking and etc....My family is in debt constantly ever since my dad’s injury in a car accident have added to our burdens. Several times I had thought to put myself up for sale so that my family would have the money to repay the debts, but on second thought, if I had been sold, who would help to support my father and my family, I often woke up with nightmares and cried into my bed quilt....". I notice that he was extremely focused listening to our group discussion, his anxious eyes deeply touched me.


The students of Dingye Junior High School

If we did not go on the home visits, we would not be able to understand the difficult situation of these kids; nor their mental state in-depth, and to help them effectively. It was amazing that these children were able to finish junior high school under the difficult circumstances. It was not easy for them to insist on completing school. They were under many difficult situations such as worries, fears and stress, they had to put in more efforts than others in order to insist on studying in school. What I had witnessed and learned from them is about “determination and toughness”.

Thanks to volunteer Zhang Guizhi’s dedication and great effort in this journey. Her assistance is greatly appreciated. Just like the last semester, I was astonished by her high efficiency again. Thanks to her on sharing her growing up stories, learning experience, and skills with the kids. She also set a good example for the children to follow in the future. Thanks to the involvement and assistance from the two volunteer students from the Beihai College of Beihang University, Sun Xiao and Dong Ruo Lan.

2. Jingxi County, Guangxi:

The first stop of our visit is the Jingxi First High School. The senior high students have five classes on Saturday morning; the afternoon is off, some students go to the market in a group to buy their weekly supplies, and some students take the opportunity to have a good sleep due to the lack of sleeping time during the week days. They also need to go to school for the whole day until 10:30 p.m. on Sundays as well, it was quite hard for them. We always use the students’ self-study session during the two weekend nights to have the group discussion with them. I hope this time schedule will not affect them too much.

Senior high students, especially the 3rd year students have felt the pressure of the tons of school work and are very anxiously counting down the days to the college entrance exam. This even affected the quality of their sleep. Besides providing some method on how to reduce their stress, we also gave them some notes they may need to know on how to get admitted into the university: how to apply the university’s student loan from their local education bureau; some important points concerning their adjustment as a freshman psychologically in 1st year university; in order to let these students know how to handle the different life style in the university of a big city and how to cope with the different students coming from various parts of the country, we taught them how to manage their mental & emotional states, hope it will help them in the future.

We still followed the topics of our group discussion in Napo with the students in the 5 junior high schools in this rural area: the method on how to overcome stress in learning, how to recognize their own value, how to achieve their self-esteem; how to be thankful; and answered to all of the students psychological problems etc.... Although part of our group conversations were the same in different ways for the past 3 years, we have to remind the students constantly so they will understand the lessons completely and be able to put it into action.

Kuixu Junior High School is located on a very small area, the construction of the new school building has yet to be completed since the beginning of the last semester, the small campus is very messy, and this has affected the teachers and students. We used a computer classroom for our lectures last semester, this time a teacher permitted us the use of his classroom for the group discussions, nearly 70 students squeezed into the small classroom, we are all looking forward to the completion of the new school building.


The weather was really cold, but the students had to wash their hair in cold water

Drop out is a common problem in rural junior high schools, therefore the transition rate from junior high school to senior high school is much lower than in urban areas. This semester, there were a few drop out students from the “Tomorrow Program” at each school. In our home visits, we also reminded the parents to persistently make sure their children go to school, and not letting them drop out early, so they can go to work to earn a living and to support their family income. The vice principal of the Nanpo Junior High School told us: “ Our school’s drop out rate for the past 3 years had been reduced from more than 100 students to around 30 to 40 per year”. I was deeply touched by this. She attributed this to the efforts of the "Tomorrow Program”; but I can’t accept this credit, I believe the reduced drop out rate was mainly due to the care and assistance provided by the teachers and the school.

Another prevalent situation in rural schools is: there are a few students who are addicted to the Internet, the teachers could not prevent it happening, it brought headaches to the teachers. When we talked to the students in the schools, we told the students about the negative influence and the misinformation on the Internet; asked them not to get addicted to this bad habit. We also warned the students their education funds could be canceled, once it is confirmed by the school and verified by the teacher in charge that they have this bad habit. So far, we only have two students at Kuixu Junior High School who have this problem, I told them both: they will have one last chance, if they don’t stop their bad habit, we will disqualify them from our program next term.

In the Kuixu and Nanpo home visit trips we saw the familiar deteriorated wooden houses which I mentioned to all of you in my previous work reports. But for these new volunteers, this is their first encounter to actually see and realize that there are a lot of poverty that still exist in today’s society. I believed everyone was quite shocked: there was the father missing for 6 years, a crying mother; a humpbacked grandma carrying a heavy bag of vegetables from the field to feed pigs, all of these scenarios touched the volunteers; a father with a finger disability who could not go out to work, but because his house had collapsed, he had to borrow money to build a small brick house by himself; the mother who had to work to support the family after the father died....all of these individuals are living below the poverty level.

The construction of a new building is underway at Nanpo Junior High School. Same as last semester we held our meetings in the school canteen where we answered questions from the students. The vice principal said the students usually could not sit still for a 45 minutes class, yet they can concentrate in listening to us for two hours, and also take notes diligently! When the group discussion at An-De Junior High School had finished, a student stayed behind and told me that his family situation had improved, and asked me to give his share of the education grants to other students in need, he said it was a love to be passed on. We agreed that in the future, even if he is no longer receiving our financial aid he must participate in our seminar each semester , he said he was really proud of being a "Tomorrow Program’s" student, he understands how to be thankful and really felt our love for him, so he would like to pass on his love to others.

The two volunteers from Shenzhen brought all kinds of candies for the kids, and showed them an inspirational short film "Eagle and the Chicken’s story", the message is to let the kids know their own value, and then having them write down the "21 Principles for Success". So that they can always remind and encourage themselves. A volunteer from Tianjin with many years of teaching experience told the kids,” what kind of students will be well like by the teachers”, and also told the “story of a snail” so that the kids will learn how to be self-reliant and how to improve themselves. Volunteer Guizhi also shared her personal story to encourage the children not to give up hope....

Thanks to the 1st group of volunteers to Jingxi: TCL Multimedia’s Lin Li and Li Xiaoxia from Shenzhen, Tianjin Taida 1st Secondary School’s teacher Li Feng, and Zhongshan University’s Zhang Guizhi. I am very grateful that they travel with me to these remote mountain areas and care for these poor children. Thank you very much!

More than half of the 57 students in the Long Lin Junior High School program are orphans or have a single parent; like the other “Tomorrow Program’s” students, their family also experience extreme difficulties.

I requested the students to anonymously write down for us their problems, worries and issues that they were afraid of, so that we could answer them. A boy’s question was: "If I would not be accepted by Jingxi 1st High School, would you be disappointed? I’m afraid the money (grants) you had provided me would have been a waste"; a question from another kid: "Why do you want to help us orphans?"


A child’s worry written on his notes: will the financial support provided to me for the past few years are wasted on me, if I can’t get admitted in high school?

I was really sad and my heart ached because of these two questions. These vulnerable children are often laughed at by their classmates; the teachers did not have time to attend to their feelings. Therefore, our mission is to continue to let the kids know that there is love, we value their presents, we also make sure that they learn self-respect, value and love themselves; and have confidence and hope for the future. These are our long-term goals and commitment and our main focus of the two-day talks with students at each school.

A child had given me a letter after the group discussion: ".....without you, I might have been defeated by my fear....in the past, I’ve understood that if I quit school and go out to work, making more money to help my parents in supporting our home would bring happiness for my family, but after listening to what you said, I’ve learned a lot, I’ll try my best to achieve a higher level of education in school.... ". We will also continue our efforts to get more children to go into senior high school or vocational school, not just going to work right after junior high school; so that they will have a brighter future.

The government in recent years have promoted, "Teaching by using a monitor instead of a blackboard": the government installed the multimedia monitor in the classrooms of schools in poverty areas where resources were limited. Some teachers use the monitor instead of the blackboard; but a lot of teachers who are not familiar with its oper, ation rarely use the equipment. The schools in the rural areas are very far from the county, accessibility is not convenient, living conditions are very poor, and teach, er salaries are very low, thus many teachers seek transfers to teach in the county. This is the reason why schools are short of teachers. 7 teachers are needed at Guole Junior High School and more than 10 teachers are needed at Kuixu Junior High School also.

After volunteer Zhang Guizhi left, I used her "study method" to teach the kids how to concentrate in class: during the 45-minute class, the kid’s eyes should look into the eyes of the teacher. I asked the class their results the next day, a child said “It worked!” She now understood the mathematical problems and the math class became more interesting." Another boy concentrated by looking into my eyes in the two-hours meeting. He gave me a big hug after the meeting and said, "Aunt Tricia, I will try my best effort in school.”

Our feelings during the home visits in Long Lin and Guole were especially sad: The government provided grants for citizens to rebuild their homes, but it was only enough money to build the outside frame, the inside of their houses were still very shabby. A grandpa smiled with tears in his eyes while mentioning his grandchild to us; I understood how hard it was for him to raise his grandson, and yet the grandson brought him happiness because of his good school performance and he was proud of him; one orphan in Guole lives in his uncle’s house with his 85 years old humpbacked grandma. His uncle had to leave home to work all year round. The grandma is very weak and thin, her action and reaction were very slow & poor, yet she carried a sack that had several dozen pounds of fresh peas from the farm, while also carrying a sickle on her back, when she reached home, she had to gasp for air as she sat on a stone by the door. I tried to lift the peas from the ground, but couldn’t. I can’t imagine how this white-haired old lady carried it back home. She told me with tears that she lost her son and daughter-in-law….. My heart ached so much; another orphan also lives with her uncle after her father died, the mother later committed suicide. Her mother tried forcing her to drink the same pesticide, but she strongly refused, not knowing that her mother had already drank it. The constant gossips of her neighbors and classmates caused her much suffering. I asked her not to listen to their gossips, and try also to persist and continue studying i, n school....


The grand, ma carried a several dozen pounds of fresh peas from the farm, sitting on a stone by the door gasping

Many thanks to the second group of volunteers , in our Jingxi mission: Mr. and Mrs. Jin Shaofa from Shanghai spared their valuable time to come to Jingxi with us to care for the children and to understand our sponsorship program. They also plan to prom,, ote u, s , am, on, g thei, r friends. The 2, , , , v, olun, teer ,, univ, ersity students from Beihai College of Beihang University, Yao Bin and Xu Yujia’s dedication in assisting me in this journey. They also accompanied me to go to Lingyun County of Baise area for the 2 days of visits and recorded the in home visit situations in detail. Thank you so much for your great efforts in giving love to these children. Thanks to a loving person like Li Yongyi in Chongqing who sent 5 packets of extracurricular books for the high school and junior high school students to read. We distributed them to the students in the, schools in Jingxis so that they would have a chance to read, them in their spare time, the children were really happy and treasure them so much.

3. Wen County,, Gansu and Qingchuan County, Sichuan:

Again, thanks to the Chengdu Kelun Pharmaceutical Company for providing us a car that took us to Wen County, Gansu from Chengdu, without their help, we could not reach our destinations within a day. Thank you very much!

The highway conditions remained the same as last semester in Wen County, the collapsed section of the roads were all surrounded by sand bags to prevent accidents such as cars falling into the Bailong River. The volunteer from Guangzhou did her best but could not sustain the rough road conditions and was car sick; we had to stop from time to time let her rest. Finally, we reached Wen County, we went to Wen 1st High School at 7 o’clock the same evening to meet with the students. There were more than 20 students among the 93 senior high students who were worried about the college entrance examination. I taught them how to reduce their stress; also let them know the way to improve their EQ and what they needed to know and to consider. I also taught them how t, o , put in their best effort in the last stage.


The 93 children in Wen 1st High School

Wen 1st High School is located in the county, but the students of the "Tomorrow Program" are from many different rural areas and villages. Many students needed to take the bus for nearly 3 hours, in addition to walking some distance in order to reach the school. Besides the cost of transportation and the heavy school workload, most students would not go home until the summer or winter holidays. The government do, es not subsidize lunches in senior high school, in order to save the cost of their daily meals, some students will bring the pickle, d cabbage from home as their dai, ly dishes. The boarding rooms in the school could not hold more than 3,000 students; therefore some students rent a room together in the nearby village. There are 2 of our program students renting also.

Due to the long distance between the students’ home and school,, some students find it inconvenient or not practicable to commute within the same day. For the home visits this semester in Wen County, we somewhat selected nearby homes to visit, but I was surprised that they are still quite far away on the steep slopes and high mountain areas. To go to one of the home’s, our driver had to be very skillful in maneuvering a four wheel vehicle to enable us to get deep into the mountainous area, even then, there was still another half an hour of walking to reach our destination. The student we visit says it takes him 2 to 3 hours of riding the bus and climbing the mountain to get home every week.

During our home visits, we saw a paralyzed mother (Injured from a car accident), she also lost her language skills, but she could communicate with us by SMS using her one hand typing on the cell phone. Then there was the family where the father due to sickness could not perform heavy duty work, the mother passing away very early, and the son who quit school to go to work to support the family. Also a single mother who had to work in a restaurant to support the family because of the collective relocation from the high mountain to the base of the mountain by the government.

In the evening seminars, a senior student asked if he could be one of the volunteers to pass on love in the “Tomorrow Program” when he goes to College. I told them that in the first 3 years of college, they have to study hard and gain a solid foundation in school, but we welcome him in his 4th year when the school work is not as heavy. The two night’s of group discussion ended with the children’s hugs and well wishes. All the senior 3rd level students accompanied us to the school gate, and said they will join us as volunteers. These kids know how to be thankful and will share their love to others, I was deeply touched.


This orphan said she is sharing her student grants with one of her classmates, because she also needed help

I received a text message from a student in Wen County after I left Wen who said: "Aunt Tricia, you know, you not only brought us love but also energy, when we were lost, you told us the right direction. Your presence encouraged us to put our best effort in school and we also know how to be thankful. Aunt Tricia, the methods you taught us on how to concentrate in class works well, I used your method when I was tired, and it worked really well...."

The 6th anniversary of the 512 earthquake is just around the corner, but people seem to forget about it. During the past six years, the "Tomorrow Program" team continued our mission in Qingchuan and Beichuan, helping the poverty students has never stopped. Right now Qingchuan already has a new look; walking about in the township, we can see the beautiful mountains and rivers, nice new buildings and well paved roads. The past six years seems like a dream, from disaster to rebirth, from ruins to the new towns. We witnessed the persistence, love and hope of these people.

A teacher at Muyu Middle school knew we had stopped accepting new applications from students from Qingchuan, still she insisted that we go visit a family near the river. There we saw a temporary house built with straw mats, aluminum panels and wood. The four member family sleeps in a room with two beds. The mother has hearing and speech impairment. The economic resources of the family is reliant on the disable legged father who works in a barber shop located on the roadside in an abandoned water station for 4 RMB per haircut. The girl is a very good student and studies hard; her grades in class are always in the top 10. The family is extremely difficult but very optimistic. This hardworking girl is the only new student to be accepted into the “Tomorrow Program” in Qingchuan in the last 2 years.


A disabled father of a Muyu Middle School in Qingchuan took us to their house near the river bank, their family of 4 people settled in house on the left

All the students in the “Tomorrow Program” at Sanguo Middle School are at the junior 3rd level now. They will go for their senior high school entrance examination soon. We agree to meet at Qingchuan 1st Senior High School the next semester. We no longer need to go to Sanguo village next time. We encouraged all the children to ask questions at school, and a student in the Guan Zhuang junior 3rd level high school asked, "The entrance examination is near but I am so confused, I do not know the purpose of life, what should I do?" Most of the students felt the same way. Our main task is to ignite their energy, and let them see hope for the future.


Guan Zhuang junior 3rd level high school asked: "The entrance examination is near but I a, m so confused, I do not know the purpose of life, and what should I do?" Most students felt th, e same.

The students at Qingchuan 1st Senior High School were enthusiastically asking questions all night. Their questions posed these problems: How to handle conflicts among fellow students? How to overcome their laziness in every task? How to select their major studies in college? Should they choose their major according to their own interests or listen to their parents’ wishes? How to make a decision between their ideal and reality....? Inspite of the seriousness of the meeting there was a moment of levity when a program student posed a question from a friend who was not a "Tomorrow Program" student...."His appearance looks like a coal miner, no girls like him, what should he do to attract the girls?" The class broke out in loud laughter!

A student at Qingchuan 3rd level senior high school wrote to me and said: "....I remember I was in the plywood classroom the first time I met you, and now I am a Senior 3rd level student about to take the college entrance examination in about 50 more days. From being a total stranger to knowing each other, from simply caring to feeling like a family member; time has given us signs of aging but has provided us a common growth experience.” I s, till remember they were very little and now they are young men and young ladies.

We take time to have the students at each school in Qqing, chuan fill out the scholarship application from“, Chengdu Century City". One of the graduate student volunteer, Wang Qian from Sun Yat-Sen University prepared the awards list according to the students’ gr, ade r, eports, so that we may present the first, second an, d third scholarships accordingly. This year there were 146 students in Qingchuan who obtained the excellence achievement scholarships.

We sincerely offer thanks for the help of the 2 volunteers; Wang Qian, from Sun Yat-Sen University and Sun Xiaoyu, a 4th year intern university student from Beihai College of Beihang University. Without their help we could not have completed our journey successfully. We rode on rural buses, ran back and forth between the townships and villages, had different meals schedules every day, talking with students in the early evening was very inconvenient, therefore we only had bread or instant noodles as dinners. I felt very sorry for them. Thank them so much for their dedication and hard work.

4. Zhangjiachuan County in Gansu province

The last 89 students in our program in Zhangiachuan 1st and 2nd High School are graduating, this time we gave them the developed photographs taken in the last semester as souvenirs. The principal of the 1st High School told me that the students’ scores this year were better than last year. He expected their ranks in Tianshui City will be higher than the students from last year. The college entrance exam is about 40 odd days away and all the students were very nervous. In order not to affect the student’s routine practice examinations, we only had one night of group discussion in these 2 schools.

Our conversation was centered around the preparation for the college entrance exam, and how to apply for a state-subsidized student loan, and how to adapt to the first semester of life at a university. Most students at 1st High School were aiming as their goal, admission to an undergraduate program in a university. They would be embarrassed if they got admitted to a technical school. They prefer not attending those schools. Even their own school would only count the number of admitted university students as their school’s performance. To break this notion, we strongly emphasize that graduating from a technical school can lead to success in the future; if they select a profession that interests them and apply their best effort. Attending a university does not determine their future, but more important is "your decision on who you want to become”, no matter which school you attend or what environment you are in, it will not decide your future.


Zhangiachuan students putting their hands up to indicate they will stop the higher education if they only got admitted to the technical college

One of the school buildings posed a danger at 2nd Senior High School in Zhangjiachuan. School officials erected 10 plywood annexes as classrooms on the campus for all the senior high 2nd level students. The new school building is expected to be completed in one year. All of the students are very simple, very diligent, we provide them with instant and future directions, strategies and methods, I’m sure it will be helpful for them.


Zhangjiachuan 2nd High School’s building had become dangerous, these plywood annexes used as classrooms for all the high school 11th grade students

Our 3 years sponsorship of the "Tomorrow Program" in Zhangjiachuan had come to an end. The high school freshmen became 3rd level seniors and will be graduating this year. We came to help these students at the request of the Zhangjiachuan’s teachers, our mission had completed successfully. Since last year, we have gradually transferred our program to assist the kids in Wen County. We will not go to Zhangjiachuan County any more. When we were leaving Zhangjiachuan, we tried to make a happy atmosphere to reduce our sadness in saying goodbye. One student wrote a letter to me, “....when I was in 10th grade, my family could not afford the tuition fee for me and my sister. I was going to drop out of school, you came to help me at that time and you told us to “be your own hero"....thank you for travelling the long & rough journey to visit us and encourage us. Each time was so difficult to say goodbye. I will try my best to study hard, no matter how my college entrance examination turn out; love will always stay in my heart! "

Bless all the students of the “Tomorrow Program” in Zhangjiachuan; may you have a smooth college entrance examination. Get out of the mountains and go toward the bright future. Thanks to the Chengdu partner Lu Yijun’s assistance & companionship for each semester, the sponsorship mission in Zhangjiachuan County and Beichuan will be our valuable memories.

Thanks to all our friends! Your help has given the “Tomorrow Program “students the opportunity to finish their junior and senior high school education, giving them hope for the future, and letting the kids know what is love and how to be their own hero. Thank you!

Please click on the following link for more “photo stories”:

http://www.tomorrowcn.org/en.asp?id=178

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program

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" Tomorrow Program" Work Report for Autumn 2013

Dear friends,

Hello everyone!

For this year’s educational assistance trip in the autumn, we started from Gansu province in the north, then Sichuan, then finally the mild weather region of Guangxi. The trip came to a successful conclusion in mid-November. Thank you to all the volunteers for their help!

1. Gansu Province Zhangjiachuan County:

The road from Tianshui to Zhangjiachuan, and the road from Zhangjiachuan City to 2nd Longshan High School were completed a few months ago. However, in August, twenty days of continuous, heavy rain resulted in landslides and the partial collapse of the roadbed in multiple areas. The two main roads were severely damaged and have not yet been fully repaired. A few of our students lost their homes, which collapsed in the heavy rain. Fields of wheat were also destroyed.

The graduates of the “Tomorrow program ”in the Zhangjiachuan 1st and Zhangjiachuan 2nd High School performed very well on their university entrance exams. About 90% were admitted into universities and technical colleges, such as the Northeast Petroleum University, the Northwest Normal University, the Lanzhou University of Technology, the Central University for Nationalities, Gansu Agricultural University, Gansu University of Political Science and Law, Gansu University of Technology, Northwest University of Nationalities etc. After three years of hard work in high school, they finally achieved the success they deser ved. I am really happy for them, and very proud of them!

One of the students in Zhangjiachuan 1st High School was admitted to the Beijing Language and Culture University, but could not afford the tuition and living expenses. With little time left, she turned to us for help. We were able to get her an annual grant of 3500 yuan from the Lynck Foundation in the US. In addition, our partners in Tianjin donated another 2000 yuan to help her move to Beijing. This semester, all the students in the “Great Love Tomorrow” program at the 1st and 2nd High School in Zhangjiachuan will be seniors. Based on the experiences of the previous class, we explained to them their options for state funding and grants for university and technical colleges, such as: government grants, national scholarships, student loans, tuition fee reduction, work-study programs, the green channel etc. We hope that by preparing the students early, they will not be overwhelmed by the need to find funding when they are admitted to college, so that their hard work will not be for naught. The children recorded everything carefully in their notebooks before they smiled brightly and relaxed a bit.


Students diligently recording details of government grants and financial assistance

Seniors in high school face enormous pressures because of the university entrance exams. We teach the students to use active and positive thinking and behaviors to improve their mood and studying efficiency. After our lesson, the students seemed to sit up straighter, filled with the spirit and the strength to face their challenges. This time, at the bequest of the principal of the 1st High School in Zhangjiachuan, we accepted a senior student at the school who was suffering from leukemia into our program. We pray that her health will hold up under the academic pressure, and that she will be able to realize her dream of going to university and becoming a doctor. The regulations of the 1st High School in Zhangjiachuan specify that students who repeat a grade cannot wear school uniforms. This has caused these students to feel inferior and ashamed. A student who had to repeat a year cried and told me that she was not worthy of our support. I had a long talk with her in front of the school in the evening, and was finally able to untie this knot in her heart. I believe that with our help, she will be strong enough to resolutely pass through this difficult year.


Let us remember our senior year in high school!

The learning atmosphere in Gansu is more active and assiduous than Qingchuan and Guangxi. I believe that this year’s graduating class from the 1st and 2nd High School in Zhangjiachuan will be outstanding, just like the graduates of the previous year. Other than inspiring them and giving them more confidence, we also answered questions about psychological challenges students often have when faced with the university entrance exam. In particular, we told them about the advantages in landing a job for graduates of technical colleges, so that they would not feel that not being admitted into an university is akin to the end of the world. We did not accept high school freshmen or sophomores into our program this year. We have been gradually transferring our quota to Gansu province. This will be the last year for our program in Zhangjiachuan.

Much thanks to our partner in Chengdu, Rachel Lu.

2. Wen County, Gansu Province and Qingchuan County, Sichuan Province

It is very difficult to reach Wen County of Gansu province from Chengdu. We’re very grateful towards Kelun Pharmaceuticals of Chengdu for driving us to Wen County. For all these years, each time we visit Qingchuan, we have relied on Kelun Pharmaceuticals’ assistance. This semester, we traveled to the even more remote Wen County. Only with the help of Kelun Pharmaceuticals were our volunteers able to reach Wen County safely. We’re very grateful!

Wen County is located in the south of Gansu, in the Longnan area, and is very remote. It borders Qingchuan on the south, and is classified by the government as a poverty-stricken county. In August, heavy rains caused severe damage to the mountain roads leading to Wen County, with landslides in multiple places. The damage to the roads was more serious than in Zhangjiachuan. Even now, there are piles of rocks still on the roads. Repairs have not yet started, so the road is blocked in many places. Without the off-road vehicles provided by Kelun Pharmaceuticals, we would not have been able to arrive in Wen County from Chengdu within a day.


The mountain roads to Wen County suffered multiple landslides and embankment collapses because of heavy rain. The damage has yet to be repaired.

This semester, all the teachers and the more than three thousands students of the Wen County 1st High School moved into their new campus. The night we arrived in Wen County, we met with the 80 students who had applied to join the “Tomorrow program” for individual interviews. After learning about their family situation, we eliminated the handful whose family situations were fairly good. We added some students from poor single parent families who had been overlooked. In the end, we enrolled a total of 93 students, from all 3 grades of the school.

The 1st High School of Wen County is located in the county capital. All of our students live at school, because their homes are in the remote mountains. Even with the help of the school, we were only able to visit 6 students who lived closest to the county capital in a day and a half. For the students who lived further away, we may only be able to visit one home a day. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake caused varying degrees of damage to most of the houses. Based on the damage, the government provided different amounts of aid for repair and rebuilding. Most of our students live in repaired, whitewashed two-story tile-roofed houses.


After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the government provided grants to rebuild and repair the houses. But there was no money for doors or windows. The houses were also empty.

The children of Wen County are honest and hard-working. During the two nights of evening classes, their concentration, interactions, and innocence deeply touched my heart. Our diligent efforts and the enthusiastic response of the children gained us the trust of the school. After our discussions, a boy came up and told me, “My dad just passed away recently. Now I am the main provider for the family. I will use the methods that Auntie Lin taught us and do my best. Don’t worry Auntie.” Another child in the lecture sent me a text message, “Your speech made me realize that you don’t distinguish between rich or poor. In you, r eyes, I see love...” Their joy is my greatest comfort and motivation. Through our educational grants, we provide these children with financial aid. Through the two evening classes, we send them our love and encouragement.


The continuous applause startled the teachers who were patrolling campus

For more information about our trip to Wen Country, please refer to the report by our volunteer from Zhongsan University, Zhang Guizhi, titled “Our Days in Gansu Province”.

The natural environment in Qingchuan County is better than in Wen County. Reconstruction after the earthquake has also been completed. The living conditions of the general public have been gradually improving. From this year on, we will no longer accept new middle school students from Qingchuan nor conduct home visits. We want to focus our limited grants on even poorer areas who need our help. Our youngest students in Qingchuan are in their second year of middle school. They will not graduate from high school for another 5 years. This means that by the time we finish, we will have provided education grants in Qingchuan for 10 years.

The students in Qingchuan have grown each year. This semester, the children from Guanzhuang Middle School have improved the most. Last semester, I felt that they were a bit naughty and not diligent enough. I gave them a serious lecture on how to respect themselves and other people, events, and things. This time, I was touched by how much they have changed. Not only did they improve academically, but more importantly, they have become much more focused and polite. They have learned how to respect their parents, teachers, classmates, and the environment. Our lectures, which began at 6 pm, were suppose to end by 8 pm. But they did not want to leave, so we had to continue. In the entire three hours, none of the children were whispering in the audience, or even went to the bathroom. They were engrossed. Seeing their serious expressions, I know that they have taken everything that my volunteers and I shared with them, our advice and encouragements, to heart.


The children of Guanzhuang Middle School made the largest improvements. I am proud of them!

We had a group of students graduate from Qingchuan high school and Qingchuan 1st High. A new group of freshmen joined from middle schools in Muyu, Sanguo, and Guanzhuang. There is intense academic pressure in high school, with mountains of homework. Our volunteer from Zhongshan University, Zhang Guizhi suggested the students treat their homework assignments as exams. Set a time limit for doing homework and don’t copy from the textbook. Then you’ll realize what you do and do not understand, and when exams arrive, you won’t be nervous or afraid. It is a very useful technique! Thank you Guizhi!

Under normal circumstances, high school students have more complicated problems than middle school students. At this age, the children can often feel conflicted or troubled about many things in life, and can be led astray. They often feel that there is no one who will listen to their problems. During our visit, an excellent and upstanding student at Qingchuan 1st High approached me privately and told me, “I can’t find peace in my heart, and my grades have suffered as a result”. He wanted to talk with me. Although we made plans to talk the next evening, because the students did not want our lecture to end, we ran out of time in the evening. In the end, I decided to talk with all the students as a group about the problem of “Finding peace in your heart”. I hope that the suggestions I gave will be of use to other students as well. Before we left, he gave me a hug and said, “The solutions you suggested seem very suitable for my personality. I will try it out. If I run into problems, I will give Auntie a call.”

These children grow up with many challenges. Most of their parents are illiterate or have only primary school education. Some teachers only care about their exam scores. Their friends may not have the power to help them. Our most important task, in addition to giving out educational grants and our love, is to help students with their confusions and guide them towards the right path.

When we were visiting Qingchuan Middle School, a child approached me to tell me that after discussing things with her father, they had decided to donate half of her education grant to the “Tomorrow program” students in Guangxi. I accepted half of the grant that we had just given her. In the summer, another student from Guanzhuang had sent us a letter for “The students in Guangxi”, with a 100 yuan donation attached. This time, after holding a discussion with the students from Guanzhuang, everyone agreed that I should accept the 100 yuan donation. The entire process taught the children about passing on gratitude and love. I was moved. I will surely deliver their love and donations to the children of Guangxi.

I am very grateful for the assistance of Kelun Pharmaceuticals, and for the assistance of our volunteer graduate student from Beijing University, Gao Yongji in Wen County and Muyu. I am especially grateful to our volunteer graduate student from Zhongshan University, Zhang Guizhi for participating in the entire trip. Not only did she bring hope and warmth to the students by sharing w, ith them her own experiences of growing up in poverty and her hard fought journey, she also taught them the essentials of learning and the importance of gratitude. She rea, lly is the best example fo, , r these , children, .,, I am , tha, nkful that she recorded all the details , of our trip to Wen County, helped me organize the photos, made lists of all the students, and reminded me of many details throughout the trip. On our trip, we would arrive at the schools at , 6 or 7 in the evening. By the time we finished talking with the students, all the restaurants nearby would already be closed. So like me, Guizhi did not eat dinner. After our volunteer from Beijing University left, the two of us , only ate a single m, eal each day, . I felt bad about doing this to Guizhi. I am very grateful for and touched by everything that Guizhi did for the “Tomorrow program”.

3. Guanxi Province Napo County

From Nanning, it takes nearly seven hours to reach Napo City by bus. After we had eaten our lunch / dinner at a restaurant, we arrived at Napo National High School at 6:20pm.

Napo National High School has nearly 2000 students. Self study begins at 7pm, but by 6:30pm, the campus was already filled with the voices of students reading aloud. On the first night, a child approached me privately and asked, “My family’s financial situation has improved. Can I give up my spot for another student in my class? Her mother is disabled, so her father has to support all three children by himself. She often doesn’t have enough money to eat.” After confirming that her family’s financial situation has indeed improved, I accepted her request. She only wanted to participate in the two nights of gatherings and lectures we have each semester, even though she was no longer receiving any grants. I was touched. On the second night, I used this as an anonymous example to teach the children about love and thanksgiving.


Giving out educational grants at Napo National High School

The two children from Qingchuan had donated 300 yuan in total. In order to allow all the children in Guangxi to receive the love from the students in Qingchuan, we added some money to buy 600 pens and gave them out to all the students in the “Tomorrow program” in Guangxi. The students learned that thanksgiving is recognizing the help that other people give us. Behind this aid is a loving spirit. When we receive help, we should receive it happily, with no conditions, no pressure, no feelings of being in debt. We should simply accept the love. We should love ourselves, love other people, and pass on this love. When there is love, the children will have a guide for their actions. When there is love, the children will learn to show gratitude towards their parents, their teachers, their friends, their environment etc.

When we were leaving Napo National High School, many students came up to hug us and to say goodbye. After giving me a hug, a girl stood off to the side, mumbled to herself, “My mother never hugs me like this”, and started to cry. I was very sad. Another student, a sophomore from a single parent family who was considered by the teachers to be very rebellious, waited until all the other students had left before coming up to me and saying, “Auntie Lin, I know that everything you said tonight was directed at me... My life is so difficult. No one understands me...” He started to cry as he said this. I told him that real strength is not acting cool and keeping up a tough exterior. You don’t need to be perfect to be loved. Real love is to accept your own weaknesses and strive to fix them gradually.... He said, “Auntie Lin, wait for me. I will continue to improve and become one of your volunteers one day...”


After our discussion at Napo National High School, the students gathered around to say goodbye

Of our original students from Longhe Township and Dingyeh Middle School, students who have lost one or both parents made up 50% of the group. Now these students are all in their 2nd or 3rd year of Middle School. This time, many new freshmen students have applied to the “Tomorrow program”. Due to our limited scholarship funds, after interviewing all the applicants, we could only accept less than half of them. We were unable to accept even some students from single parent families. Just like Jingxi, poverty in Napo is simply too wide spread. We can only, help the poorest of the poor. When we were conducting home vis, its for our new students in Longhe Twonship, we found that severa, l studen, ts had been in the care of their grandparents since they were only, a few months old. Their mothers had left and never been back for more than 10 years. The elderly grandparents live in run-down old tile-roofed houses. They had lost their daughters, and the children had lost their mothers. Even though the grandparents had almost no ability to work, they persisted and raised their grandchildren on their own. The children never knew who their fathers were. They were just like orphans. Sadly, this situation is quite common. For these students, developing a health, y mindset was just as important as receiving financial aid.

The children of Longhe and Dingyeh are very innocent and pure. They have little contact with the outside world. Although they are still shy, compared to last semester, they have improved a lot. They are happier and more willing to speak up. These orphans, who were silent before, now have bright smiles on their faces. They come up to say hi and to give me hugs, reminding me to take care of my health. The students have been learning diligently, and are doing well academically and growing more mature. These changes are my biggest motivation. A teacher from Jingxi Kuiwei High School phoned me to say, “Auntie Lin, I was touched by everything your organization has done. I am going to take two days off to volunteer with you.” He rode his motorcycle through the rugged mountain paths in the rain to meet up with us in Longhe. He was our most important volunteer in Longhe.


Their beautiful eyes reveal hope and longing for the future

Napo and Jingxi are rich in natural resources. Large trucks overloaded with minerals, gravel, and eucalyptus logs cause severe damage to the rural roads and spread air pollution. The roads, which had been fine last semester, are now filled with pits and potholes, making travel incredibly difficult for regular cars. When conducting home visits in Dingyeh, after traveling out for 20 minutes from the school, we became trapped in the mud. Even after trying for 2 hours, we made no progress. We had to give up on visiting the students at home.

Thank you to Teacher Yang and our volunteer from Beijing University, Wang Yiqing for taking the time to help with our trip to Napo.

4. Guanxi Province Jingxi County

Our first stop was Jingxi High School in the county capital. This semester, many of our middle school students were admitted to Jingxi High School. In addition, another four seniors were added to the program after being recommended by the teachers and having interviews with us. This semester, there were 72 students at Jingxi High School. The teacher in charge praised our second and third year students for their outstanding performances. Some of the students ranked amongst the best of their grade.

During our discussions in the evening self-study sessions, we found that some of the children were very proactive and had matured a lot. They enthusiastically asked questions and diligently recorded down all the details about government sponsored grants. One of the senior students kissed me on the cheek and thanks me for telling her about all these assistance options. This was very unexpected. I remember three years ago when we first surveyed Jingxi county, she was a senior in middle school. She had broken down in tears and told me that her father often beat her because he had severe mental illness. Her mother could not stand the physical violence and had left to find work far away. We started sponsoring her at the request of her teacher. Now she is a senior in high school. She works hard and has excellent grades. She’s also become more cheerful. Her dream is to attend the Beijing Foreign Studies University. We hope that her dream will come true!

After finishing our conversations that evening, a student handed me a letter describing her problems. She did not understand everything in the class lectures, but she was afraid to speak up and ask. Her grades have been slipping, and she was losing confidence... Another student asked how to persist and study everyday... All children face these two problems to some degree. Thus the next evening, we discussed in detail the reasons for being afraid to speak up and ask questions, and techniques for dealing with this. Four academically outstanding students also shared with the others how they are able to persist in their studies. I am very glad that these two students brought these questions up. All the students were able to benefit from the discussion.


She said that she was no longer confused. She would do her best.

After hearing about how a student at Napo National High School had given up their spot in the program for a struggling classmate, after the discussion a student from Jingxi High School approached me. She told me that her family’s financial situation had improved as well. They had just built a brick house. She wanted to give her spot in the program to the poor students at Kuiwei Middle School, where she had graduated from. This was another touching story of love being passed on. These children have realized that the true meaning of thanksgiving is love, that we should accept help happily, and give help happily.

Our program has many graduates from all five middle schools in Jingxi. Many freshmen middle school students have also applied for the program. After interviewing the applicants and a rigorous selection process, we have new freshmen students in every middle school. We’ve also added a few poor sophomore and senior middle school students who had been overlooked. We arrived during Jingxi county’s four day midterm examination period. Thus we moved our evening lectures up to 5:30pm, so that the students would be able to return to their exam review section at 7:30pm for their exams the next day.

Each school in Jingxi has its own atmosphere. The level of interest and oversight of the students by the school also varies. Thus students in some schools are very proactive, while students in other schools are lazier, and have clearly fallen behind. At each school, we tailored our talks to the level and situation of the students to focus on different topics. This time, our most important task is to instill in the students the correct values and attitudes, and to improve their enthusiasm for learning. After our lecture at Longling High School, the principal told me, “All the students were very excited and very happy when they left your lecture.” I was very happy. I hope they can maintain their enthusiasm and be diligent in their studies!

In rural schools, teachers have to work long hours. Their wages are low, only just over two thousand yuan a month. It is very difficult. The teachers would say half-jokingly, “Even the students who quit school to work in other cities are paid more than us.” But the principals and teachers of each school are all very proactive. They are very concerned and care a lot about the students. We were touched. The only school that lagged behind in their pro-activeness was Ande High School. Their management of the students also needs to be improved.


Two vice principals and two teachers from Longling High school accompanied us on our home visits.

Visiting the new students from the various Jingxi schools made us very sombre. A very high percentage of the students are orphans or come from single parent families. The orphans include cases where both parents have died, or where the father passed away and the mother either went missing or re-married and was never seen again. These children are essentially orphans, and are often raised by their elderly grandparents. In Longling, we visited six new freshmen middle school students. Almost all of them were in this situation. One lived with their grandmother in a small shed. Another lived in a house with rotten floors. Another lived in an illegal add-on room, but their uncle only had enough money to complete half of the frame for the house. In a space that was like a construction site, the student slept on a bed simply made from a wooden board propped up by a stack of bricks. Tree branches held up mosquito nets over the bed. The student told us, “With the mosquito net, this bed is like my palace.” One of the orphans was being raised alone by his grandfather, who had very low income. The grandfather told us that his grandson only had one set of clothing. Every Friday he would wash it at home, and put it back on when he returned to school on Sunday. In the winter, with rain drizzling outside, the clothes would often not dry out in time. But he would still have to put on the wet clothing and go back to school. We felt such deep pain in our hearts. We gave the grandfather two hundred yuan and asked him to buy two more sets of clothing for his grandson. The grandfather kept repeating, “Grandson, I am so sorry. I am so sorry...”

The financial situations of the other families are basically the same. It is difficult to imagine such wide-spread poverty in our modern society. While conducting a home visit of a senior middle school student in Napo, we were shaken by the sadness in the faces of the elderly grandmother and the younger sister, who was only in grade three. The sister went to school with only a pen, she could not afford a notebook. The mother had died giving birth to her. The grandfather had suffered a fall and was paralyzed in bed. The father had gone to work in a different city, but his income was not even enough to pay for the grandfather’s medical bills...


An orphaned student lived with their grandparents in this small shed.

The mountains are very dry, with little arable land. Parents who have little education can only go to other cities to earn a living, working in jobs requiring hard labor. Not only do they earn very little, many fathers also die because of work-related accidents. In these cases, the mothers are often forced to remarry. Even if both parents are still alive, they can only come home rarely. In these poverty-stricken regions, the only consideration of the parents is “survival”. Education is not important. Many children go out to work after middle school. Some don’t even finish middle school before they are forced to start working to supplement the family’s income. The enrollment from middle school to high school is only 30-40%.

Growing up under these conditions, finishing middle school and high school is already quite an accomplishment. Children in the cities start getting tutoring from middle school. Our children have nothing, and are at a large disadvantage in the very competitive college entrance exams. But each of them dreams of going to college, of walking out of poverty, of the future. In order to avoid the psychological damage from the gap between their dreams and reality, in addition to compassion, our most urgent and important need is to elevate their desire to learn, to discover their value, to remove thoughts of inferiority and to build their self confidence. We have to inspire them to be themselves, to face their inner fears. Without hurting their self-esteem, we need to make them fully aware that only by giving it all they have will they have a chance to realize their dreams. This is difficult even for our volunteers to appreciate, and is something that teachers at the school cannot do. Principal Wang of Longling middle school told me that this was our biggest contribution to the students.


The children’s smiles are our biggest consolation.

Ande High School, Kuiwei High School, and Napo High School have torn down their at-risk buildings, and are in the process of constructing new buildings. Although the construction has affected the student’s learning, all the students and teachers are looking forward to the new buildings. Unexpectedly, during our visit to Jingxi, we encountered the strongest typhoon in history, Typhoon Haiyan. After causing massive damage in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan headed straight for, Vietnam and Jiangxi, which was on the border between China and Vietnam. Under the strong rain and winds, we had to cancel our itinerary on the second day to ensure the safety of our volunteers and the principal, who was coming to pick us up.

We had about on, e hundred thirty English-Chinese dictionaries which had been donated by the Lynck Foundation. This was just enough for us to give one each to every new student in Jingxi. After our discussion, we taught the new students how to use these dictionaries. Our partner in Chengdu, Wang Li, had purchased 40 stationary care packages and mailed them to the Jingxi County Board of Education. We handed them out to the freshmen students at two schools, and the sad younger sister of the student in Napo.

We are very grateful towards the American Lynck Foundation, to a donor who wished to remain anonymous, to our partners in Chengdu, to teacher Yang from Beijing, and to our volunteer from the Beihai College of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sun Xiaoyu, for participating in our trip to Jingxi.

The “Tomorrow program” is about to enter its sixth year. A freshman middle school student who was often beaten by their alcoholic father wrote on their application to the program this year, “Daily life is cruel, but I am happy when I am learning.” Another student in Wen County said, “You have no idea how much motivation and hope your program gives us.” With the help of all our partners, we will continue to bring these learning opportunities to the children, to give them motivation and hope, to send along your love to them.

I wish you all peace and health!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, May 9, 2013

Hello my dear friends!

The weather early this spring was temperamental, oscillating between hot and cold. For our education grant program this year, we decided to begin in Guangxi, where the weather was warmer. I would like to thank all the volunteers who travelled thousands of miles to deliver warmth, encouragement, and support to the children of the program!

1. Napo and Jingxi County in Guangxi

This semester, a few students in the “Tomorrow Program”in Napo and Jingxi schools dropped out of school. The drop-out rate was even higher for the rest of the students at the schools. At the beginning of each semester, many teachers visit these students, to try to bring them back to school. But the majority of these students had followed their relatives, or neighbours to look for , work in another province. There are two main reasons for dropping out of school – the economic situation of the family and falling behind in school. At e, ach school that we visit, we earnestly tell the students that both problems have solutions, that they need to stay in school, and that they must not give up.

The principals and teachers at the schools are all very dedicated and responsible. They are understanding of and very concerned about, , the stu, dent, s. W, e re,, sp,, ect th, e, , v, iews of , e, ach sc, hool. In some schools, we deposited the scholarship money entirely into the students’ meal cards. In some schools, we paid out part of the scholarship in cash, and deposited the rest into the students’ meal cards. We made sure that each child received 400 yuan every semester (500 yuan for high school students).


We delivered the grants in person, and asked the students to sign for them

Although every se, mester we visit some of the students at home, the number o, f orphans, single parent families, abandoned children, and broken families continues to surprise me. Some of th, e students live in incredible poverty, such as in the cases below:

- One of the student has a father with severe mental illness, who wandered around in a disheveled state. His hands were tied to prevent him from hurting himself. The mother had run away to work as a migrant worker and to escape violence from the father. The child, who was only in junior high, was alone responsible for supporting the family. He privately told me that faced with his exams, he did not know what to do or where to go. I talked with him for a long time, and gave detailed responses to his questions. I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes. At the end of our talk, it was already dark on campus. He gave me a hug and disappeared into the night. How much suffering can a child tolerate? My heart was torn.

- The father of a student in Napo county passed away 7 years ago. The mother was working in another province. In the run down tile-roofed house, the elderly grandparents told , us a, bout the family’s situation without the slightest complaint of fate. I told them to believe in us, that the “Tomorrow Program” will continue to support their grandson who was in junior high until he graduated from high school. The grandma clasped my hands with her rough and calloused hands, tears falling as she thanked us. The heart wrenching scene touched everyone who was present.

- After the mother passed away, the father contracted tuberculosis and could no longer do hard labor. The dilapidated house was uninhabitable. I worried that the house would collapse at any moment, or that I’d fall through the rotting floor boards into the empty pig pens beneath. The house no longer had walls, but rather reed mats or blankets hanging between wooden beams. Looking at the condition of the house, I did not, know what to say to the father and son. I did not need to ask about the family’s economic situation. We left with heavy hearts.

- After his father died, his mother remarried and disappeared. He felt that he had been abandoned by his mother, that he had become an or, phan. He resented his mother, but did not want to let his teachers or friends know of his pain… This happened to many of the children.

,

Jingxi and Napo are part of the so-called “remote poor region filled with the young and the elderly”. Spring is a busy season for farming. In Jingxi, several students in the “Tomorrow Program” were unable to return to school to meet wi, th us because they were busy helping their grandparents plant corn at home. Most school children wear plastic sandals year round, because each pair only costs a few yuan. When they play basketball at school, they take off their sandals and play barefoot. The principal and the teachers usually live on campus, and are responsible for managing the school, for teaching, and for keeping the students safe. Even with the rising price of goods, the teachers only make 2000 yuan a month. They said with a wry smile, “That’s less than what migrant workers make."


Kids playing basketball barefoot, with their plastic sandals off to one side

The children are shy, but even more focused in class than the last semester. Some students are more willing to speak up. In Jingxi, we had four volunteers, two Masters students from Peking University and two seniors from the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. They did their best to tutor the students in the challenging subjects of math, physics, chemistry, English, history, and geography. When there was time, we’d even go over exercises from the various subjects. I am sure this was a great help to the children, in particular to those about to take the high school entrance exams.

At Longhe High in Napo County, during a questions and answers session, a child stood up and said, “Aunties and Uncles, thank you for sacrificing your own time and energy to bring us help, for caring about us …”. I was touched, but also a bit embarrassed. I told the children that true love does not consider “sacrifices”. We happily give the help that we can, and hope that they can happily accept it. There are no conditions, no burdens.

I am grateful for our Napo volunteers: Zhang Xinchun, Chen Jihong, and Tang Wei. Thanks to Xinchun and Tang Wei for putting together the “Volunteer Manual and Guide” for the “Tomorrow Program”. Thanks to Jihong for the report of “Tomorrow Program in Napo in 2013 Spring” (see Volunteer Voices), which helped everyone understand the situation in the schools of Napo County. Thanks to all of them for bringing love and lollipops to the children of Napo.

I am grateful for our Jingxi volunteers: Zhang Shouhe, Hu Wei, Wang Weichen, and Gao Jun. In Jingxi County, the schools are very far away from town. They visited the children’s home during the day, and tutored the children in the evenings. They would not get back to the hotel in town until 11 pm each day. It was not easy! Thanks to Shouhe and Hu Wei for their Jingxi Education Assistance Reports (see Volunteer Voices).


Photo of the volunteers in front of the entrance of Longhe High School in Napo County

Pictures from Guangxi visit: Napo County http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=254
                                        Jingxi County http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=253

2. Zhang Jiachuan County, Gansu

After an 8 hour trek from Xi’an, we arrived at Zhang Jiachuan. The weather was very cold. It was 2, 3 degrees below zero at night. The students wore thin uniforms. Perhaps they were used to the weather of the high plains, and were not afraid of the cold? The roads around the school were being repaired, making the surrounding cloud of dust worse than usual.

The students of the “Tomorrow Program” from First and Second High school had graduated from junior high to high school. They were juniors and seniors now. The seniors were preparing for the college entrance exams in June. Now was a very stressful time. Every student was nervous, tense, and sleep deprived. Our arrival mitigated the stress of their routine, and brought them encouragement.

We analyzed and discussed the various possibilities and outcomes depending on the success or failure of the college entrance exams, what to expect in college and after college. We talked about how to focus for this final stretch of 50 some days before the exams, how to deal with stress and fear. After our discussion, the seniors seemed to relax a bit and become more confident.


A student asked about our views on dating in high school. Our reply was that, “As long as both are working hard in school, why not?”

One of the students from the First Junior High School told us that when the school held a three day sports celebration, the school grounds were filled with litter afterwards. It was cleaned up by the environmental team of the “Tomorrow Program”. The captain of the environmental team also served as the organizer of the volunteer and outreach program at the school. He led the other students to visit orphanages and senior home, s during their, lunch breaks. I was very touched. Our love and encouragement had taken root. Our children were no longer part of the “Indifferent generation”. They were compassionate, responsible, and willing to help. I am proud of them!

A junior in the “Tomorrow Program” was representing his school in Zhang Jiachuan County’s student speech contest. He asked if we’d have time during lunch the next day to give him some suggestions. So during the lunch break, we sat down on the lawn of the school field and talked from 12:30 to 2:00. When he was in grade 4, he had dropped out of school for one year to follow his mother to Xinjiang to pick cotton. The goal was to find his father, who was working in Xinjiang. After m, any hardships, the family was finally reunited. He told us that he’ll never forget the sight of children walking to school with their backpacks, whi, le he w, orked in the cotton fields. He had burst into tears i, n those fields. But to help out his parents, he worked as hard as he could. He picked 60 kilos of cotton a day!

These unforgettable experiences made him much more mature than his peers. He had not shared his past with anyone else. But with us, he slowly started to talk about, his dreams and ambitions. The school fields became deserted. This child was opening his heart to us. We had earned his trust and respect over the last two years.


On the , school fields in Zhang Jiachuan, he told us of the hardships of the past and his dreams of the future

For the children in the “Tomorrow Program”, life is never easy. Just before we left, we wished the seniors well in the college entrance exams, gently reminding them to take care of their health in this short period of time before the exams, so that they’d be able to do their best during the exam.

Thanks to our friend in Chengdu, Lu Yijin.

Pictures from Gansu visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

3. Sichuan Qingchuan County, Beichuan County, and Jiangyou City

I am grateful that Kelun Pharmaceutical Ltd. Co. sent a car for us to visit Gansu province. They took us to visit the schools in Wen County, then to the town of Muyu in Qingchuan County the net day. Without their help, we could not have reached Wen County from Chengdu in a single day. I am thankful for their help!

Wen County of Gansu province is directly to the north of Qingchuan County. It has been classified by the government as a poverty-stricken region, and suffered great damage in the 512 earthquake. The roads in Wen County weave through the mountains. To one side of the cliff is the river Bailongjiang. The tall mountains, deep valleys, and narrow, winding roads made travel much more difficult that in Qingchuan. The houses and schools along the roads had all been rebuilt since the earthquake. Some relief tents that had been handed out after the earthquake can still be seen. Because of its remoteness and inaccessibility, Wen County typically attracts little attention from the general public.

We visited Second High in Bikao, and First High in Chengguan of Wen County. First High has more than 3400 students, 80-90% of whom were admitted from junior high schools in the remote mountainous regions. First High was well managed. According to the school’s statistics, there were more than 800 students who lived in poverty, 10% of whom lived in extreme poverty. The school very much hoped that the “Tomorrow Program” would be able to help these students, and was willing to do everything they can to help us. Thus we decided that starting from the next semester, we would start helping the students of First High who lived in extreme poverty.


The beautiful landscape of Wen County in Gansu Province

This semester at the Qingchuan schools, in addition to the education assistance grants, we also awarded the annual “Chengdu Century City” scholarships to students with outstanding academic records. There were 216 scholarship recipients in Qingchuan, and 17 in Beichuan and Jiangyou. I am very grateful for the support the Chengdu Century City company gives to the students of Sichuan.

Over the last five years, we have been assisting the poverty-stricken students of Beichuan Minzu High. The majority of the students have graduated by now. After the 512 earthquake, Beichuan attracted the attention of the national government and society at large, and much aid has poured into the region. Our mission at Beichuan Minzu High has been successfully completed. Starting from the next semester, we will no longer be coming to Beichuan. We will be using the limited resources of the “Tomorrow Program” on even poorer regions that desperately need our help.

In Qignchuan county, the road leading to Muyu was finally almost completely repaired just before the 5 year anniversary of the 512 earthquake. It only lacks the opening of the final tunnel. The road is already open to traffic, with a bypass for the currently closed tunnel. Driving on the newly repaired road, the hardships of our journey over the last four years seemed like a dream. We only added two new students in Qingchuan this semester, so we did not do home visits.

The earthquake in Ya’an made our students recall the 512 earthquake. Many of them called home to check on their families, and to tell them that they were safe. All the elementary and high school students in Qingchuan mobilized to fundraise f, or the victims of the Ya’an earthquake. All the students in the “Tomorrow Program” also donated. Some students asked us whether we would go to Ya’an in the future. The answer is no. The earthquake in Ya’an has attracted a great deal of public attention. With the experience of the reconstruction effort following the 512 earthquake, the national and local governments will surely have a good handle on how to respond in the disaster area.

Every semester, based on the different situations of each school, we talk about different things with the students. This time in Guanzhuang and Sanguo we taught the children about respect for themselves, for other people, for things and the environment. We taught them about making progress through down-to-earth efforts. At the high school, our volunteers spent most of the time teaching math, physics, and English. Hopefully these lessons will be helpful for their college entrance exams.


Our volunteer from Peiking University answering questions about learning

In Qingchuan High and Qingchuan First High, when I talked with the students of the “Tomorrow Program”, I could feel the immense academic pressure that they were under. I could not bear to see how tired they looked. It was not just a physical tiredness, they were tired in their hearts too. I think that our arrival brought them a small brief measure of relief. We have been supporting these high school students since junior high. Watching them grow up, time has passed by so quickly. Soon the seniors will graduate and be scattered over the country.

In Qingchuan we went from north to south. On the second night of our last stop in Qingchuan, at Qingchuan First High, after we had awarded the education assistance grants and scholarships, we told the seniors that they could return to the classrooms to review and prepare for the college exams. But they did not want to leave. After talking for another two hours, although we urged the children again to leave, they did not move nor say anything. The sadness of parting was thick in the air. At last, one of the students said, “Auntie Jian, we want to sing a song”. They stood up and sang “Grateful Heart”. I could not help it anymore. I was moved to tears, the first time I had cried in front of the children. The children started crying too.


Auntie Jian, I will do my best!

For this visit to Qingchuan, there was only me and one volunteer, a senior student from Peking University, Li Zhongliang. He was very talented. Not only could he answer student’s questions on their homework, he also helped review their scholarship applications so that we were able to award the scholarships the very next day. He endured the loneliness of travel, and experienced the first earthquake of his life. Without his help, I could not have successfully completed this trip to Qingchuan! Thank you Zhongliang!

Pictures from Sichuan visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

Because of the huge gap between the rich and the poor in China, the children of the cities and the poverty-stricken children of the remote mountainous regions live in completely different worlds. These children need our continued support and care. The “Tomorrow Program” needs partners to garner publicity and support. All of your donations towards education grants go directly into the hands of these children. I am grateful to Professor Zhang Haixia at Peiking University for encouraging her students to participate in the education assistance grant program this time, and for the participation of our friends from Tianjin and the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. Thank you all for your help!

I wish you all peace and joy!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, Fall 2012

With the joint efforts of all the contributors and a few volunteers, the 2012 Fall Sponsorship Program has been successfully completed on Nov 3, 2012. This seminar, we have 202 new students from three junior high schools at Napo County, Guang Xi province. As of now, the “Tomorrow Program” has sponsored a total of 1,033 needy students scattered over 18 schools in three provinces, Si Chuan, Gan Su and Guang Xi.

1. Si Chuan Province- Qingchuan County, Beichuan County and Jiangyou City: Sept 16 2012 to Sept 27, 2012

At Qingchuan County and Beichuan County, it is usually quiet in the fall when it is not a market day. There are only few pederistians and autos on the road. After dark, you may only hear sounds from insects and occasionally from trucks passing by.

Muyu Middle School and Guanzhuang Middle School had a few more new first and second year needy students qualifying for the “Tomorrow Program”. We interviewed face-to-face with each newly enrolled students to understand their family situations in order to verify the eligibility of their qualifications. The third year students previously sponsored have admitted to either Qingchuan Senior High School or Qingchuan First Senior High School. Without seeing the students for six months, some boys have really grown up a lot that I was hardly able to recognize them. We also sponsored two new orphans and one student in special need from Qingchuan First Senior High School.

Last seminar, we did not have time to give out the “Tomorrow Program” ChengDu Conference Centre Bursary to those students who achieved good marks at three schools, Muyu Middle School, Qingchuan Senior High School and Qingchuan First Senior High School. We gave out the awards at this seminar. From now on, we will review and assess the grades overnight and immediately give out the Achievement Award and Speciality Award the next day in order to achieve better encouragement effect.

After the last seminar had finished, we received so many letters from the students. Their letters not only expressed their gratitude towards the “uncles and aunts from Tomorrow Program”, most also talked about personal “secrets” and problems. We were unable to reply to all letters. However, during our conversations with the children at their “Evening Self-study Class” (The only time we can use to communicate with the students), we brought out questions and worries they asked about pertinently to corresponding schools. We gave suggestions and discussions without giving out names. We believe that this could give some help to all students.

The questions they asked were: One felt sad when he saw his parents working too hard to support the family and wanted to quit school to help parents. One was unable to do well in school even though he had worked very hard. How to overcome laziness? How to study well in English? Her mother said she is her burden. Parents fight fiercely and even hit each other. He was so afraid and wondered if his parents would stop fighting if he was not there. Some felt self-contempt without mother or without father. Some felt stress from homework. What should they do when they felt upset?

Most of their parents are poor farmers or workers with only elementary education background. It is not easy for the children to grow up with stress not only just from family but also from school. They have too many things in mind, have worries, fears, grievance and perplex but are unable to talk to their parents, teaches or fellow classmates. Some children would tell me in person but more would say it in their letters. Other than assist them in sponsorship each seminar, helping them to overcome problems, care for them, give them encouragement and help them build up self-respect have always been our most important mission. In the past four years, we have gained complete supports from the schools, and schools have been actively helping the children to feel proud of themselves to be part of the “Tomorrow Program”.

Children from Muyu Middle School

Special thanks to Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd. to give us a ride to the Qingchuan, Muyu County and special thank you to Miss Ou Hai Li, volunteer from ColasoftCo.,Ltd. for bringing cards hand-written by all their colleagues. Each card represents love, care and encouragement.

2. Gansu Zhangjiachuan (ZJC) : Oct 8 to Oct 13, 2012

After meeting with the volunteers from Tianjing at Xian, we passed by Tianshui and arrived at ZJC at 4pm the next day. The 145 sponsored students from first and second year high school were all now in second and third year high school. From the conversation at the two “Evening Self-study Classes”, we found that these children have changed. They were very dif, ferent from last seminar. Their eyes sparked with trust and expectation. They actively participated and engaged in discussion. They became more serious, attentive, mature and confidence. Even though they still had many questions to overcome, they seemed to be more at ease and were able to find ways to solve their problems after assisted by encouragement and discussion.

There was no change of the sponsorship to the first and second year high school students except that one or two students with better financial situation and a female student who quit school to get married were taken off from the program. ZJC has the culture to favour male to female. Poor families married away daughters early to reduce family burdens and to receive the wedding gifts to subsidize family spending. This is helplessly sad.

Same as last seminar, we visited the country to find out about the family situations. We also visited students who rent their place close by school and found out that their meal was same every day, either potatoes or noodles and nothing else. No vegetable and no meat. About 10% of the sponsored students have anemia problem. With special thank you to Ms. Chen Wan Shu of United States for arranging deliveries of hemo-pills to Chengdu. We distributed both love and pills to the students having anemia problems and taught them how to use them. Ms. Chang Hui Lin from Tianjing asked volunteers to bring children some chocolate. The children were really thankful for the sweet, both in the mouth and to the heart.

At the “Evening Self-study Class”, we were discussing stress from exam, burden from family, early dating… etc.

Last seminar, two second year high school students initiated to write letters and cards to students at Qingchuan. They mailed to Chengdu and asked me to bring to Qingchuan. The letters have moved both us and the students at Qingchuan. This seminar, we decided to copy the project and gave students at ZJC and Qingchuan an opportunity to show their care to students in Guang Xi province. Everyone was so excited with the project and allowed us to bring several hundreds of love and encouragement to “Tomorrow Program” students in Guang Xi. The letters from students have talked about wanting to become a volunteer to help others in the future. They have learned from this experience that they could contribute to others even though they are also receivers. They can give love and warm to others, close by and far away.

Special thanks to Chen Ji Hong, secretary of Tianjin TEDA-CSVA to travel long distance to participate and bring their love and caring from uncles and aunts of Tianjin to the children.

3. Guangxi Napo County and Jingxi County: Oct 16 to Nov 3, 2012

Napo County is located at the north of Jingxi County. Both Napo county and Jingxi County are classified by the government as poor county and border county of the country. They are border to Vietnam and Yuen Nan and are about six to seven hours drive from Nanning. Majority of the students are Zhuang Clan with few Han Clan and Yao Clan. Napo County is far-reaching and lags behind. Most land is seriously stony and people are hard to survive with little land suitable for farming. Most people have to go out of the county to find work leaving behind seniors and children. Napo County is lack of water and has to rely on the local government to build ponds to store drinking water. Every summer, children were found drown playing at ponds. According to statistics, 80% of the county’s students are needy students. However, we could only select to assist orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students from the three biggest junior high schools, Napo Ethnic Middle School, Long He Junior High School and Dingye Junior High School.

Most students are living at extreme rough tile house.

Majority of the students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are living at tile (wood) house that could hardly keep out rain and wind, as same as Jingxi. Few who is eligible to receive ten thousand subsidies and loans to remodel their imperilled tile house is often unable to afford finishing their repair project and end up only having a rough empty covered house. Many students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are orphans. The percentage to have parents died or being abandoned is even higher. Most are brought up by grandparents who have to work at land and without any financial supports. They live under the poverty line. There was a child whose father died early and mother with mental illness disappeared four years ago has to live with grandfather at a shelter by the road. Children who have grown up in as a hardship condition and are still able to admit into junior high school is really not an easy task. Only those who have personally experienced would understand how great they are.

A personnel from Na Po Education Department accompanied us to visit schools, talk to students and visit family at county said to us at the time when we were leaving:” I am too moved! After spending all these days with you has helped me understand the subsidies from the government is way too insufficient. I am very much moved by the caring and teachings you give to the children.”

Napo County is same as Jingxi County that we had to rush back to the hotel in the city every night. The only difference, is that Jingxi County is larger and the towns are farther distance away from the county. We had 385 students from five schools in Jingxi County. A group of third y, ear junior high school stude, nts , wer, e a, , dmitte, d to , Ji, ngxi First Senior High School. We cont, inued to sponsor this group of students and hence sponsored schools have increased to six schools. We will have more third year junior high school students to apply for Jingxi First Senior High School in the future, and thus will have more sponsored students from this school.

When students asked me how to learn well in English last seminar, I found out that no student had a dictionary. It was hard to find dictionaries in shops locally. With special thanks to Nynck Foundation to sponsor 800 small English-Chinese dictionaries. All students at Jing Xi and Napo are so excited that each of them now has a dictionary. We taught the children how to use the dictionary to look up vocabulary and how to study their English lessons. We believe that they will be helped a lot in their English study. Other than the 587 sponsored students , from Jingxi and Napo benefited from the dictionaries, we gave out the rest of the dictionaries to those students who applied for sponsorship but were not accepted.

Happily learning English

Every school from Jingxi had new studen, ts applying for t, he Tomorro, w Program. After face-to-face interview with applicants, we only selected those who are orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students. The rest of the applicants were rejected because even though they are also poor but they are comparatively better. For example, some have parents, or some have one single parent but father is working out of county and is the only child, or their family house had already been repaired, etc.

Many students from both Jingxi and Napo sponsored by us have never seen their mother before because “mother ran away after gave birth to me.” I asked the teachers who went interview with me the reasons why this situation is so common here. The teacher said that it might be because the bride from out of county felt that her husband was too poor and thus ran away after child was born. Those fathers are often not able to remarry and single-handedly brought up their children and look after the elders at home or they go to work and leave the children to be cared by grandparents.

During the family visit, we found that those children who are staying in school have to help working around the house when they go home on weekends. The girls have to do farm work, feed the pigs and do the cooking while the boys have to do cow herding, grass mowing and woods hewing. They leave home in the morning and will not be back until dawn. Some boys have to sleep inside the interlayers under the tile roof. Some tile house have no walls at all and use neighbour’s’ wall as own wall. Some houses are tipped and urgently needed to be repaired. During the family visit at the HH last seminar, we visited a first year high school student who lived at a highly periled house with wounded grandmother. The teacher told us that the house was totally ruined a few months ago and the grandmother had to stay with relatives and the child was forced to quit school to work in Guang Dong. This kind of situation is likely common to the schools. We felt very sad when we heard of this. I told the teacher that they should immediately tell us if similar situation happened again. Maybe the student could be saved from quitting school.

The purposes of the family visit are firstly to confirm if students are really poor and need to be assisted; and secondly to further understand the personal and family situation of each student so that we are able to help them more effectively during the night self-learning sessions.

Talking to a grandmother during a family visit and a teacher was doing translation from Zhuang dialect to Mandarin.

The ratio of students to drop out school because of poor financial family situation is higher at Na Po and Jing Xi than then Qingchuan and Gansu. Some parents also expect children to work because of the family financial hardship. Therefore, our most important mission is to help sponsored students to stay in school to finish their junior and senior high school studies. During our discussions at the “Evening Self-study Class”, we use stories to teach the children how to make determination, how to face challenges, how to study diligently, how to stay persistent, how not to give up no matter what. We believe that our teachings will somehow help to affect and encourage the children at different levels.

All the junior high schools presently get off school at three thirty on Friday so that students can get home before dark. Students who stay in school go home once a week. Some students have to walk three to four hours to get home. Many students’ houses are inaccessible to transportation and they can only walk or climb across mountains. On a rainy day, mountain roads are steep and slippery. It is very dange, rous but the children seem get used to it.

Students at e, ach school were reluctant, to leave after two days of the “Evening , Self-study, Class”. Many would hug us and asked us to come back to see them again next seminar, asked us to wear warmly for the cold weather… We were surprised that a student at the Ande High School came to give us a deep bow. She cried and said to us,” aunty, thank you for all your help. I will persistently stay at school and study diligently.” We were so moved by these children who are grateful.

With special thank you to the two volunteers, Wu Wen Juan and Li Xin Qi from the Beijing Aviation University who took ten days off to participate in the sponsorship acti, vities. We thank them for bringing love and warm to the children and for raising awareness among their friends. They made it possible for the children to have the opportunity to spend time with elder brothers and sisters from Beihai College. With special thank you to volunteer, Kuo Lei from Xi An to accompany and assist us all the way throughout the three weeks’ journey. He is the greatest in the heart of the children. Even though he is young and just newly graduated from university about two years ago, he is our most senior volunteer in this visitation. He has participated in Qingchuan, Beichuan , Gansu and this Guangxi sponsorship visit.

Some people asked: Does the Tomorrow Program operate same as other foundation to help only those needy students who do well in school? Our answer is a definite no. Our only sponsorship requirement is that “children are really in need of assistance.” We believe that every single sand who need assistance could become a pearl one day if it is given chance to be loved, guided and encouraged in the mussel. This is the spirit and belief of the “Tomorrow Program”.

The “Tomorrow Program” sponsorship program is entering into its fifth anniversary. As of today, junior and senior students benefited from our sponsorship have exceeded more than 4,000 cases. We will continuously put in effort to help more students to finish their high school. We will persistently continue to communicate with the children face-to-face at the “Evening Self-study Class” every seminar and bring the sponsored fund to the hands of each child in person.

We very much thank you for the continue support and help from the Nynck Foundation in USA, Ms. Jiang Shi Min from Tianjin, Chengdu Colasoft Co. Ltd. and all other partners. They personally do not know the children but they give the children opportunity to experience real love and caring from the world, and allow the children to learn how to value themselves and give the children hope to work persistently for their future.

Please click here for more pictures from this fall sponsorship activities.

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Spring Semester Report - May 8th, 2012

The spring sponsorship activities of the 2012 “Tomorrow Program” has completed successfully. Special thanks to the contributions of the Lynck Foundation, our scholarship program in the Baise city in Guangxi can be continued this spring. The program was suspended for 6 months because of funding shortage. The Baise city’s poverty areas are very comprehensive; the poverty levels of these students’ families are beyond our imagination. So far our “Tomorrow Program” is the only organization to help these students.

The followings are my summary reports of the home visits during the 2 months stay in Sichuan, Gansu & Guangxi:

1. Sichuan Province: Chingchuan County (Mar 18th – 27th), Beichuan County (Mar 29th – 31st)

It was the yellow vegetable flowers seasons again, on Mar 18th, Tricia Lin was accompany by two volunteer students to Chingchuan. One is a 3rd senior high student - Jixiang from Taiwan, the other is a student who received our scholarship in the Sanguo Middle school in order to go to the university - He Chengxiong. This trip was very meaningful for the two volunteers. The students in Chingchuan are spread in Muyu Middle School, Chingchuan Senior High School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo High School & Chingchuan Senior High School. The students in the two senior high schools are from our original junior high students. This time we have sponsored additional 6 orphans & one student from a very difficult family.

Our main concern in regular home visit in each semester is to continue to provide the love and care to our students and to communicate with their family. This is what the students are looking forward to & it is an important support for them. Other issue is to verify the student’s list & their family situation. Each semester there are some changes in the students’ situation, the teacher’s report on the students’ movements was usually not very accurate. For example this semester, a student Wang Mingsing in Muyu Middle School had to work in order to support his disable parents & relatives, he cannot go to school; Jia Guangju in Guanzhuang Middle School dropped out of school because she has to take care of her adopted father who had a stroke; some students in Guanzhuang had change school; teacher in Sanguo Middle school recommend to cancel the funding for a student Bai Shihui because she is always late to attend classes. But after our home visit, we understand her difficulties. It was because the family who adopted her cannot afford to provide her with the fee for the meals in school; she had to run far between her home & school to have her meal two times daily. Besides she has to take care of her adopted aunt’s baby & do the house work. Therefor she is always late for classes. We had talked to the school & her family, indicated that we will provide funding for her to broad & have meals in the school. The drop-out rate is always high in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School. There were 4 students dropped out this semester. A group of students decided to go to a Technical High School for professional training in advance.

All of our students seemed to have matured a bid; although some are still shy, but their smiles & trust in us is the best gift and encouragement to us. Discussion between the Taiwanese volunteer Jixiang and Chingchuan Senior High School students about one should have dreams & strive hard for it, causing great resonance of these peers; “Tomorrow Program’s” university volunteer He Chengxiong talked about his growing up experience provided the younger students hope for the future. United States volunteer Michelle talked to the Beichuan’s children with love and care.

She brought regards from the students in the United States. This had built a communication bridge between the students in the United States & Beichuan. A new student Chenqin (an orphan) in Qingchuan Middle School wrote a letter to Aunt Jane said: Although I am a new student...... But I’m really touched; your love & care supported me. I promise I will work hard, be a useful person. I always thought that losing my parents meant losing everything, but with you by my side, I will not be alone, I will be strong, please believe me! ........ It is very rewarding to us that we could provide them with the spiritual comfort.

Beside the distributions of our usual grants, we implemented the special donation received from the Chengdu Century City Exhibition Center for the Sichuan scholarship program this term. Students from Qingchuan, Beichuan and Jiang You had submitted their application & the grants had been provided to Guanzhuang high school, Sanguo Middle Schools, Beichuan High School and Jiang You Senior High School total of 121 students. Due to the time constraint, we are unable to grand the funds to Muyu High School, Qingchuan Middle School and Qingchuan Senior High School. It will have to wait until the next term. The scholarship awards are given out once a year. The awards are given to students who had outstanding achievement according to their ranking at the end of the semester; the evaluation criteria is based on the students’ daily class management skills, special talent and competition in school activities. Chengdu Exhibition Centre representative Ms. Xia and our partner Mr. Mark from Beijing made a special trip to Guanzhuang Middle Schools and Sanguo Middle School to present these awards to the students in person. Special thanks to them!

Tianjin Teda volunteers Association / Charity Association provided some heartfelt postcard to the student so that the student will use them to write letters to communicate, let love pass on; another partner who is a group of people name themselves “Canadian friends” not only assist to translate our text on our website into English, also try very hard to raise funds to assist the students in Qingchuan. Therefor this semester all of the Qingchuan Senior high school’s students will receive an extra RMB100.00 grant, i.e. each of them will have RMB500.00 grant. Partners in Suzhou has sent us a box of pens to give to all students of Qingchuan, United States volunteers also brought pens all the way from their country for the students in Beichuan, thank you very much

For more information and photos, please click here.

2. Gansu Province: Zhangjiachuan County (April 7th – 12th)

The best high school in Zhangjiachuan is the county’s senior high school, students are from various townships, and last year about 58% Students admitted to universities, if the college’s students are included, 80% of students have post-secondary education. We went to the school before the self-study session at night and saw many students studying sitting on the school lawn very quietly. Volunteer from Tianjin, Zhang Xinchun was moved by the students’ spontaneous hard work; the poor students’ only way out of this remote mountain area is to put their best effort in their studies. Grants were given out in the evening. When Zhang Xinchun shook hands with the students, the rough hands of the students had given him a very deep impression. The reason for the students having rough hands is they have to work in the farm too. Tsing Hua University’s graduated volunteer from Xi An, Guolei is not much older than the high school students, he used his own personal experience to help the students how to ease the pressure in their studies, to improve the efficiency of learning methods became the best example to encourage the students.

We used the two night self-study session to talks to the students & visit students’ home during the day time. In general, the natural environment of Zhangjiachuan is very poor, the road conditions were even worse; most students are living in clay houses, only one build-in bed and few furniture. Foods like potatoes & grains were stuffed inside the house, almost every house has walls and yard, toilets are “dry toilet ", there is no water. Also due to lack of water, bathing in Zhangjiachuan is really rare. The majority of students are far from the County, could not be home each week. In order to save money on their meals, nearly half of the students rent room near the school. An annual rent is around RMB1, 000; students can make their own meals. One and a half pounds of shredded noodles for RMB2.00 can last up to 2 or 3 meals. Potatoes and steamed bread brought from home is free. Three simple meals in school will cost more than RMB10.00 a day. We visited a couple of, students at their modest rental home; watch them cook lunch by themselves. Just potatoes accompanied by steamed bread last them two meals. Time saved by cooking themselves will give them more time to study. Meat is rare here; the only time students can have meat is when they return home.

Zhangjiachuan 2nd Senior High School is located in the town named Long Shan; it is about 40 Ki, lometers from the county. The students in this school is not as positive as the 1st Senior High School, its dropout rate is quite high. We spent a night & talked to the students seriously. Told them they have to adjust their mental state; work really hard on their studies, make the best effort themselves, and then they will have a bright future. I received two letters from students today saying:" After listening to you for one night, it is better than studying for ten years. I have a strong astonishment ...” , “After the night of your visit, I have a lot of feelings ......” 。 The two students also launched a class action, each student in the class had written a small homemade heart-shaped card to send to students in the “Tomorrow program" in Sichuan. Reading these little cards one by one and their letters, we were really touched. We will let them know about the situation in Guang Xi in the next semester, there will be more of those warm small cards send to the students in Guangxi.

Although the town of Longshan is lively, but accommodation is poor, it was very sunny & warm when we were visiting the students’ home during the day, but when we returned to the county after our visits in the evening, it snowed quite heavily. We had experience the four seasons in one day. We saw the students in the County’s school only wearing flimsy school uniforms returning to their rental units in the heavy snow after their night’s self-study session, we were heart-broken that we are unable to help them more.

The two schools in Zhangjiachuan are senior high schools, the burden of th,, , , , , , e cost of livi, , ng & , tui, , , tions are higher than , the junior high schoo, ls, so we adjusted the financial support for each student to RMB500.00 per semester, i.e. RMB1, 00.00 per an academic year.

Thanks to the Tianjin’s volunteer Zhang Xinchun and Xian’s volunteer Guolei for their active participations in this trip, it was very beneficial for the 150 students in Zhangjiachuan & we no longer think this trip is too difficult.

For more information and photos, please click here.

3. Guangxi Province: Jingxi County (April 15th – 27th)

Under the support and contributions of the Lynck Foundation, the “Tomorrow-Lynck Program” in Baise City of the County Jingxi in Guangxi can be implemented smoothly. This program supported , a total of 327, junior students in the Jingxi County covers the township of Longlin, Kuixu, Ande, Guole, and Nanpo. Because these are the poverty areas in the national level, the government starts to supplement RMB3.00 to each elementary and junior high school students for their daily breakfast: milk, bread, porridge, eggs, and rice noodles etc. The schools work very hard on the breakfast arrangement & students l, ove an, d sati, sfied with the, daily breakfast. The incidents of students passing out not eating breakfast in order to save some money will not happened any more. The govern, men, t also s, u, bs, i, dized th, e st, ud, ents’ boardi, ng , fees, bu, t students still don’t have enough money for lunch and di, nner in school. Poverty in these five towns is broad, levels of poverty even more serious.

The five junior high schools were poorly equipped, the shelters in some schools is 18 students per room., several hundred students share only 3 simple equipped bath rooms without hot water, the school canteen has no or n, ot enough tables and chairs. Students has to stand or squat to have their meals in the school campus or go back to their shelt, er rooms to eat; students live in the shelter building, , teacher live in the old tile roof house or live with the students; the table tennis table is made with cement and h, ollow bricks and no dividing net, or the 2 sides was separated by some heavy bricks. The old of basketball stand and the table tennis are the students’ favourite game after school. All of our students live on campus, and go home during the weekend; many students’ walk 2 to 4 hours in order to get home. When they are home they have to help doing the housework: cooking, laundry, gardening, farm work, look after cattle, carry water in buckets…. they have to do every thing. Water shortage and land turning into stone desert in these areas is very serious. Farmers struggle with the sky and land to cultivate, they plant corns in between the stone cracks only make enough to support themselves, not making any income from agriculture, most of the parents had to go out to work to earn a living to support their family.

The traditional Zhuang ethnic houses known a, s tile, d houses, is built with woods, the outside wall is pasted with mud and the roof covered with tiles. The ground level uses as a barn for animals. Second level is for living & food storage. Most of the houses are in poor conditions; leaks air & water, outside walls are broken & not repaired because of lack of money & water. In recent years the Government is implementing the subsidies for the reconstruction of these houses into brick house, the ugly brick houses take away the harmony between human and Nature, now only the poor people still lives the tile houses.

We have seen numerous poor students’ families of the “Tomorrow Program”, but this time in the home visits of the various township of Jingxi; our feelings are particularly sad. In those tile houses, we saw:

-- A junior high boy (an orphan) living with his grandparents; the grandfather, has mental illness; the grandmother’s left eye is blind. They are extremely poor; their home is so empty with nothing but 4 walls. But even the walls are broken without any mud pasted on but only some small woods left.

-- An orphanage sisters are living with thei, r grandma, the elder sister is our junior high student, and their grandmother cannot afford to buy the school supplies for the younger sister in the 3rd grade.

-- One of the student’s parents is disabled but still work in the wheat field. The old grandpa is the main man power of their home.

-- One of the student’s parents go out to work, they have no other elderlies at home, the student is like an orphan, could not see his parents all year long, but he manage to maintain their home very tidy & clean.

-- Living in a dangerous tile house which does not look like a house anymore, the 92 years old grandma fell down the stairs & was injured a few days ago, had been lying on the, ground because they had no money for her treatment. The student’s mother left the family after gave birth to her. Her father was sent to prison due to criminal charged six months ago. The house hold burden is laid on this student’s shoulder, but she still maintained with a smile. (Donations from 4 volunteers were handed over to the principal of her , school and the official of the village to arrange a doctor to help her grandma.)

-- A student’s father pass away at an early age, her mother had remarried; her grandma is the only living with her, but passed away one month ago.....

Too many extreme difficult and sad cases, make one feel heart broken. While talking to the students on late self-study session, in addition to comfort & encourage them, we also stressed the fact that they do not give up school because of their difficulties they must not give up. An Ande High School student said:" if one treats life’s difficulties as a challenge, you will bond to have the joy of success in the future." Wish the lord will acknowledge his effort.

We stayed in each school for two days; during the day time, we did the individual student interviews & visit the students’ homes; at the night time we had the group discussion with students. These villages do not have a place for us to stay, we must travel back to the county every night; the road conditions are very poor; it takes us around three hours for the round trip. We found out that all students do not have a dictionary, when a student asked us on how to learn English well. There is no bookstore in the village, one must go to the county to buy it; even for a pair of glasses; they need to go to the county. To send mails, they need to ask someone to help by going to the county. ...... The Guole and Nanpo townships do not even have a simple restaurant. Teachers had to cook lunches for us in the school’s cafeteria. We did not stay for dinner because we did not want to bother the teachers too much.

Each school now had a better knowledge about our “Tomorrow Program”. Although the level of poverty is very broad, but with the limited funding, we selected students in need of help very diligently. We had to cancel a number of better families by comparison. During the two night’s meetings in the school; besides giving out grants, we also provided great comfort and encouragement to the students. The Vice Principal of the Southern Slope High School said: “Your spiritual and material support to the students is equivalent to supporting the schools.” Thanks to the Board of Education of the Baise City and Jingxi County full support and valued the "Tomorrow Program", thanks to the volunteer Cindy Tsang and Linda Lin from Canada, as well as the Xu Huizhong from the United States, they made this special trip by traveling in poor road conditions to visit students in these poverty areas and provided kindness & care for them; thank you very much. Responding to the students facing many difficulties, Xian’s volunteer Guolei wrote in his blog on Twitter said: “I really admire these children and felt that they had helped us to improve spiritually.” I agree with his view point, their difficult situations lit up our heart to love, lead us to cherish everything around us. But not every child can face their difficulties with a smile; they are more familiar with their feelings of lost & tears. They need our continuous care & support.

A Qingchuan students handed me a homemade card, the red colored card had two hearts on it, one heart said: "HAPPY” and the other Heart said: “Thank you for your care and love, I have a feeling that our future will be bright.” He not only wrote the principles of the "Tomorrow Program" which are to help the children to grow happily and to light up their confidence & hope for the future; he also thanks all the partners involved.

The scholarship fund have been granted & completed this term. Thank you for your support and help, thank you for bringing the lights of tomorrow for these children.

For more information and photos, please click here.

Best regards,

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program CEO

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Report on Education-Assistance of autumn 2011 - October 27, 2011

The Autumn 2011 Education-Assistance Project of Tomorrow Program has came to a complete conclusion. This year we have added new assistance projects and regions. The following is a detailed report of this program.

I - Employment Assistance Project

In Spring 2011 the Compal Group of Taiwan and Tomorrow Program reached preliminary agreement to jointly provide employment assistance to the high school graduates of the impoverished areas. The focus is on those who have been admitted to universities and colleges but have to give up because they cannot afford the expensive tuition fees; for those who are good in conduct but have not been admitted to the university, Compal Group will provide training opportunity and a certain number of job positions.

On 30th August 2011, Mr. Zhao, Human Resources Manager of the Compal Group accompanied by Ms. Tricia Lin, Executive Director of Tomorrow Program, visited the Yanyuan Ethnic Middle School of the Yanyuan County of Liangshan District of Sichuan Province. The first batch of student applicants who were recommended by the teachers and the sch, ool, having passed the interview, have already started their training program at the Kunshan Factory of the Compal Group.

Thanks to the Compal Group for providing employment opportunities and living assistance to the children of the , impoverished mountain areas, and made exceptions to provide them with transportation from Yanyuan to Shanghai, allowing them to leave the Da L, iang Shan, and move toward the hopeful future. We hope that next , year, our cooperation with the school will be more proficient and smooth.

II - Sichuan Education-Assistance Project – Qingchuan, Beichuan

1. Autumn Education-Assistance

The beginning of the school term every Autumn is the busiest time for us. A group of junior-high school graduates in Qingchuan County were not able to get into high school. We have to follow up, check and update the data and continue with our assistance. Another group of new students joined Tomorrow Program, and the list was updated after our interview, home visits, and checking. This time, 117 new students were added to the list, of which 36 were from Sanguo Middle School, 52 from Guanzhuang High School, and 19 from Beichuan National High School.

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High school students were mainly from the Qingchuan High School of Qiaozhuang town of Qingchuan County and Qingchuan No.1 High School of Zhuyuan town. The rest were scattered among Guangyuan, Jiangyou and Chengdu. Most of the students from Beichuan National High School were admitted to the new Beichuan High School. Since the new Beichuan High School have very good condit, ions and can apply for school subsidy and government subsidy, we decided to discontinue with our subsidies to them, and leave the quota to students who are more in need of assistance.

The new students added in this school term, apart from being from a poor family, also have various difficult situations: father or mother had died or divorced, disabled, sick, working out of town; 3 students’ mother have serious neurosis, the student lived with other family, was adopted, having disability, and there were many students who stayed home alone; one student’s home was destroyed by fire and lost all belongings, the other student’s home which had just been rebuilt after earthquake was washed away by the flood that happened to Qingchuan……… In his “my autobiography” a first year junior-high student wrote: “My family has 2 persons, me and my father. My father earns money out of town to maintain my schooling expenses. He does not come home too often. In the process of my growing up, some schoolmates said that I am a child without mother. I always treated them with my fist. I always feel that I do not have maternal love, my soul is not complete.”

With the price of everything soaring, the meal cost of the school canteen is also on the rise. Most of the male students did not eat enough. Although the schools are reconstructed new buildings with bath rooms, hot water is not available for student’s bath. Basically, junior-high students return home once a week, the high school students usually return home once a month or even longer due to high transportation costs and high stress from school works; yet some students did not have a bath room at home to use.

The difficulty and misfortune in live have caused tremendous psychological shadow to the children. Facing the misfortune and tears they have, apart from teaching them how to face difficulties and manage their emotion, giving them spiritual comfort and encouragement is most important. Therefore, except Qingchuan High School which was having examination, we have arranged two evenings self-study time in other schools for us to talk with the students.

After continuous psychological counseling and care, the progress made by the children were remarkable; they became more self-confident, more focused and happier every school term. Their progress brought us great comfort. Last school term auntie Tricia taught them not to be shy and to ask questions in class, beware of and correct from one’s shortcoming………. , this time, some children told us: they begin to like more who they are now, they have made big progress in their school works. A few of the students privately asked auntie Jiang if they can be the volunteer of Tomorrow Program in future. This has touched us very much. The principal of Guanzhuang Middle School said having seen us is just like having seen the life-saving straw, and he said: “firstly, you subsidized the poor students, secondly, your guidance to the students also helped the school.”

This year, we have 15 high school graduates, 9 of them were admitted to university, colleges (Yunnan University, Chengdu Chinese Medicine University, Xihua Teachers University etc.), 2 repeated the high school last year class, 4 could not be contacted. We have 94 third year junior-high students in Qingchuan, 86 of them were admitted to high school, which is 91.5%. In Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, we have 39 junior-high graduates, and 24 of them were admitted to high school, which is 61.5%. Up until now, total of 18 of our subsidized students have become university [college] students.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s Youth Activities Centre has completed at last. Although it is far from well equipped as we anticipated, yet we are thankful to Mr. Hanqing of TCL China and Professor Alice Zhang of Beijing University for their donation of two 65” multi-media TV, which were placed on both sides of the stage of the hall.

Our thanks to Mr. Liu Zejun of Kelun Pharmaceutical for the arrangement of transportation for Madam Tricia Lin and the volunteers of Beijing to Muyu town of Qingchuan county on 18th September, and to Mr. Wang Li of Guantao Law Firm for the transport, ation arrangement made for us to Leigu town of Beichuan on 27th September. Our appreciation to the hard works and contributions of all the volunteers: Tricia Lin, Zhou Xian, Liu Yang to Qingchuan; Tricia Lin, Wang Jiahong, Rachel Lu to Beichuan.

2. Revisit to Guanzhuang

On 13th October, Tricia Lin together with Tomorrow Program committee member Mr. Ma Ke, a friend of Mr. Ma Ke from Beijing and the volunteers returned to Guanzhuang Middle School to meet with the 95 students of our program. At the same time, we tried to understand the needs of the school: such as school uniforms, chairs for the assembly hall, blinds for the classrooms, office computers, solar water heaters, multimedia equipments… etc. etc. After asking assistance from various sources by Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing, we will provide Guanzhuang Middle School with 10 solar water, heater. The students of the school will now be able to have hot water bath! In addition, in accordance with the purpose of expenditure designated by the fund donors, we will, starting from the next school term, provide different types of scholarship to students of Tomorrow Program, including: Outstanding Results Scholarship, Progress in Study Scholarship and Special Scholarship (special talent and skill, capability in class affairs management, participation and performance in school and daily activities).

We thank Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing for having brought 5,000 sets of tooth brush and towel to the five schools in Qingchuan under Tomorrow Program: 1 set for each student of Muyu, Guanzhuang and Sanguo junior-high school; 1,500 sets for Qingchuan High School, 1,200 set for Qingchuan No. 1 High School, 200 set for Guanzhuang Welfare Home (orphans and widowed senior citizen).

III - Gansu Education-Assistance Project – Zhangjiachuan

The Guangxi Province Jingxi County education-assistance project was originally scheduled to start this school term but due to certain essential conditions not met with, its execution was temporized. A teacher Mr. Wang who had long been serving education-assistance of the western region gave us urgent notice that the poor students of Zhangjiachuan urgently need assistance. As such, we started the trip of education-assistance for the Zhangjiachuan County of Tianshui City, Gansu Province .

Zhangjiachuan is the national level poverty stricken county, located at the loess steep slope between Lanzhou and Xi’an. Its state of impoverishment is serious. The local transportation is inconvenient, rail and highway transportation have to be transferred from Tianshui city. In order to save time and avoid taking 16 – 17 hours of train to Tianshui, we first flown to Xi’an on 15th October, then took the bus in the morning of 16th to Tianshui, and again changed car to arrive at Zhangjiachuan, which took the whole day.

The Zhangjiachuan climate was dry, the residents were mostly of the Hui tribe. During the 12/May earthquake, some of the adobe houses were seriously damaged. With the 10,000 RMB aid from the national government, most families used bricks to build the outside wall, the home of some students were still abode house, the whole family slept on the, abode bed with a fire underneath for heating. Zhangjiachuan First High School was located at the county. The 79 students of tomorrow Program all came from various town and country of the county, too wide an area for home visits. We could only do home visits to those closer to the county. The fact is the further away from the county, the worse the impoverishment.

About half of our students do not live at the school, they rent a house close to the school together with their siblings or classmates. The rent is between 800-1200 RMB each year, the reason being: save on living expenses. Living at the school, besides paying the resident fee, has to eat at the school canteen, usually 2 rmb for breakfast, 4-5 rmb each for lunch and dinner, total 12 rmb per day, cheaper than Qingchuan, but the student’s family still cannot afford the monthly victual fee of 300-400 rmb. Therefore, they rent a house outside, go home once every 2-3 weeks and brought back 50-60 catty victuals of flour, oil and pickles, and make steamed buns or noodles as their 3 meals every day. Many students said they do not have sufficient time to do home works after going to and from school every day and doing the 3 meals.

Whether living in the dorm or renting a house, our students basically do not have meat to eat; there are also students who brought back steamed buns from home and spent 2-6 RMB to eat at school but cannot fill up their stomach.

The living environment of Zhangjiachuan is not good, the students family all have many children, with 2-6 siblings, some go to school and live together at a rented room, some work to subsidize the home expenses. The parents are all peasants, but will go to work at Xinjiang, Lanzhou or locally after the harvest. Most of them are illiterate or just finished primary school.

The students and teachers were very excited by our visits and counseling, very curious, since there was not any other education assistance organization like us who spend 2 nights of self-study time every school term to talk to them and let them feel the sincere love and care. In the autobiography, one student wrote: “In this Zhangjiachuan that is surrounded by mountains, only studies can bring me out of the big mountains to the new world. There are too many mountains here, one after the other pressing on me that made me difficult to breath and unable to find the way out. Mountain after mountain isolated us from the outside world.” These students must help out the farm work when they return home: work in the fields, cooking, wash clothes, walk several kilometers to carry water home to fill up several earthen containers [no tap water] ……… Another student whose parents work out of town has to go home every week to take care of the old grand parents wrote in his autobiography: “Many a time, I longed for my father and mother, yet I could only look at the mountains in front of my home, stood there for a long time and stared at the distant place. Sometimes, I wanted very much to give up myself [my studies] to help out the family.” This is the common voice of the heart of the students. The arrival of Tomorrow Program let them see the hope as well as driven their determination to persevere in their studies.

"I wanted to buy some books but afraid that my parents cannot afford, and let them have added burden.” “I can only watch anxiously classmates use learning tools with powerful functions.” These are the common problems of the majority of the Tomorrow Program students. Fortunately, the students of all the schools must wear school uniform, they are all equal in attire.

During the conversations held in the 2 evenings, the questions brought up by the students of Zhangjiachuan first High School included: Is it useful to study hard? When can my father end his trip working out of town for the whole family? When can my family live a good time? Can I let them have a good living? My mother has had neurosis for over 10 years, my father has to support my schooling and work hard for the whole family, sometimes when he told me how hard he worked, I did not know what to do?

The Zhangjiachuan Second High School at Longshan County, the poverty condition of the 50 students under our program is more or less the same, or even goes beyond.

Living condition in Longshan town is very bad. For safety sake, the teachers of First High School suggested that we live at the hotel in the county. Much to the thanks of the donations given by the Lynck Foundation of America, the children living in this far away loess ground received care and assistance. There are more students in Second high school that need help. Next school term, we will add more students to the program.

Ⅳ - Summary and Prospect

The Tomorrow Program will be entering the fourth year, currently there are close to 500 students in subsidy (excluding university students, high school graduates and 3rd year junior-high graduates of Beichuan Ethnic Middle School). The principle that we have persisted in the past 3 years is: do not let the students being helped to feel that they were helped or sympathized, but were being cared for, loved and counseled. We believe we have achieved this principle because there is nothing more important than the children’s dignity. It is because of this many children’s letter t, o us mentioned: “proud to be a member of the Tomorrow Program family, will definitely pass on the love in the future…………… "

In these 3 years, our greatest wish is being able to provide high school students with 1,600 RMB stipend each year. With price of things soaring, and the high school students must pay the school fees, 800 rmb stipend each year is far from sufficient, but our wish are yet to be realized until now. We always used the limited funds to help more students as there are too many who need help. It is this reason that this year we will not give stipend to university students.

Currently, we do not have the manpower and funds to hold fund raising event (because 100% of the funds raised will be used as stipend, unless the donors have other specific usage), nor do we wish to send individual reminders that may cause psychological burden to the donors. The progress made by the children and their happiness are our greatest motivation, the continuous donations from everyone is the primary factor for us to be able to persist. We and the children look forward to your help.

For more information and photos, please click here.

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Report on Spring Visit - April 6, 2011

This winter seems to be longer than usual; I (Tricia Lin) & the Beijing volunteers landed in the low temperature Muyu Village on Mar 20th. The road conditions in Qingchuan’s state were much better compared to last fall, but the road conditions from Guanzhuang to Sanguo and from the township to Muyu were still very poor & devastating, the 4 wheels drive vehicle which the Kelun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. used to drive us from Chengdu, it was originally black & shinny, by the time we reached Mu Yu, it turned into brown color & very muddy. There were a few houses being build on the streets of various villages and towns, but mostly were restored. The reconstruction crew members from Zhejiang already left; therefore the shops & restaurants were much quiet & not very many street pedestrians in the area.

We still follow the previous visit procedure of staying in each school for two nights to talk to the students, upon the request of the teacher; we interviewed students individually & visited their family. We enrolled 23 new students in the Mu Yu Middle School, 29 new students in Guan Zhuang, the 52 new students were either very poor, have single parent or an orphan. Almost all of them are first level junior high students. The teachers said the “Tomorrow program” is Qingchuan’s only charitable organization supporting the students; it not only provided the financial (material) support but also provided the mental support & warm care for the students. “Tomorrow program” became the only hope for those students.

The majority students of Mu Yu Middle School and San Guo Middle School are still shy, self cautious & very quiet, but the trust and the smiling faces shown that they were not afraid & had courage to face difficulties. Last semester, the school principal requested us to talk to the students, emphasized on the topics of responsibility, discipline, conduct & respect; we now saw the big change in the students of Guan Zhuang High School. This time we saw all students were role models, they were very energetic, polite, dedicated, concentrated in listening, out spoken, participated in group discussion enthusiastically, very bright & happy.....it was really lovely. Orphan Liu Yan shown sadness when were leaving, she hugged us with tears, Huang Lu (boy, junior high 3rd grad) waited for us in a reporting room in front of the school gate, gave us 2 gifts which his mother had spent two months to complete, they were a very beautiful cross stitching scenery embroidery and two pairs of shoe pads.

Last semester we enrolled two special children in Guan Zhuang Middle School: Wang Bin (first grad junior high, orphan, lives in the orphanage) and Jia Guangju (first grad junior high, abandoned since childhood, foster father was injured in the earth quake), When we did the first day evening roll-call, we realized Jia Guangju had to discontinue her study & gone home because she could not afford the school’s books fees and Wang Bin had to run between his orphanage & the school 3 times a day in order to get his daily meals. I and teacher arranged the “Tomorrow Program” to pay for these two children’s annual boarding and lodging, and waived their miscellaneous school expenses. The next day, the teacher arranged Jia Guangju’s foster father to bring her return to school immediately. Wang Bin started to live a normal life in school as the other students. In addition, Wang Bin’s orphanage was actually a “Welfare home”, they had three orphans & 98 widowed seniors. The Guan Zhuang Middle school teacher promised me that they will arrange a program for the student to go to the Welfare home each month. The program included the student to sing & talk to the seniors, to show they care for them & will bring happiness to the seniors; this will also raise our student’s compassion and the social sense of responsibility.

The last visit in Qingchuan was Qingchuan Senior High School in the town of Zhuyuan & Qingchuan Technical High School. One of our partners, Chengdu Kelai Software Company joined our journey, they brought about 50 colleague’s hand written blessing & encouragement cards, and it warmed each student’s heart. Mr. Roy Luo told the students about his struggle in life in t, he past, the students were deeply touched & moved by his story. Everyone made inquiries to him enthusiastically, the young & low profile Roy reply e, ach one of them patiently. On, e, of, the , stu, d, ent , send a short no, te to him said: “Big brothe, r Luo, thanks to your help! This is a new starting point for me & it is very meaningful to me!”

Our high-school pupils were all very rational, they seemed mature & clever, but they were under a lot of stress, their mind was always struggling with how to handle the abundance of school work, family problems & the psychological trauma after the earth quake, some child’s father had traffic accident, some mothers had surgery, some child’s newly built house was washed away by last year flood disaster, still lives in the shed, some students thought being “not selfish” studied in the Qingchuan Technical High School so that they can save money to treat their sick father, but their father still pass away. Some parents always disagreed with each other ect........。When they briefly talked to me privately, the bright smiling face disappeared; some students did not know what to tell me, all they can do was to reach into my arm with their tears in their eyes and said: “Aunty Jane, could you stay one more day?”。At the point of departure, the children insisted to see us off at our hotel nearby the school & would not leave until we , enter the hotel. We started our group discussion in the school at 6:30 pm; by the time we returned to the hotel was 10:00 pm already.

On March 30th, we went to the Jiangyou Senior High to meet with two students and had lunch with them. Immediately we rushed to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village afterwards. The mountain road was still difficult, the reconstruction there still behind, and the entire Yu Li township was still a big constructio, n site. The you, th activ, ity center of the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School estimated to complete & ready for use on June 1st. The “Tomorrow Program” students in the Ethnic Middle School had shown great improvement similar to the students in Guan Zhuang Middle school. The drop-out rate in the Ethnic Middle School is always high, their teacher told us: Many student can continue school was due to the support by the “Tomorrow Program”, it not only provided the financial support, but also given the students encouragement, love & care. The road condition was still very poor; we could not reach many of the student’s family, even with the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the schools of Qingchuan & Beichuan, our discussion was based on problems mentioned in the letters which we received from the students. We taught them how to solve their problems for lacked of self confident, not sociable, self cautious, follow others blindly, outrage easily, pessimistic, too open, judge others without thinking clearly, could not concentrate in class, try very hard to study but no improvement, their parents always argue, some divorced, loss of their family members (hatred feelings, thought the world is unfair), afraid of their school result could not reach the standard for the senior high or university entrance, worried that their support from the “Tomorrow Program” will be cancelled, did not know how to get along with their friends, did not know how to handle puberty problems etc. When the children told us their deep secrets in their mind signified their trust in us. Our ultimate goal which we work really hard & endure to achieve is to help these children by taking care of them, listen to them patiently, and offer them with long term counseling & support.

Thanks to Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association & Colasoft Co., Ltd. Chengdu’s continue support, deeply appreciate your dedications.

Please click here to see the pictures of related activities:

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Fall Semester Report - November 2, 2010

Due to the flooding situation in Qingchuan, our trip was postponed. Thanks to the driving arrangement made by Mr. Liu Ze Jun of the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, we were able to go to the Qingchuan’s Mu Yu Village on Oct 11 & to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village on Oct 27 by car. We also like to thank all the volunteers from Tianjin and Qinghua University’s as well as Lu Yi Jun in the office of "Tomorrow Program", we considered our visits to Qingchuan & Beichuan were successful.

There were a lot of changes in the schools of Qingchuan County and its students, Sanguo Middle School is the only school which has junior & senior high levels, and the senior high section had been moved to a new Qingchuan First High School in the town of Zhuyuan. Most of our junior high graduates passed the entrance exam of the Qingchuan First High School, 3 students admitted into the Qingchuan Vocational High School, 3 students got into the Jiangyou High School and Jiangyou Middle School in Jiangyou. A majority of our Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s junior high graduates got into the New Beichuan High School.

Within the 16 high school graduate students in the "Tomorrow Program", 10 students admitted into universities & colleges such as Sichuan International Studies University, Xinjiang Tarim University and University for Science &Technology Sichuan etc. One student had to give up university because she cannot afford the huge tuition fee. Two students had to repeat the 3rd year of Senior High, and we lost contact with four students. Bai Xiu Fang’s dream of, goi, ng to university was broken, because she cannot afford the universi, ty expenses, she has to work in a restaurant & help supporting he, r family wi, th her salary of RMB600.00 per month. The situation of Wang Wan Hon who came from a very poor family is not very optimistic either. Therefore I encouraged & emphasized to the students from extremely difficult families to apply for the vocational high schools not the regular high schools.

Starting from this semester, we had subsidized each high school students RMB800.00 per year, i.e. RMB400.00 per semester. For the university students, we had subsidized RMB1, 000.00 per year and the scholarships for this semester had been distributed already.

T, he Qingchuan road condition was very poor due to the flooding disaster in August. Some students’ families were affected. Besides visiting the Mu Yu Middle School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo Middle school and Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan First High School, we also stayed in each school for two nights to talk to the students. We found 5 senior high & transferred students from the Qiaozhuang’s Qingchuan Middle School and the Qiao Zhuang Junior High School, also found 3 students from the Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan Vocational High School; they were all very surprised, excited & emotional to see us.

All the teachers assisted in the "Tomorrow Program" pleaded us to enroll more students into our program. Due to the limited time we had, we interviewed some new applicants and also did some home visits in order to verify the qualification of these applicants. We then decided to accept three orphans (two from Guanzhuang, one from Beichuan and 3 children who have serious physical disabilities as our new students, the remaining applicants, will have to wait until our next trip. Because of the limited funds in our program & there are a lot of children required our support, I must select our new students very carefully & discretely. I hope that every one will help in raising more donations and let the “Tomorrow Program” continue to support more children.

Although majority of our students are still shy & not sociable, but comparing to the last semester, they are doing better; they are more lively, open and mature. The Mu Yu Middle School’s students sang to us "A Thankful heart" loudly together; Guanzhuang’s orphan Liu Yan, , Liu Xin Yang hugged & talked to me initiatively, they are no longer self cautious (autistic) comparing to two year ago. After my speech of the topics "Responsibilities" and "The courage to take , ew Qingchuan First High School (originally from the Guanzhuang Mi, ddle School and the Sanguo Middle schools), Yang Biao, Li Yang, Xu Hong Mei (an ophan), stood up immediately to take on the responsibilities as our environmental protection’s team leader and vice team leader, they took an oath to ensure the green environment status in the school, and also promise to let the spirits of the "Tomorrow Program" continue in the future. Bai Xing Li also stood up and said to everyone: "I would be the first one to take on the responsibility if I do not have the heavy load of school work in my 3rd senior high year". For the past two years, the growth & change in our students touched me very deeply.

The principal of the Guanzhuang Middle School & I had a very lengthy conversation. He indicated that he & his teachers are very worried about most of the students in the 9th grade for their bad habits and behavior & psychological problems, giving the teachers headaches & challenges. They do not know how to guide the students sometimes. After the earthquake, these students were assigned and transferred to different locations in the big cities in China for almost half a year. These students suffered psychological turmoil and their behavior have changed as a result. They do not seem to be able to concentrate in class. Principal Yang said that the “Tomorrow Program” shows a great deal of love toward students, which is rare from other charity organizations in the disaster area, the thorough, careful, and continuous patience in caring for the students from the Program has won trust from all teachers at school! Therefore, they hoped that we can continue our teaching to the students in the "Tomorrow Program", enable them to become the role models for other students, and lead them to achieve the highest standards set forth by the educational goal of school.

The situation in the Guanzhuang Middle School also happened in the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School in the village of Yuli, Beichuan County. Therefore we talked to students in Beichuan about "conduct, discipline, respect and appreciate everything etc…" Hoped this will help. In consideration of the safety water level of the Tang Jia Shan quake-lake, reconstructions & rebuilding of the Yuli village is very slow after the disaster. The only lifeline mountain road connecting the Yuli village & Leigu town in the rainy days is very dangerous & difficult to drive thru. When we were going back to the Leigu Town , we could not even go uphill in the muddy & slippery road, we had to relied on a large excavator to pull our car up, it was a very dangerous experience. The normal driving time for the approximately 30 kilometers mountain journey is about 2 hours, it took us nearly 5 hours to reach town, the Jiang Yu Senior high school’s students waited from noon until 4 p.m. to meet us.

This semester, the students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School had moved to the new campus, but due to the heavy rain & mudslide, the construction of youth center in the new campus is behind schedule. The two 65" large-screen televisions donated by TCL’s Mr. Han Qing and Beijing University Professor Zhang Hai Xia will be installed once the youth center is completed.

Lately, the television news reported on the Sichuan disaster area’s "Three years reconstruction, two years completion" program shown some beautiful images of the rebuilt villages and towns, but it is a pity those villages that our schools located were not the first priority to be rebuild for the new sightseeing locations, the streets in our school villages are still under construction, dust & mud were everywhere on the streets. Rebuilding of schools was completed, but some of our student’s families still live in the temporary prefabricated houses.

The New China Net dated September 26, 2010 reported that the low income family high-school students are being included in the Chinese Government’s national subsidizing system. Each student will be provided an average of RMB1, 500.00 per year. We have a total of 74 senior high students, more than 200 junior high students. Within the 74 students, only 3 from the Qingchuan Vocational High students received the government’s RMB1, 5000.00 subsidies. The remaining 71 students did not get any subsidy at all. All junior & senior high students lodge in school, the cost for the meals in the school cafeteria is RMB6.00 for the meat dish, RMB4.00 for the vegetarian dish & RMB3.00 for the breakfast, the daily meals cost a total of about RMB13.00 to RMB15.00 (for the male students it could not fill their stomach sometimes), that means the basic living expenses is about RMB400.00 to RMB500.00 per month. The senior high students had to pay for the RMB2, 000.00 tuition fees annually. The cost to take a bath in school is RMB3.00, in consideration of the student’s dignity; I did not ask them how often they take bath in school. Qingchuan high-school students go home once a month to get their living expenses from parents, but the transportation fee cost them RMB25.00 one-way to go home.

Our Guanzhuang student, Wang Bin (junior high school, orphan, lives in an orphanage), MuYu student, Wang Ming Shing (junior high school, both parents are disable, lives with his aunt since childhood), they could not afford the school’s living expenses, therefore the school made a special exception for them not to lodge in school, they have to go back to orphanage or aunt’s place three times a day for their meals & back to school for the self study sessions in the evening.

The 5.12 earthquake has passed for two and a half years, but the affected difficult families still struggle in poverty, our students grow in difficulties, we cannot imagine the stress & the pressure they feel. I have taught them how to treasure & love themselves, how to face the difficult challenges in their lives, how to manage their emotional turmoil etc..... But in fact, they are the ones who taught me. I have learned & testify from them how to be thankful, strong & firm as well as love in life. In front of our students, I became more humble.

All parents are trying their best to come up with the RMB300-500.00 monthly living expenses for their children, their goal is to see their children graduate from high school, admit to universities or colleges in order to leave the mountain area, have a bright future. At present, although the "Tomorrow Program" supports each student with only RMB800.00 per year, but the students and their families appreciate our help & encouragement, they see a future for their children through our help. Thanks to your continuous helps in raising funds diligently for these children, your hard works provide hopes & opportunities for them and other children on the waiting list to join "Tomorrow Program".

The father of Fan Yu Fei, a simple farmer, sends me a short note: "Yu Fei’s Aunty Jane, you are so nice to Yu Fei, I really don’t know how to repay you. Hope that some day Yu Fei will repay you, but he is disabled, I will not forget your kindness for the rest of my life." (Note: Fan Yu Fei’s left arm was amputated because of the earthquake, graduated from Mu Yu middle school last year, passed the entrance exam from the Jiangyou High School with excellent result.)

We do not need and never think of any returns from these students, but this is a father’s sincere appreciation to all our donors.

Because of the limited time we had, we only held group discussion for two nights in each school during the students self-study periods, many students did not speak up or talk to me directly, I did not know how they felt about the “Tomorrow Program”, also did not know if the program had help them psychologically. But couple of days ago, The always quiet & never smile Ho Cheng Tao (his mother passed away in the earthquake, 10th grade senior high student) sent me a short message: "Auntie Jane, heard you have gone to Beichuan, the weather there is getting cold, please take good care of yourself & wish you have a safe trip". Another student Yang Xia Feng admitted to the Sichuan International Studies University), in the short note said that, "I am not the one that can express myself easily, but through the times we spent together; I already consider you as one of my family members!". I finally knew the deepest feelings of these quiet children….. Only the continuous love and care in the long term can really warm and light up stud, ents’ heart, and therefore only with your continuous support can Tomorrow Program accompany these under-privileged children in the disaster area move forward to a tomorrow of love and hope.

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Spring Semester Report - Beichuan Ethnic Middle School - April 17, 2010

When the "Tomorrow Program" first started the scholarship project last September, we could only start from the three schools in Qingchuan County, because of our shortage of funds. (at that time we do not even have enough funds for this semester.) Therefore we did not distribute the scholarship to the 90 students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School last time. Although it was delayed a semester, but we are happy that these students are able to receive the scholarship simultaneously with the students in Qingchuan this semester.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School is located in the village of Yuli (Da Yu’s native place) in Beichuan County, it is in the northwest remote mountains of Beichuan old town ruins (after the earthquake, the town ruins had been closed), Yuli village is very remote, transportation is inconvenient, the mountain road is very steep & dangerous, vary difficult for driving. The present mountain road is dug out after the earthquake by the 2nd missile army who sacrificed some soldiers, as a temporary connecting road. On April 14th Rachel (Lu Yi Jun) and I started our journey. Thanks to Mr. Liu Ze Jun of the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, who provided us with a vehicle to Mianyang. In consideration of the dangerous mountain road, we were transferred from Mianyang to Yuli by a local driver who is familiar with the road condition using the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, from the school principal, teachers & students are almost all Qiang ethnic, within the 90 students, there is only one Tibetan ethnic, three Han, ,, , , ethn, ic, . The students s, ti, ll attended clas, se, s,, in the prefabricated te, mporary , buildings, it is estimated the new campus will be finished during the summer vacation. All students lodge in the school, more than 20 students lived in a small room. The principal, teachers and their family also live in the school as well. It is very difficult for one to imagine how these several tiny little rooms are u, sed for all the , activities such as class rooms, boarding rooms & eating areas etc… by several hundreds students & teachers together.

Because of the difficult environment, the rate of school , transferring and drop out is very high. Besides providing the scholarship and organized the "Tomorrow Program’s" environmental protection team, we also spent more time to counsel students to be persistent in completing the junior high school, then go to senior high or vocational college. More than one th, ird of o, ur ninet, y sponsored stude, nts are single parented, (Father or mother passed away in the earthquake or die in sickness), three orphans, others are all ve, ry , po, or., , In the r, em, ote , , mountain country, side, , outside , care & support was very limited, but these students have not been forgotten by us, the determined teachers were also looking forward for their future too. (Move to the new campus in September)

A couple of days ago, A teacher from the Guanzhuang Middle School, called me and said: “These couple o, f days the Qingchuan County’s Bureau of Education initiates the county-wide teachers and students fund raising event for the serious drought in the southwest. The students in "Tom, orrow Program" were moved by your environmental protec, tion education & your information about the disaster in Yun Nan & Gui Zhou Provinces; they were very keen on wi, lling to make a donation. They became the role model of the entire sc, hool. Two orphans (Liu Yan, Liu Xin Yang) contributed RMB50.00 each. It was their one week’s living expenses. More over the entire school’s teachers were touched by the "Tomorrow Program’s students." After I learned the above story, I was very surprised & moved. I was very proud of them, but on the other hand my heart was aching for their contributions, I know it was a lot of money to them. Love is contagious, our sponsored students became a social responsible person & love transmitter. They continue to affect others as role models of the entire school.

Thanks to the entire members of the Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association and the Cha, rity Ass, ociation who had work very hard to help in raising funds for supporting the students of "Tomorrow Program"!

Thanks to the donations from Colasoft Co., Ltd., as well as the entire staff’s kindness!

Thanks to Carter/TCL Company’s donation and support!

Thanks to all individual donors and their love!

It is because of you, the 300 students in the "Tomorrow Program" will receive love & support in the next school year. (September 2010 to June 2011).

Please click here to see the pictures of the related activities.

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Spring Semester Report - Qingchuan - April 6, 2010

It is time to report the spring visit on the children in the “Tomorrow Program”. Two volunteers from Bei, jing, two from Tianjin, one from Cheng Du and I (Tricia Lin), total of 6 of us visited Qingchuan on March 28th for a week.

We made the home visits during daytime to understand their current situations. In the evening hours from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m., we went to th, e school to talk to our students together. Each student were all withstanding lots of pressure from the abundance schoolwork and the poor family situation, therefore besides providing them encouragement, making them know we care for them and teaching them to love themselves, I also requested each student to wrote down their worries, questions and problems, we will try to answer or solve the problems for them the next evening.

The funds of RMB200 had been distributed completely. Because of the lack of commodities & rising prices in the disaster area, our students boarding expenses is RMB50.00 to RMB70.00 per week, i.e. RMB200.00 to 300.00 per month. I have informed the teachers that the “Tomorrow Program” will provide each student with RMB800.00 per year, RMB400.00 per semester starting next semester (from September 2010).

In order to catch up with this year’s inspection in the 5.12 disaster area by the central government leaders, the entire Qingchuan County was basically a big con, struction site, rebuilding streets & houses, taking off the temporary houses & prefabricated houses were seen everywhere, the road conditions were in extreme chaos. This year the drought in the Southwest also created water shortage in Qingchuan, the water flows from rivers run around the mountains were very little; we also encountered the water shortage problem in the hotels of Guanzhuang and Muyu.

Various schools situation:

1. San, guo Middle schools: During the last October’s visit, students were having classes in tents, but now they moved into the new campus. The new small campus could not accommodate the classes and boarding usage for the entire 1,500 students, therefore starting from this September, the senior high section will move to a distant 2 hours driving Zhuyuan. We have to spend more time on these visits in the future. The senior students will be further away from home. More than half of the families’ houses were being rebuilt (the house’s foundation must be completed before they could receive the government grant of RMB16, 000.00 to RMB19, 000.00); some families moved into the new houses but some were unable to finish the rebuilding. Some families were so poor that they have nothing at all; they had to live in their old damaged houses. In particular one high school student Wang Wan Hong’s family is extremely poor, her mother is mentally disable, her old age grandfather even made us really worried. The teacher emphasized to me many times that the “Tomorrow Program” not just provided the money but continued to offer care & psychological counsel to the students, result in their good standing in every aspect. He is deeply impressed.

2. Guanzhuang Middle School: The 90 students were more active, lovely & grown much taller comparing to our last visit. Our environmental protection team had made very outstanding achievements, the team leader Yang Ming Qiang wrote down the principles & objectives of the environmental protection team in his working diary, established small groups, assigned daily works for each group such as watering flowers in the garden, cleaning the school & recycling trashes. They managed to sell the recycled products, made an accumulated total of RMB57.00 so far. I also contributed RBM57.00 for them to purchase plant seeds for the school in order to encourage them to continue to work harder in creating a green environment for the school. Student’s family housing situation was similar with Sanguo, more than half of the new houses still not rebuild completely, and some families still lived in the ply wood rooms. The distance for the family visits was further away & the road condition was very bad. The only road in town was full of mud; the hotel did not have enough water. Only a tiny stream of water was flowing in the river, one could see the bottom of the river. Guanzhuang was the heavy disaster area; on May 12, Premier Wen Jia Bao or other central leaders may come to inspect this area, therefore teachers were very busy, luckily this did not affected our home visits and conversation with the students.

3. Muyu Middle School: In order to coordinate with 5.12’s inspection, despite the fact that the new campus not build completely; the school had moved from the temporary prefabricated classrooms to the new campus. The environmental protection team of the “Tomorrow Program” in Muyu needed to be strengthen, I have requested our acting teachers to offer some jobs for the students, and lead them to work on the environmental protection issues, many students still lived in the temporary ply wood rooms. A Family of four lived in the narrow and small room, only two beds and some untidy things; the old grandfather cried very sadly, these situatio, , , , ns made us felt heart broken. The students were similar to the Guanzhuang students, , comparing to the days , before, they we, r, e more, liv, ely, more opened and their academic achievemen, t was better. The students’ problems were more or less the same as the schools in Sanguo and Guanzhuang, it was mostly about the pressure in their studies, the family poor background, their parents could not get along, memories of their dead family members, conflict between friends, felt inferior & self cautious etc., I felt that our home visits & group discussion sessions in school should have help them. Most importantly they trusted the “Tomorrow Program" will continue to provide them the support, care, encouragement & dignity.

Yesterday, Wang Wan Hong sent me a short message: “I strongly believed that I will be courageous like an American hawk in my life in the future, because I have Auntie Jane, you gave me love, and my life can certainly be more splendid!” (The Americas hawk was a story I told to the students). I believed when we saw the psychological comfort in these students, is our biggest joy.

Thanks to the Tianjin Binhai New developed area’s charitable Association and the volunteers association to help in raising funds in supporting the students in “Tomorrow Program”!

Thanks to the Beijing volunteer Ye Yi in raising the donations of the chocolates for the students, the 210 students received 3 packages each.

Please click here to see the pictures of the related students’ activities.

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, only ate a single meal each day. I felt bad about doing this , to Guizhi. I am very grateful for and touched by, everything that Guizhi did for the “Tomorrow program”.

3. Guanxi Province, Napo Coun, ty

From Nanning, it takes nearly seven hours to , reach Napo City by bus. After we had eaten our lunch / dinner at a restauran, t, we arrived at Napo National High School at 6:20pm.

Napo National High School has nearly 2000 students. Self study begins at 7pm, but by 6:30pm, the campus was already filled with the voices of students reading aloud. On the first night, a child approached me privately and asked, “My family’s financial situation has improved. Can I give up my spot for another student in my class? Her mother is disabled, so her father has to support all three children by himself. She often doesn’t have enough money to eat.” After confirming that her family’s financial situation has indeed improved, I accepted her request. She only wanted to participate in the two nights of gatherings and lectures we have each semester, even though she was no longer receiving any grants. I was touched. On the second night, I used this as an anonymous example to teach the children about love and thanksgiving.


Givin, g out educational grants at Napo National High School

The two children from Qingchuan had donated 300 yuan in total. In order to allow all the children in Guangxi to receive the love from the students in Qingchuan, we added some money to buy 600 pens and gave them out to all the students in the “Tomorrow program” in Guangxi. The students learned that thanksgiving is recognizing the help that other people give us. Behind this aid is a loving spirit. When we receive, help, we should receive it happily, with no conditions, no pressure, no feelings of being in debt. We should simply accept the love. We should love ourselves, love other people, and pass on this love. When there is love, the children will have a guide for their actions. When there is love, the children will learn to show gratitude towards their parents, their teachers, their friends, their environment etc.

When we were leaving Napo National High School, many students came up to hug us and to say goodbye. After giving me a hug, a girl stood off to the side, mumbled to herself, “My mother never hugs me like this”, and started to cry. I was very sad. Another student, a sophomore from a single parent family who was considered by the teachers to be very rebellious, waited until all the other students had left before coming up to me and saying, “Auntie Lin, I know that everything you said tonight was directed at me... My life is so difficult. No one understands me...” He started to cry as he said this. I told him that real strength is not acting cool and keeping up a tough exterior. You don’t need to be perfect to be loved. Real love is to accept your own weaknesses and strive to fix them gradually.... He said, “Auntie Lin, wait for me. I will continue to improve and become one of your volunteers one day...”


After our discussion at Napo National High School, the students gathered around to say goodbye

Of our original students from Longhe Township and Dingyeh Middle School, students who have lost one or both parents made up 50% of the group. Now these students are all in their 2nd or 3rd year of Middle School. This time, many new freshmen students have applied to the “Tomorrow program”. Due to our limited scholarship funds, after interviewing all the applicants, we could only accept less than half of them. We were unable to accept even some students from single parent families. Just like Jingxi, poverty in Napo is simply too wide spread. We can only help the poorest of the poor. When we were conducting home visits for our new students in Longhe Twonship, we found that several students had been in the care of their grandparents since they were only a few months old. Their mothers had left and never been back for more than 10 years. The elderly grandparents live in run-down old tile-roofed houses. They had lost their daughters, and the children had lost their mothers. Even though the grandparents had almost no ability to work, they persisted and raised their grandchildren on their own. The children never knew who their fathers were. They were just like orphans. Sadly, this situation is quite common. For these students, developing a healthy mindset was just as important as receiving financial aid.

The children of Longhe and Dingyeh are very innocent and pure. They have little contact with the outside world. Although they are still shy, compared to last semester, they have improved a lot. They are happier and more willing to speak up. These orphans, who were silent before, now have bright smiles on their faces. They come up to say hi and to give me hugs, reminding me to take care of my health. The students have been learning diligently, and are doing well academically and growing more mature. These changes are my biggest motivation. A teacher from Jingxi Kuiwei High School phoned me to say, “Auntie Lin, I was touched by everything your organization has done. I am going to take two days off to volunteer with you.” He rode his motorcycle through the rugged mountain paths in the rain to meet up with us in Longhe. He was our most important volunteer in Longhe.


Their beautiful eyes reveal hope and longing for the future

Napo and Jingxi are rich in natural resources. Large trucks overloaded with minerals, gravel, and eucalyptus logs cause severe damage to the rural roads and spread air pollution. The roads, which had been fine last semester, are now filled with pits and potholes, making travel incredibly difficult for regular cars. When conducting home visits in Dingyeh, after traveling out for 20 minutes from the school, we became trapped in the mud. Even after trying for 2 hours, we made no progress. We had to give up on visiting the students at home.

Thank you to Teacher Yang and our volunteer from Beijing University, Wang Yiqing for taking the time to help with our trip to Napo.

4. Guanxi Province Jingxi County

Our first stop was Jingxi High School in the county capital. This semester, many of our middle school students were admitted to Jingxi High School. In addition, another four seniors were added to the program after being recommended by the teachers and having interviews with us. This semester, there were 72 students at Jingxi High School. The teacher in charge praised our second and third year students for their outstanding performances. Some of the students ranked amongst the best of their grade.

During our discussions in the evening self-study sessions, we found that some of the children were very proactive and had matured a lot. They enthusiastically asked questions and diligently recorded down all the details about government sponsored grants. One of the senior students kissed me on the cheek and thanks me for telling her about all these assistance options. This was very unexpected. I remember three years ago when we first surveyed Jingxi county, she was a senior in middle school. She had broken down in tears and told me that her father often beat her because he had severe mental illness. Her mother could not stand the physical violence and had left to find work far away. We started sponsoring her at the request of her teacher. Now she is a senior in high school. She works hard and has excellent grades. She’s also become more cheerful. Her dream is to attend the Beijing Foreign Studies University. We hope that her dream will come true!

After finishing our conversations that evening, a student handed me a letter describing her problems. She did not understand everything in the class lectures, but she was afraid to speak up and ask. Her grades have been slipping, and she was losing confidence... Another student asked how to persist and study everyday... All children face these two problems to some degree. Thus the next evening, we discussed in detail the reasons for being afraid to speak up and ask questions, and techniques for dealing with this. Four academically outstanding students also shared with the others how they are able to persist in their studies. I am very glad that these two students brought these questions up. All the students were able to benefit from the discussion.


She said that she was no longer confused. She would do her best.

After hearing about how a student at Napo National High School had given up their spot in the program for a struggling classmate, after the discussion a student from Jingxi High School approached me. She told me that her family’s financial situation had improved as well. They had just built a brick house. She wanted to give her spot in the program to the poor students at Kuiwei Middle School, where she had graduated from. This was another touching story of love being passed on. These children have realized that the true meaning of thanksgiving is love, that we should accept help happily, and give help happily.

Our program has many graduates from all five middle schools in Jingxi. Many freshmen middle school students have also applied for the program. After interviewing the applicants and a rigorous selection process, we have new freshmen students in every middle school. We’ve also added a few poor sophomore and senior middle school students who had been overlooked. We arrived during Jingxi county’s four day midterm examination period. Thus we moved our evening lectures up to 5:30pm, so that the students would be able to return to their exam review section at 7:30pm for their exams the next day.

Each school in Jingxi has its own atmosphere. The level of interest and oversight of the students by the school also varies. Thus students in some schools are very proactive, while students in other schools are lazier, and have clearly fallen behind. At each school, we tailored our talks to the level and situation of the students to focus on different topics. This time, our most important task is to instill in the students the correct values and attitudes, and to improve their enthusiasm for learning. After our lecture at Longling High School, the principal told me, “All the students were very excited and very happy when they left your lecture.” I was very happy. I hope they can maintain their enthusiasm and be diligent in their studies!

In rural schools, teachers have to work long hours. Their wages are low, only just over two thousand yuan a month. It is very difficult. The teachers would say half-jokingly, “Even the students who quit school to work in other cities are paid more than us.” But the principals and teachers of each school are all very proactive. They are very concerned and care a lot about the students. We were touched. The only school that lagged behind in their pro-activeness was Ande High School. Their management of the students also needs to be improved.


Two vice principals and two teachers from Longling High school accompanied us on our home visits.

Visiting the new students from the various Jingxi schools made us very sombre. A very high percentage of the students are orphans or come from single parent families. The orphans include cases where both parents have died, or where the father passed away and the mother either went missing or re-married and was never seen again. These children are essentially orphans, and are often raised by their elderly grandparents. In Longling, we visited six new freshmen middle school students. Almost all of them were in this situation. One lived with their grandmother in a small shed. Another lived in a house with rotten floors. Another lived in an illegal add-on room, but their uncle only had enough money to complete half of the frame for the house. In a space that was like a construction site, the student slept on a bed simply made from a wooden board propped up by a stack of bricks. Tree branches held up mosquito nets over the bed. The student told us, “With the mosquito net, this bed is like my palace.” One of the orphans was being raised alone by his grandfather, who had very low income. The grandfather told us that his grandson only had one set of clothing. Every Friday he would wash it at home, and put it back on when he returned to school on Sunday. In the winter, with rain drizzling outside, the clothes would often not dry out in time. But he would still have to put on the wet clothing and go back to school. We felt such deep pain in our hearts. We gave the grandfather two hundred yuan and asked him to buy two more sets of clothing for his grandson. The grandfather kept repeating, “Grandson, I am so sorry. I am so sorry...”

The financial situations of the other families are basically the same. It is difficult to imagine such wide-spread poverty in our modern society. While conducting a home visit of a senior middle school student in Napo, we were shaken by the sadness in the faces of the elderly grandmother and the younger sister, who was only in grade three. The sister went to school with only a pen, she could not afford a notebook. The mother had died giving birth to her. The grandfather had suffered a fall and was paralyzed in bed. The father had gone to work in a different city, but his income was not even enough to pay for the grandfather’s medical bills...


An orphaned student lived with their grandparents in this small shed.

The mountai, ns are very dry, with little arable land. Parents who have little education can only go to other cities to earn a living, working in jobs requiring hard labor. Not only do they earn very little, many fathers also die because of work-related accidents. In these cases, the mothers are often forced to remarry. Even if both parents are still alive, they can only come home rarely. In these poverty-stricken regions, the only consideration of the parents is “survival”. Education is not important. Many children go out to work after middle school. Some don’t even finish middle school before they are forced to start working to supplement the family’s income. The enrollment from middle school to high school is only 30-40%.

Growing up under these conditions, finishing middle school and high school is already quite an accomplishment. Children in the cities start getting tutoring from middle school. Our children have nothing, and are at a large disadvantage in the very competitive college entrance exams. But each of them dreams of going to college, of walking out of poverty, of the future. In order to avoid the psychological damage from the gap between their dreams and reality, in addition to compassion, our most urgent and important need is to elevate their desire to learn, to discover their value, to remove thoughts of inferiority and to build their self confidence. We have to inspire them to be themselves, to face their inner fears. Without hurting their self-esteem, we need to make them fully aware that only by giving it all they have will they have a chance to realize their dreams. This is difficult even for our volunteers to appreciate, and is something that teachers at the school cannot do. Principal Wang of Longling middle school told me that this was our biggest contribution to the students.


The children’s smiles are our biggest consolation.

Ande High School, Kuiwei High School, and Napo High School have torn down their at-risk buildings, and are in the process of constructing new buildings. Although the construction has affected the student’s learning, all the students and teachers are looking forward to the new buildings. Unexpectedly, during our visit to Jingxi, we encountered the strongest typhoon in history, Typhoon Haiyan. After causing massive damage in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan headed straight for Vietnam and Jiangxi, which was on the border between China and Vietnam. Under the strong rain and winds, we had to cancel our itinerary on the second day to ensure the safety of our volunteers and the principal, who was coming to pick us up.

We had about one hundred thirty English-Chinese dictionaries which had been donated by the Lynck Foundation. This was just enough for us to give one each to every new student in Jingxi. After our discussion, we taught the new students how to use these dictionaries. Our partner in Chengdu, Wang Li, had purchased 40 stationary care packages and mailed them to the Jingxi County Board of Education. We handed them out to the freshmen students at two schools, and the sad younger sister of the student in Napo.

We are very grateful towards the American Lynck Foundation, to a donor who wished to remain anonymous, to our partners in Chengdu, to teacher Yang from Beijing, and to our volunteer from the Beihai College of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sun Xiaoyu, for participating in our trip to Jingxi.

The “Tomorrow program” is about to enter its sixth year. A freshman middle school student who was often beaten by their alcoholic father wrote on their application to the program this year, “Daily life is cruel, but I am happy when I am learning.” Another student in Wen County said, “You have no idea how much motivation and hope your program gives us.” With the help of all our partners, we will continue to bring these learning opportunities to the children, to give them motivation and hope, to send along your love to them.

I wish you all peace and health!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, May 9, 2013

Hello my dear friends!

The weather early this spring was temperamental, oscillating between hot and cold. For our education grant program this year, we decided to begin in Guangxi, where the weather was warmer. I would like to thank all the volunteers who travelled thousands of miles to deliver warmth, encouragement, and support to the children of the program!

1. Napo and Jingxi County in Guangxi

This semester, a few students in the “Tomorrow Program”in Napo and Jingxi schools dropped out of school. The drop-out rate was even higher for the rest of the students at the schools. At the beginning of each semester, many teachers visit these students, to try to bring them back to school. But the majority of these students had followed their relatives or neighbours to look for work in another province. There are two main reasons for dropping out of school – the economic situation of the family and falling behind in school. At each school that we visit, we earnestly tell the students that both problems have solutions, that they need to stay in school, and that they must not give up.

The principals and teachers at the schools are all very dedicated and responsible. They are understanding of and very concerned about the students. We respect the views of each school. In some schools, we deposited the scholarship money entirely into the students’ meal cards. In some schools, we paid, out part of the scholarship in cash, and deposited the rest into the students’ meal cards. We made sure that each child received 400 yuan every semes, ter (500 yuan for hi, gh sch, ool s, tuden, ts). ,


We delivered the grants in person, and asked the students to sign for them

Although every semester we visit some of the students at home, the number of orphans, single parent families, abandoned children, and broken families continues to surprise me. Some of the students live in incredible poverty, such as in the cases below:

- One of the student has a father with severe mental illness, who wandered around in a disheveled state. His hands were tied to prevent him from hurting himself. The mother had run away to work as a migrant worker and to escape violence from the father. The child, who was only in junior high, was alone responsible for supporting the family. He privately told me that faced with his exams, he did not know what to do or where to go. I talked with him for a long time, and gave detailed responses to his questions. I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes. At the end of our talk, it was already dark on campus. He gave me a hug and disappeared into the night. How much suffering can a child tolerate? My heart was torn.

- The father of a student in Napo county passed away 7 years ago. The mother was working in another province. In the run down tile-roofed house, the elderly grandparents told us about the family’s situation without the slightest complaint of fate. I told them to believe in us, that the “Tomorrow Program” will continue to support their grandson who was in junior high until he graduated from high school. The grandma clasped my hands with her rough and calloused hands, tears falling as she thanked us. The heart wrenching scene touched everyone who was present.

- After the mother passed away, the father contracted tuberculosis and could no longer do hard labor. The dilapidated house was uninhabitable. I worried that the house would collapse at any moment, or that I’d fall through the rotting floor boards into the empty pig pens beneath. The house no longer had walls, but rather reed mats or blankets hanging between wooden beams. Looking at the condition of the house, I did not know what to say to the father and son. I did not need to ask about the fa, mily’s, economic situation. We left with heavy hearts.

- After his father died, his mother remarried and disappeared. He felt that he had been abandoned by his mother, that he had become an orphan. He resented his mother, but did not want to let his teachers or friends know of his pain… This happened to many of the children.

Jingxi and Napo are part of the so-called “remote poor region filled with the young and the elderly”. Spring is a busy season for farming. In Jingxi, several students in the “Tomorrow Program” were unable to return to school to meet with us because they were busy helping their grandparents plant corn at home. Most school children wear plastic sandals year round, because each pair only costs a few yuan. When they play basketball at school, they take off their sandals and play barefoot. The principal and the teachers usually live on campus, and are responsible for managing the school, for teaching, and for keeping the students safe. Even with the rising price of goods, the teachers only make 2000 yuan a month. They said with a wry smile, “That’s less than what migrant workers make."


Kids playing basketball barefoot, with their plastic sandals off to one side

The children are shy, but even more focused in class than the last semester. Some students are more willing to speak up. In Jingxi, we had four volunteers, two Masters students from Peking University and two seniors from the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. They did their best to tutor the students in the challenging subjects of math, physics, chemistry, English, history, and geography. When there was time, we’d even go over exercises from the various subjects. I am sure this was a great help to the children, in particular to those about to take the high school entrance exams.

At Longhe High in Napo County, during a questions and answers session, a child stood up and said, “Aunties and Uncles, thank you for sacrificing your own time and energy to bring us help, for caring about us …”. I was touched, but also a bit embarrassed. I told the children that true love does not consider “sacrifices”. We happily give the help that we can, and hope that they can happily accept it. There are no conditions, no burdens.

I am grateful for our Napo volunteers: Zhang Xinchun, Chen Jihong, and Tang Wei. Thanks to Xinchun and Tang Wei for putting together the “Volunteer Manual and Guide” for the “Tomorrow Program”. Thanks to Jihong for the report of “Tomorrow Program in Napo in 2013 Spring” (see Volunteer Voices), which helped everyone understand the situation in the schools of Napo County. Thanks to all of them for bringing love and lollipops to the children of Napo.

I am grateful for our Jingxi volunteers: Zhang Shouhe, Hu Wei, Wang Weichen, and Gao Jun. In Jingxi County, the schools are very far away from town. They visited the children’s home during the day, and tutored the children in the evenings. They would not get back to the hotel in town until 11 pm each day. It was not easy! Thanks to Shouhe and Hu Wei for their Jingxi Education Assistance Reports (see Volunteer Voices).


Photo of the volunteers in front of the entrance of Longhe High School in Napo County

Pictures from Guangxi visit: Napo County http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=254
    &nb, sp;                ,            &nb, sp;       Jingxi County http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=253

2. Zhang Jiachuan County, Gansu

After an 8 hour trek from Xi’an, we arrived at Zhang Jiachuan. The weather was very cold. It was 2, 3 degrees below zero at night. The students wore thin uniforms. Perhaps they were used to the weather of the high plains, and were not afraid of the cold? The roads around the school were being repaired, making the surrounding cloud of dust worse than usual.

The students of the “Tomorrow Program” from First and Second High school had gradua, ted from junior high to high school. They were juniors and seniors now. The seniors were preparing for the college entrance exams in June. Now was a very stressful time. Every student was nervous, tense, and sleep deprived. Our arrival mitigated the stress of their routine, and brought them encouragement.

We analyzed and discussed the various possibilities and outcomes depending on the success or failure of the college entrance exams, what to expect in college and after college. We talked about how to focus for this final stretch of 50 some days before the exams, how to deal with stress and fear. After our discussion, the seniors seemed to relax a bit and become more confident.


A student asked about our views on dating in high school. Our reply was that, “As long as both are working hard in school, why not?”

One of the students from the First Junior High School told us that when the school held a three day sports celebration, the school grounds were filled with litter afterwards. It was cleaned up by the environmental team of the “Tomorrow Program”. The captain of the environmental team also served as the organizer of the volunteer and outreach program at the school. He led the other students to visit orphanages and senior homes during their lunch breaks. I was very touched. Our love and encouragement had taken root. Our children were no longer part of the “Indifferent generation”. They were compassionate, responsible, and willing to help. I am proud of them!

A junior in the “Tomorrow Program” was representing his school in Zhang Jiachuan County’s student speech contest. He asked if we’d have time during lunch the next day to give him some suggestions. So during the lunch break, we sat down on the lawn of the school field and talked from 12:30 to 2:00. When he was in grade 4, he had dropped out of school for one year to follow his mother to Xinjiang to pick cotton. The goal was to find his father, who was working in Xinjiang. After many hardships, the family was finally reunited. He told us that he’ll never forget the sight of children walking to school with their backpacks, while he worked in the cotton fields. He had burst into tears in those fields. But to help out his parents, he worked as hard as he could. He picked 60 kilos of cotton a day!

These unforgettable experiences made him much more mature than his peers. He had not shared his past with anyone else. But with us, he slowly started to talk about his dreams and ambitions. The school fields became deserted. This child was opening his heart to us. We had earned his trust and respect over the last two years.


On the school fields in Zhang Jiachuan, he told us of the hardships of the past and his dreams of the future

For the children in the “Tomorrow Program”, life is never easy. Just before we left, we wished the seniors well in the college entrance exams, gently reminding them to take care of their health in this short period of time before the exams, so that they’d be able to do their best during the exam.

Thanks to our friend in Chengdu, Lu Yijin.

Pictures from Gansu visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

3. Sichuan Qingchuan County, Beichuan County, and Jiangyou City

I am grateful that Kelun Pharmaceutical Ltd. Co. sent a car for us to visit Gansu province. They took us to visit the schools in Wen County, then to the town of Muyu in Qingchuan County the net day. Without their help, we could not have reached Wen County from Chengdu in a single day. I am thankful for their help!

Wen County of Gansu province is directly to the north of Qingchuan County. It has been classified by the government as a poverty-stricken region, and suffered great damage in the 512 earthquake. The roads in Wen County weave through the mountains. To one side of the cliff is the river Bailongjiang. The tall mountains, deep valleys, and narrow, winding roads made travel much more difficult that in Qingchuan. The houses and schools along the roads had all been rebuilt since the earthquake. Some relief tents that had been handed out after the earthquake can still be seen. Because of its remoteness and inaccessibility, Wen County typically attracts little attention from the general public.

We visited Second High in Bikao, and First High in Chengguan of Wen County. First High has more than 3400 students, 80-90% of whom were admitted from junior high schools in the remote mountainous regions. First High was well managed. According to the school’s statistics, there were more than 800 students who lived in poverty, 10% of whom lived in extreme poverty. The school very much hoped that the “Tomorrow Program” would be able to help these students, and was willing to do everything they can to help us. Thus we decided that starting from the next semester, we would start helping the students of First High who lived in extreme poverty.


The beautiful landscape of Wen County in Gansu Province

This semester at the Qingchuan schools, in addition to the education assistance grants, we also awarded the annual “Chengdu Century City” scholarships to students with outstanding academic records. There were 216 scholarship recipients in Qingchuan, and 17 in Beichuan and Jiangyou. I am very grateful for the support the Chengdu Century City company gives to the students of Sichuan.

Over the last five years, we have been assisting the poverty-stricken students of Beichuan Minzu High. The majority of the students have graduated by now. After the 512 earthquake, Beichuan attracted the attention of the national government and society at large, and much aid has poured into the region. Our mission at Beichuan Minzu High has been successfully completed. Starting from the next semester, we will no longer be coming to Beichuan. We will be using the limited resources of the “Tomorrow Program” on even poorer regions that desperately need our help.

In Qignchuan county, the road leading to Muyu was finally almost completely repaired just before the 5 year anniversary of the 512 earthquake. It only lacks the opening of the final tunnel. The road is already open to traffic, with a bypass for the currently closed tunnel. Driving on the newly repaired road, the hardships of our journey over the last four years seemed like a dream. We only added two new students in Qingchuan this semester, so we did not do home visits.

The earthquake in Ya’an made our students recall the 512 earthquake. Many of them called home to check on their families, and to tell them that they were safe. All the elementary and high school students in Qingchuan mobilized to fundraise f, or the victims of the Ya’an earthquake. All the students in the “Tomorrow Program” also donated. Some students asked us whether we would go to Ya’an in the future. The answer is no. The earthquake in Ya’an has attracted a great deal of public attention. With the experience of the reconstruction effort following the 512 earthquake, the national and local governments will surely have a good handle on how to respond in the disaster area.

Every semester, based on the different situations of each school, we talk about different things with the students. This time in Guanzhuang and Sanguo we taught the children about respect for themselves, for other people, for things and the environment. We taught them about making progress through down-to-earth efforts. At the high school, our volunteers spent most of the time teaching math, physics, and English. Hopefully these lessons will be helpful for their college entrance exams.


Our volunteer from Peiking University answering questions about learning

In Qingchuan High and Qingchuan First High, when I talked with the students of the “Tomorrow Program”, I could feel the immense academic pressure that they were under. I could not bear to see how tired they looked. It was not just a physical tiredness, they were tired in their hearts too. I think that our arrival brought them a small brief measure of relief. We have been supporting these high school students since junior high. Watching them grow up, time has passed by so quickly. Soon the seniors will graduate and be scattered over the country.

In Qingchuan we went from north to south. On the second night of our last stop in Qingchuan, at Qingchuan First High, after we had awarded the education assistance grants and scholarships, we told the seniors that they could return to the classrooms to review and prepare for the college exams. But they did not want to leave. After talking for another two hours, although we urged the children again to leave, they did not move nor say anything. The sadness of parting was thick in the air. At last, one of the students said, “Auntie Jian, we want to sing a song”. They stood up and sang “Grateful Heart”. I could not help it anymore. I was moved to tears, the first time I had cried in front of the children. The children started crying too.


Auntie Jian, I will do my best!

For this visit to Qingchuan, there was only me and one volunteer, a senior student from Peking University, Li Zhongliang. He was very talented. Not only could he answer student’s questions on their homework, he also helped review their scholarship applications so that we were able to award the scholarships the very next day. He endured the loneliness of travel, and experienced the first earthquake of his life. Without his help, I could not have successfully completed, this trip to Qingchuan! Thank you Zhongliang!

Pictures from Sichuan visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

Because of the huge gap between the rich and the poor in China, the children of the cities and the poverty-stricken children of the remote mountainous regions live in completely different worlds. These children need our continued support and care. The “Tomorrow Program” needs partners to garner publicity and support. All of your donations towards education grants go directly into the hands of these children. I am grateful to Professor Zhang Haixia at Peiking University for encouraging her students to participate in the education assistance grant program this time, and for the participation of our friends from Tianjin and the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. Thank you all for your help!

I wish you all peace and joy!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, Fall 2012

With the joint efforts of all the contributors and a few volunteers, the 2012 Fall Sponsorship Program has been successfully completed on Nov 3, 2012. This seminar, we have 202 new students from three junior high schools at Napo County, Guang Xi province. As of now, the “Tomorrow Program” has sponsored a total of 1,033 needy students scattered over 18 schools in three provinces, Si Chuan, Gan Su and Guang Xi.

1. Si Chuan Province- Qingchuan County, Beichuan County and Jiangyou City: Sept 16 2012 to Sept 27, 2012

At Qingchuan County and Beichuan County, it is usually quiet in the fall when it is not a market day. There are only few pederistians and autos on the road. After dark, you may only hear sounds from insects and occasionally from trucks passing by.

Muyu Middle School and Guanzhuang Middle School had a few more new first and second year needy students qualifying for the “Tomorrow Program”. We interviewed face-to-face with each newly enrolled students to understand their family situations in order to verify the eligibility of their qualifications. The third year students previously sponsored have admitted to either Qingchuan Senior High School or Qingchuan First Senior High School., Without seeing the , students for six months, some boys have really grown up a lot that I was hardly able to recognize them. We also sponsored two new orphans and one student in special need from Qingchuan First Senior High School.

Last seminar, we did not have time to give out the “Tomorrow Program” ChengDu Conference Centr, e Bursary to those students who achieved good marks at three schools, Muyu Middle School, Qingchuan Senior High School and Qingchuan First Senior High School. We gave out the awards at this seminar. From now on, we will review and assess the grades overnight and immediately give out the Achievement Award and Speciality Awa, rd the nex, , t day in, order to achieve better encouragement effect.

After the last seminar had finished, we received so many letters, from the, stud, ents. , Thei, r , letters , , not o, nly expres, sed the, ir gratitude, towards the “uncles and aunts from Tomorrow Program”, most also talked about personal “secrets” and problems. We were unable to reply to all letters. However, during our conversations with the children at their “Evening Self-study Class” (The only time we can use to communicate with the students), we brought out questions and worries they asked about pertinently to corresponding schools. We gave suggestions and discussions without giving out names. We believe that t, his could give some help to all students.

Th, e questions they asked were: One felt sad when he saw his parents working too hard to support the family and wanted to quit, school to help parents. One was unable to do well in school even though he had worked very hard. How to overcome laziness? How to study well in English? Her mother said she is her burden. Parents fight fiercely and even hit each other. He was so afraid and wondered if his parents would stop fighting if he was not there. Some felt self-contempt without mother or without father. Some felt stress from homework. What should they do when they felt upset?

Most of their parents are poor farmers or workers with only elementary education background. It is not easy for the children to grow up with stress not only just from family, but also , from school. They have too many things in mind, have worries, fears, grievance and perplex but are unable to talk to their parents, teaches or fellow classmates. Some children would tell me in person but more would say it in their letters. Other than assist them in sponsorship each seminar, helping them to overcome problems, care for them, give them encouragement and help them build up self-respect have always been our most important mission. In the past four years, we have gained complete supports from the schools, and schools have been actively helping the children to feel proud of themselves to be part of the “Tomorrow Program”.

Children from Muyu Middle School

Special thanks to Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd. to give us a ride to the Qingchuan, Muyu County and special thank you to Miss Ou Hai Li, volunteer from ColasoftCo.,Ltd. for bringing cards hand-written by all their colleagues., Each card represents love, care and encouragement.

2. Gansu Zhangjiachuan (ZJC) : Oct 8 to Oct 13, 2012

After meeting with the volunteers from Tianjing at Xian, we passed by Tianshui and arrived at ZJC at 4pm the next day. The 145 spon, sored students from first and second year high school were all now in second and third year high school. From the conversation at the two “Evening Self-study Classes”, we found that these children have changed. They were very different from last seminar. Their eyes sparked with trust and expectation. They actively participated and engaged in discussion. They became more serious, attentive, mature and confidence. Even though they still had many questions to overcome, they seemed to be more at ease and were able to find ways to solve their problems after assisted by encouragement and discussion.

There was no change of the sponsorship to the first and second year high school students except that one or two students with better financial situation and a female student who quit school to get married were taken off from the program. ZJC has the culture to favour male to female. Poor families married away daughters early to reduce family burdens and to receive the wedding gifts to subsidize family spending. This is helplessly sad.

Same as last seminar, we visited the country to find out about the family situations. We also visited students who rent their place close by school and found out that their meal was same every day, either potatoes or noodles and nothing else. No vegetable and no meat. About 10% of the sponsored students have anemia problem. With special thank you to Ms. Chen Wan Shu of United States for arranging deliveries of hemo-pills to Chengdu. We distributed both love and pills to the students having anemia problems and taught them how to use them. Ms. Chang Hui Lin from Tianjing asked volunteers to bring children some chocola, te. The children were really thankful for the sweet, both in the mouth and to the heart.

At the “Evening Self-study Class”, we were discussing stress from exam, burden from family, early dating… etc.

Last seminar, two second year high school students initiated to write letters and cards to students at Qingchuan. They mailed to Chengdu and asked me to bring to Qingchuan. The letters have moved both us and the students at Qingchuan. This seminar, we decid, ed to copy the project and gave students at ZJC and Qingchuan an opportunity to show their care to students in Guang Xi province. Everyone was so excited with the project and allowed us to bring several hundreds of love and encouragement to “Tomorrow Program” students in Guang Xi. The letters from students have talked about wanting to become a volunteer to help others in the future. They have learned from this experience that they could contribute to others even though they are also receivers. They can give love and warm to others, close by and far away.

Special thanks to Chen Ji Hong, secretary of Tianjin TEDA-CSVA to travel long distance to participate and bring their love and caring from uncles and aunts of Tianjin to the children.

3. Guangxi Napo County and Jingxi County: Oct 16 to Nov 3, 2012

Napo County is located at the north of Jingxi County. Both Napo county and Jingxi County are classified by the government as poor county and border county of the country. They are border to Vietnam and Yuen Nan and are about six to seven hours drive from Nanning. Majority of the students are Zhuang Clan with few Han Clan and Yao Clan. Napo County is far-reaching and lags behind. Most land is seriously stony and people are hard to survive with little land suitable for farming. Most people have to go out of the county to find work leaving behind seniors and children. Napo County is lack of water and has to rely on the local government to build ponds to store drinking water. Every summer, children were found drown playing at ponds. According to statistics, 80% of the county’s students are needy students. However, we could only select to assist orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students from the three biggest junior high schools, Napo Ethnic Middle School, Long He Junior High School and Dingye Junior High School.

Most students are living at extreme rough tile house.

Majority of the students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are living at tile (wood) house that could hardly keep out rain and wind, as same as Jingxi. Few who is eligible to receive ten thousand subsidies and loans to remodel their imperilled tile house is often unable to afford finishing their repair project and end up only having a rough empty covered house. Many students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are orphans. The percentage to have parents died or being abandoned is even higher. Most are brought up by grandparents who have to work at land and without any financial supports. They live under the poverty line. There was a child whose father died early and mother with mental illness disappeared four years ago has to live with grandfather at a shelter by the road. Children who have grown up in as a hardship condition and are still able to admit into junior high school is really not an easy task. Only those who have personally experienced would understand how great they are.

A personnel from Na Po Education Department accompanied us to visit schools, talk to students and visit family at county said to us at the time when we were leaving:” I am too moved! After spending all these days with you has helped me understand the subsidies from the government is way too insufficient. I am very much moved by the caring and teachings you give to the children.”

Napo County is same as Jingxi County that we had to rush back to the hotel in the city every night. The only difference is that Jingxi County is larger and the towns are farther distance away from the county. We had 385 students from five schools in Jingxi County. A group of third year junior high school students were admitted to Jingxi First Senior High School. We continued to sponsor this group of students and hence sponsored schools have increased to six schools. We will have more third year junior high school students to apply for Jingxi First Senior High School in the future, and thus will have more sponsored students from this school.

When students asked me how to learn well in English last seminar, I found out that no student had a dictionary. It was hard to find dictionaries in shops locally. With spec, ial thanks to Nynck Foundation to sponsor 800 small English-Chinese dictionaries. All students at Jing Xi and Napo are so excited t, hat each of , them now has a dictionary. We taught the children how to us, e the dictionary to look up vocabulary and how to study their English lessons. We believe that they will be helped a lot in their English study. Other than the 587 sponsored students , from Jingxi and Napo benefited from the dictionaries, we gave out the rest of the dictionaries to those students who applied for sponsorship but were not accepted.

Happily learning English

Every school fr, om Jingxi had new studen, ts applying for the Tomorrow Program. After face-to-face interview with applicants, we only selected those who are orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students. The rest of the applicants were rejected because even though they are also poor but they are comparatively better. For example, , some have parents, or some have one single parent but father is working out of county and is the only child, or their family house had already been repaired, etc.

Many students from both Jingxi and Napo sponsored by us have never seen their mother before because “mother ran away after gave birth to me.” I asked the teachers who went interview with me the reasons why this situation is so common here. The teacher said that it might be because the bride from out of county felt that her husband was too poor and thus ran away after child was born. Those fathers are often not able to remarry and single-handedly brought up their children and look after the elders at home or they go to work and leave the children to be cared by grandparents.

During the family visit, we found that those children who are staying in school have to help working around the hou, se when they go home on weekends. The girls have to do farm work, feed the pigs and do the cooking while the boys have to do cow herding, grass mowing and woods hewing. They leave home in the morning and will not be back until dawn. Some boys have to sleep inside the interlayers under the tile roof. Some tile house have no walls at all and use neighbour’s’ wall as own wall. Some houses are tipped and urgently needed to be repaired. During the family visit at the HH last seminar, we visited a first year high school student who lived at a highly periled house with wounded grandmother. The , teacher told us that the house was totally ruined a few months ago and the grandmother had to stay with relatives and the child was forced to quit school to work in Guang Dong. This kind of situation is likely common to the schools. We felt very sad when we heard of this. I told the teacher that they should immediately tell us if similar situation happened again. Maybe the student could be saved from quitting school.

The purposes of the family visit are firstly to confirm if students are really poor and need to be assisted; and secondly to further understand the personal and family situation of each student so that we are able to help them more effectively during the night self-learning sessions.

Talking to a grandmother during a family visit and a teacher was doing translation from Zhuang dialect to Mandarin.

The ratio of students to drop out school because of poor financial family situation is higher at Na Po and Jing Xi than then Qingchuan and Gansu. Some parents also expect children to work because of the family financial hardship. Therefore, our most important mission is to help sponsored students to stay in school to finish their junior and senior high school studies. During our discussions at the “Evening Self-study Class”, we use stories to teach the children how to make determination, how to face challenges, how to study diligently, how to stay persistent, how not to give up no matter what. We believe that our teachings will somehow help to affect and encourage the children at different levels.

All the junior high schools presently get off school at three thirty on Friday so that students can get home before dark. Students who stay in school go home once a week. Some students have to walk three to four hours to get home. Many students’ houses are inaccessible to transportation and they can only walk or climb across mountains. On a rainy day, mountain roads are steep and slippery. It is very dangerous but the children seem get used to it.

Students at each school were reluctant to leave after two days of the “Evening Self-study Class”. Many would hug us and asked us to come back to see them again next seminar, asked us to wear warmly for the cold weather… We were surprised that a student at the Ande High School came to give us a deep bow. She cried and said to us,” aunty, thank you for all your help. I will persistently stay at school and study diligently.” We were so moved by these children who are grateful.

With special thank you to the two volunteers, Wu Wen Juan and Li Xin Qi from the Beijing Aviation University who took ten days off to participate in the sponsorship activities. We thank them for bringing love and warm to the children and for raising awareness among their friends. They made it possible for the children to have the opportunity to spend time with elder brothers and sisters from Beihai College. With special thank you to volunteer, Kuo Lei from Xi An to accompany and assist us all the way throughout the three weeks’ journey. He is the greatest in the heart of the children. Even though he is young and just newly graduated from university about two years ago, he is our most senior volunteer in this visitation. He has participated in Qingchuan, Beichuan , Gansu and this Guangxi sponsorship visit.

Some people asked: Does the Tomorrow Program operate same as other foundation to help only those needy students who do well in school? Our answer is a definite no. Our only sponsorship requirement is that “children are really in need of assistance.” We believe that every single sand who need assistance could become a pearl one day if it is given chance to be loved, guided and encouraged in the mussel. This is the spirit and belief of the “Tomorrow Program”.

The “Tomorrow Program” sponsorship program is entering into its fifth anniversary. As of today, junior and senior students benefited from our sponsorship have exceeded more than 4,000 cases. We will continuously put in effort to help more students to finish their high school. We will persistently continue to communicate with the children face-to-face at the “Evening Self-study Class” every seminar and bring the sponsored fund to the hands of each child in person.

We very much thank you for the continue support and help from the Nynck Foundation in USA, Ms. Jiang Shi Min from Tianjin, Chengdu Colasoft Co. Ltd. and all other partners. They personally do not know the children but they give the children opportunity to experience real love and caring from the world, and allow the children to learn how to value themselves and give the children hope to work persistently for their future.

Please click here for more pictures from this fall sponsorship activities.

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Spring Semester Report - May 8th, 2012

The spring sponsorship activities of the 2012 “Tomorrow Program” has completed successfully. Special thanks to the contributions of the Lynck Foundation, our scholarship program in the Baise city in Guangxi can be continued this spring. The program was suspended for 6 months because of funding shortage. The Baise city’s poverty areas are very comprehensive; the poverty levels of these students’ families are beyond our imagination. So far our “Tomorrow Program” is the only organization to help these students.

The followings are my summary reports of the home visits during the 2 months stay in Sichuan, Gansu & Guangxi:

1. Sichuan Province: Chingchuan County (Mar 18th – 27th), Beichuan County (Mar 29th – 31st)

It was the yellow vegetable flowers seasons again, on Mar 18th, Tricia Lin was accompany by two volunteer students to Chingchuan. One is a 3rd senior high student - Jixiang from Taiwan, the other is a student who received our scholarship in the Sanguo Middle school in order to go to the university - He Chengxiong. This trip was very meaningful for the two volunteers. The students in Chingchuan are spread in Muyu Middle School, Chingchuan Senior High School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo High School & Chingchuan Senior High School. The students in the two senior high schools are from our original junior high students. This time we have sponsored additional 6 orphans & one student from a very difficult family.

Our main concern in regular home visit in each semester is to continue to provide the love and care to our students and to communicate with their family. This is what the students are looking forward to & it is an important support for them. Other issue is to verify the student’s list & their family situation. Each semester there are some changes in the students’ situation, the teacher’s report on the students’ movements was usually not very accurate. For example this semester, a student Wang Mingsing in Muyu Middle School had to work in order to support his disable parents & relatives, he cannot go to school; Jia Guangju in Guanzhuang Middle School dropped out of school because she has to take care of her adopted father who had a stroke; some students in Guanzhuang had change school; teacher in Sanguo Middle school recommend to cancel the funding for a student Bai Shihui because she is always late to attend classes. But after our home visit, we understand her difficulties. It was because the family who adopted her cannot afford to provide her with the fee for the meals in school; she had to run far between her home & school to have her meal two times daily. Besides she has to take care of her adopted aunt’s baby & do the house work. Therefor she is always late for classes. We had talked to the school & her family, indicated that we will provide funding for her to broad & have meals in the school. The drop-out rate is always high in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School. There were 4 students dropped out this semester. A group of students decided to go to a Technical High School for professional training in advance.

All of our students seemed to have matured a bid; although some are still shy, but their smiles & trust in us is the best gift and encouragement to us. Discussion between the Taiwanese volunteer Jixiang and Chingchuan Senior High School students about one should have dreams & strive hard for it, causing great resonance of these peers; “Tomorrow Program’s” university volunteer He Chengxiong talked about his growing up experience provided the younger students hope for the future. United States volunteer Michelle talked to the Beichuan’s children with love and care.

She brought regards from the students in the United States. This had built a communication bridge between the students in the United States & Beichuan. A new student Chenqin (an orphan) in Qingchuan Middle School wrote a letter to Aunt Jane said: Although I am a new student...... But I’m really touched; your love & care supported me. I promise I will work hard, be a useful person. I always thought that losing my parents meant losing everything, but with you by my side, I will not be alone, I will be strong, please believe me! ........ It is very rewarding to us that we could provide them with the spiritual comfort.

Beside the distributions of our usual grants, we implemented the special donation received from the Chengdu Century City Exhibition Center for the Sichuan scholarship program this term. Students from Qingchuan, Beichuan and Jiang You had submitted their application & the grants had been provided to Guanzhuang high school, Sanguo Middle Schools, Beichuan High School and Jiang You Senior High School total of 121 students. Due to the time constraint, we are unable to grand the funds to Muyu High School, Qingchuan Middle School and Qingchuan Senior High School. It will have to wait until the next term. The scholarship awards are given out once a year. The awards are given to students who had outstanding achievement according to their ranking at the end of the semester; the evaluation criteria is based on the students’ daily class management skills, special talent and competition in school activities. Chengdu Exhibition Centre representative Ms. Xia and our partner Mr. Mark from Beijing made a special trip to Guanzhuang Middle Schools and Sanguo Middle School to present these awards to the students in person. Special thanks to them!

Tianjin Teda volunteers Association / Charity Association provided some heartfelt postcard to the student so that the student will use them to write letters to communicate, let love pass on; another partner who is a group of people name themselves “Canadian friends” not only assist to translate our text on our website into English, also try very hard to raise funds to assist the students in Qingchuan. Therefor this semester all of the Qingchuan Senior high school’s students will receive an extra RMB100.00 grant, i.e. each of them will have RMB500.00 grant. Partners in Suzhou has sent us a box of pens to give to all students of Qingchuan, United States volunteers also brought pens all the way from their country for the students in Beichuan, tha, nk you very much

For more information and photos, please click here.

2. Gansu Province: Zhangjiachuan County (April 7th – 12th)

The best high school in Zhangjiachuan is the county’s senior high school, students are from various townships, and last year about 58% Students admitted to universities, if the college’s students are included, 80% of students have post-secondary education. We went to the school before the self-study session at night and saw many students studying sitting on the school lawn very quietly. Volunteer from Tianjin, Zhang Xinchun was moved by the students’ spontaneous hard work; the poor students’ only way out of this remote mountain area is to put their best effort in their studies. Grants were given out in the evening. When Zhang Xinchun shook hands with the students, the rough hands of the students had given him a very deep impression. The reason for the students having rough hands is they have to work in the farm too. Tsing Hua University’s graduated volunteer from Xi An, Guolei is not much older than the high school students, he used his own personal experience to help the students how to ease the pressure in their studies, to improve the efficiency of learning methods became the best example to encourage the students.

We used the two night self-study session to talks to the students & visit students’ home during the day time. In general, the natural environment of Zhangjiachuan is very poor, the road conditions were even worse; most students are living in clay houses, only one build-in bed and few furniture. Foods like potatoes & grains were stuffed inside the house, almost every house has walls and yard, toilets are “dry toilet ", there is no water. Also due to lack of water, bathing in Zhangjiachuan is really rare. The majority of students are far from the County, could not be home each week. In order to save money on their meals, nearly half of the students rent room near the school. An annual rent is around RMB1, 000; students can make their own meals. One and a half pounds of shredded noodles for RMB2.00 can last up to 2 or 3 meals. Potatoes and steamed bread brought from home is free. Three simple meals in school will cost more than RMB10.00 a day. We visited a couple of students at their modest rental home; watch them cook lunch by themselves. Just potatoes accompanied by steamed bread last them two meals. Time saved by cooking themselves will give them more time to study. Meat is rare here; the only time students can have meat is when they return home.

Zhangjiachuan 2nd Senior High School is located in the town named Long Shan; it is about 40 Kilometers from the county. The students in this school is not as positive as the 1st Senior High School, its dropout rate is quite high. We spent a night & talked to the students seriously. Told them they have to adjust their mental state; work really hard on their studies, make the best effort themselves, and then they will have a bright future. I received two letters from students today saying:" After listening to you for one night, it is better than studying for ten years. I have a strong astonishment ...” , “After the night of your visit, I have a lot of feelings ......” 。 The two students also launched a class action, each student in the class had written a small homemade heart-shaped card to send to students in the “Tomorrow program" in Sichuan. Reading these little cards one by one and their letters, we were really touched. We will let them know about the situation in Guang Xi in the next semester, there will be more of those warm small cards send to the students in Guangxi.

Although the town of Longshan is lively, but accommodation is poor, it was very sunny & warm when we were visiting the students’ home during the day, but when we returned to the county after our visits in the evening, it snowed quite heavily. We had experience the four seasons in one day. We saw the students in the County’s school only wearing flimsy school uniforms returning to their rental units in the heavy snow after their night’s self-study session, we were heart-broken that we are unable to help them more.

The two schools in Zhangjiachuan are senior high schools, the burden of th,, , , , , , e cost of livi, , ng & , tui, , , tions are higher than , the junior high schoo, ls, so we adjusted the financial support for each student to RMB500.00 per semester, i.e. RMB1, 00.00 per an academic year.

Thanks to the Tianjin’s volunteer Zhang Xinchun and Xian’s volunteer Guolei for their active participations in this trip, it was very beneficial for the 150 students in Zhangjiachuan & we no longer think this trip is too difficult.

For more information and photos, please click here.

3. Guangxi Province: Jingxi County (April 15th – 27th)

Under the support and contributions of the Lynck Foundation, the “Tomorrow-Lynck Program” in Baise City of the County Jingxi in Guangxi can be implemented smoothly. This program supported a total of 327 junior students in the Jingxi County covers the township of Longlin, Kuixu, Ande, Guole and Nanpo. Because these are the poverty areas in the national level, the government starts to supplement RMB3.00 to each elementary and junior high school students for their daily breakfast: milk, bread, porridge, eggs, and rice noodles etc. The schools work very hard on the breakfast arrangement & students love and satisfied with the daily breakfast. The incidents of students passing out not eating breakfast in order to save some money will not happened any more. The government also subsidized the students’ boarding fees, but students still don’t have enough money for lunch and di, nner in school. Poverty in, these five towns is broad, levels of poverty even more serious.

The five junior high schools were poorly equipped, the shelters in so, me schools, is 18 s, tudents per ro, o, m., seve, ral hund, , red students share only 3 simpl, e e, quipped bath rooms without hot water, the school canteen has no or n, ot enough tables and chairs. Students has to stand or squat to have their meals in the school campus or go back to their shelter rooms to eat; students live in the shelter building, teacher live in the old tile roof house or live with the students; the table tennis table is made with cement and hollow bricks and no dividing net, or the 2 sides was separated by some heavy bricks. The old of basketball stand and the table tennis are the students’ favourite game after school. All of our students live on campus, and go home during the weekend; many students’ walk 2 to 4 hours in order to get home. When they are home they have to help doing the housework: cooking, laundry, gardening, farm work, look after cattle, carry water in buckets…. they have to do every thing. Water shortage and land turning into stone desert in these areas is very serious. Farmers struggle with the sky and land to cultivate, they plant corns in between the stone cracks only make enough to support themselves, not making any income from agriculture, most of the parents had to go out to work to earn a living to support their family.

The traditional Zhuang ethnic houses known as tiled houses, is built with woods, the outside wall is pasted with mud and the roof covered with tiles. The ground level uses as a barn for animals. Second level is for living & food storage. Most of the houses are in poor conditions; leaks air & water, outside walls are broken & not repaired because of lack of money & water. In recent years the Government is implementing the subsidies for the reconstruction of these houses into brick house, the ugly brick houses take away the harmony between human and Nature, now only the poor people still lives the tile houses.

We have seen numerous poor students’ families of the “Tomorrow Program”, but this time in the home visits of the various township of Jingxi; our feelings are particularly sad. In those tile houses, we saw:

-- A junior high boy (an orphan) living with his grandparents; the grandfather has mental illness; the grandmother’s left eye is blind. They are extremely poor; their home is so empty with nothing but 4 walls. But even the walls are broken without any mud pasted on but only some small woods left.

-- An orphanage sisters are living with their grandma, the elder sister is our junior high student, and their grandmother cannot afford to buy the school supplies for the younger sister in the 3rd grade.

-- One of the student’s parents is disabled but still work in the wheat field. The old grandpa is the main man power of their home.

-- One of the student’s parents go out to work, they have no other elderlies at home, the student is like an orphan, could not see his parents all year long, but he manage to maintain their home very ti, dy &, amp; clean.

-- Living in a dangerous tile house which does not look like a house anymore, the 92 years old grandma fell down the stairs & was injured a few days ago, had been lying on the ground because they had no money for her treatment. The student’s mother left the family after gave birth to her. Her father was sent to prison due to criminal charged six months ago. The house hold burden is laid on this student’s shoulder, but she still maintained with a smile. (Donations from 4 volunteers were handed over to the principal of her school and the official of the village to arrange a doctor to help her grandma.)

-- A student’s father pass away at an early age, her mother had remarried; her grandma is the only living with her, but passed away one month ago.....

Too many extreme difficult and sad cases, make one feel heart broken. While talking to the students on late self-study session, in addition to comfort & encourage them, we also stressed the fact that they do not give up school because of their difficulties they must not give up. An Ande High School student said:" if one treats life’s difficulties as a challenge, you will bond to have the joy of success in the future." Wish the lord will acknowledge his effort.

We stayed in each school for two days; during the day time, we did the individual student interviews & visit the students’ homes; at the night time we had the group discussion with students. These villages do not have a place for us to stay, we must travel back to the county every night; the road conditions are very poor; it takes us around three hours for the round trip. We found out that all students do not have a dictionary, when a student asked us on how to learn English well. There is no bookstore in the village, one must go to the county to buy it; even for a pair of glasses; they need to go to the county. To send mails, they need to ask someone to help by going to the county. ...... The Guole and Nanpo townships do not even have a simple restaurant. Teachers had to cook lunches for us in the school’s cafeteria. We did not stay for dinner because we did not want to bother the teachers too much.

Each school now had a better knowledge about our “Tomorrow Program”. Although the level of poverty is very broad, but with the limited funding, we selected students in need of help very diligently. We had to cancel a number of better families by comparison. During the two night’s meetings in the school; besides giving out grants, we also provided great comfort and encouragement to the students. The Vice Principal of the Southern Slope High School said: “Your spiritual and material support to the students is equivalent to supporting the schools.” Thanks to the Board of Education of the Baise City and Jingxi County full support and valued the "Tomorrow Program", thanks to the volunteer Cindy Tsang and Linda Lin from Canada, as well as the Xu Huizhong from the United States, they made this special trip by traveling in poor road conditions to visit students in these poverty areas and provided kindness & care for them; thank you very much. Responding to the students facing many difficulties, Xian’s volunteer Guolei wrote in his blog on Twitter said: “I really admire these children and felt that they had helped us to improve spiritually.” I agree with his view point, their difficult situations lit up our heart to love, lead us to cherish everything around us. But not every child can face their difficulties with a smile; they are more familiar with , their feelings of lost & tears. They need our continuous care & support.

A Qingchuan students handed me a homemade card, the red colored card had two hearts on it, one heart said: , "HAPPY” and the other Heart said: “Thank you for your care and love, I have, a feeling that our future will be bright.” He not only wrote the princip, les of the "Tom, orrow Program" which are to help the children to grow happily and to light up their confidence & hope for the future; he also thanks all the partners involved.

The scholarship fund have been granted & completed this term. Thank you for your support and help, thank you for bringing the lights of tomorrow for these children.

For more information and photos, please click here.

Best regards,

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program CEO

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Report on Education-Assistance of autumn 2011 - October 27, 2011

The Autumn 2011 Education-Assistance Project of Tomorrow Program has came to a complete conclusion. This year we have added new assistance projects and regions. The following is a detailed report of this program.

I - Employment Assistance Project

In Spring 2011 the Compal Group of Taiwan and Tomorrow Program reached preliminary agreement to jointly provide employment assistance to the high school graduates of the impoverished areas. The focus is on those who have been admitted to universities and colleges but have to give up because they cannot afford the expensive tuition fees; for those who are good in conduct but have not been admitted to the university, Compal Group will provide training opportunity and a certain number of job positions.

On 30th August 2011, Mr. Zhao, Human Resources Manager of the Compal Group accompanied by Ms. Tricia Lin, Executive Director of Tomorrow Program, visited the Yanyuan Ethnic Middle School of the Yanyuan County of Liangshan District of Sichuan Province. The first batch of student applicants who were recommended by the teachers and the school, having passed the interview, have already started their training program at the Kunshan Factory of the Compal Group.

Thanks to the Compal Group for providing employment opportunities and living assistance to the children of the impoverished mountain areas, and made exceptions to provide them with transportation from Yanyuan to Shanghai, allowing them to leave the Da Liang Shan and move toward the hopeful future. We hope that next year, our cooperation with the school will be more proficient and smooth.

II - Sichuan Education-Assistance Project – Qingchuan, Beichuan

1. Autumn Education-Assistance

The beginning of the school term every Autumn is the busiest time for us. A group of junior-high school graduates in Qingchuan County were not able to get into high school. We have to follow up, check and update the data and continue with our assistance. Another group of new students joined Tomorrow Program, and the list was updated after our interview, home visits, and checking. This time, 117 new students were added to the list, of which 36 were from Sanguo Middle School, 52 from Guanzhuang High School, and 19 from Beichuan National High School.

High school students were mainly from the Qingchuan High School of Qiaozhuang town of Qingchuan County and Qingchuan No.1 High School of Zhuyuan town. The rest were scattered among Guangyuan, Jiangyou and Chengdu. Most of the students from Beichuan National High School were admitted to the new Beichuan High School. Since the new Beichuan High School have very good conditions and can apply for school subsidy and government subsidy, we decided to discontinue with our subsidies to them, and leave the quota to students who are more in need of assistance.

The new students added in this school term, apart from being from a poor family, also have various difficult situations: father or mother had died or divorced, disabled, sick, working out of town; 3 students’ mother have serious neurosis, the student lived with other family, was adopted, having disability, and there were many students who stayed home alone; one student’s home was destroyed by fire and lost all belongings, the other student’s home which had just been rebuilt after earthquake was washed away by the flood that happened to Qingchuan……… In his “my autobiography” a first year junior-high student wrote: “My family has 2 persons, me and my father. My father earns money out of town to maintain my schooling expenses. He does not come home too often. In the process of my growing up, some schoolmates said that I am a child without mother. I always treated them with my fist. I always feel that I do not have maternal love, my soul is not complete.”

With the price of everything soaring, the meal cost of the school canteen is also on the rise. Most of the male students did not eat enough. Although the schools are reconstructed new buildings with bath rooms, hot water is not available for student’s bath. Basically, junior-high students return home once a week, the high school students usually return home once a month or even longer due to high transportation costs and high stress from school works; yet some students did not have a bath room at home to use.

The difficulty and misfortune in live have caused tremendous psychological shadow to the children. Facing the misfortune and tears they have, apart from teaching them how to face difficulties and manage their emotion, giving them spiritual comfort and encouragement is most important. Therefore, except Qingchuan High School which was having examination, we have arranged two evenings self-study time in other schools for us to talk with the students.

After continuous psychological counseling and care, the progress made by the children were remarkable; they became more self-confident, more focused and happier every school term. Their progress brought us great comfort. Last school term auntie Tricia taught them not to be shy and to ask questions in class, beware of and correct from one’s shortcoming………. , this time, some children told us: they begin to like more who they are now, they have made big progress in their school works. A few of the students privately asked auntie Jiang if they can be the volunteer of Tomorrow Program in future. This has touched us very much. The principal of Guanzhuang Middle School said having seen us is just like having seen the life-saving straw, and he said: “firstly, you subsidized the poor students, secondly, your guidance to the students also helped the school.”

This year, we have 15 high school graduates, 9 of them were admitted to university, colleges (Yunnan University, Chengdu Chinese Medicine University, Xihua Teachers University etc.), 2 repeated the high school last year class, 4 could not be contacted. We have 94 third year junior-high students in Qingchuan, 86 of them were admitted to high school, which is 91.5%. In Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, we have 39 junior-high graduates, and 24 of them were admitted to high school, which is 61.5%. Up until now, total of 18 of our subsidized students have become university [college] students.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s Youth Activities Centre has completed at last. Although it is far from well equipped as we anticipated, yet we are thankful to Mr. Hanqing of TCL China and Professor Alice Zhang of Beijing University for their donation of two 65” multi-media TV, which were placed on both sides of the stage of the hall.

Our thanks to Mr. Liu Zejun of Kelun Pharmaceutical for the arrangement of transportation for Madam Tricia Lin and the volunteers of Beijing to Muyu town of Qingchuan county on 18th September, and to Mr. Wang Li of Guantao Law Firm for the transport, ation arrangement made for us to Leigu town of Beichuan on 27th September. Our appreciation to the hard works and contributions of all the volunteers: Tricia Lin, Zhou Xian, Liu Yang to Qingchuan; Tricia Lin, Wang Jiahong, Rachel Lu to Beichuan.

2. Revisit to Guanzhuang

On 13th October, Tricia Lin together with Tomorrow Program committee member Mr. Ma Ke, a friend of Mr. Ma Ke from Beijing and the volunteers returned to Guanzhuang Middle School to meet with the 95 students of our program. At the same time, we tried to understand the needs of the school: such as school uniforms, chairs for the assembly hall, blinds for the classrooms, office computers, solar water heaters, multimedia equipments… etc. etc. After asking assistance from various sources by Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing, we will provide Guanzhuang Middle School with 10 solar water, heater. The students of the school will now be able to have hot water bath! In addition, in accordance with the purpose of expenditure designated by the fund donors, we will, starting from the next school term, provide different types of scholarship to students of Tomorrow Program, including: Outstanding Results Scholarship, Progress in Study Scholarship and Special Scholarship (special talent and skill, capability in class affairs management, participation and performance in school and daily activities).

We thank Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing for having brought 5,000 sets of tooth brush and towel to the five schools in Qingchuan under Tomorrow Program: 1 set for each student of Muyu, Guanzhuang and Sanguo junior-high school; 1,500 sets for Qingchuan High School, 1,200 set for Qingchuan No. 1 High Sch, ool, 200 set for Guanzhuang Welfare Home (orphans and widowed senior citizen).

III - Gansu Education-Assistance Project – Zhangjiachuan

The Guangxi Province Jingxi County education-assistance project was originally scheduled to start this school term but due to certain essential conditions not met with, its execution was temporized. A teacher Mr. Wang who had long been serving education-assistance of the western region gave us urgent notice that the poor students of Zhangjiachuan urgently need assistance. As such, we started the trip of education-assistance for the Zhangjiachuan County of Tianshui City, Gansu Province .

Zhangjiachuan is the national level poverty stricken county, lo, cated at the loess steep slope between Lanzhou and Xi’an. Its state of impoverishment is serious. The local transportation is inconvenient, rail and highway transportation have to be transferred from Tianshui city. In order to save time and avoid taking 16 – 17 hours of train to Tianshui, we first flown to Xi’an on 15th October, then took the bus in the morning of 16th to Tianshui, and again changed car to arrive at Zhangjiachuan, which took the whole day.

The Zhangjiachuan climate was dry, the residents were mostly of the Hui tribe. During the 12/May earthquake, some of the adobe houses were seriously damaged. With the 10,000 RMB aid from the national government, most families used bricks to build the outside wall, the home of some students were still abode house, the whole family slept on the, abode bed with a fire underneath for heating. Zhangjiachuan First High School was located at the county. The 79 students of tomorrow Program all came from various town and country of the county, too wide an area for home visits. We could only do home visits to those closer to the county. The fact is the further away from the county, the worse the impoverishment.

About half of our students do not live at the school, they rent a house close to the school together with their siblings or classmates. The rent is between 800-1200 RMB each year, the reason being: save on living expenses. Living at the school, besides paying the resident fee, has to eat at the school canteen, usually 2 rmb for breakfast, 4-5 rmb each for lunch and dinner, total 12 rmb per day, cheaper than Qingchuan, but the student’s family still cannot afford the monthly victual fee of 300-400 rmb. Therefore, they rent a house outside, go home once every 2-3 weeks and brought back 50-60 catty victuals of flour, oil and pickles, and make steamed buns or noodles as their 3 meals every day. Many students said they do not have sufficient time to do home works after going to and from school every day and doing the 3 meals.

Whether living in the dorm or renting a house, our students basically do not have meat to eat; there are also students who brought back steamed buns from home and spent 2-6 RMB to eat at school but cannot fill up their stomach.

The living environment of Zhangjiachuan is not good, the students family all have many children, with 2-6 siblings, some go to school and live together at a rented room, some work to subsidize the home expenses. The parents are all peasants, but will go to wor, k at Xinjiang, Lanzhou o, r locally after the harvest. Most of them are illiterate or just finished primary school.

The students and teachers were very excited by our visits and counseling, very curious, since there was not any other education assistance organization like us who spend 2 nights of self-study time every school term to talk to them and let them feel the sincere love and care. In the autobiography, one student wrote: “In th, is Zhangjiachuan that is surrounded by mountains, only studies can bring me out of the big mountains to the new world. There are too many mountains here, one after the other pressing on me that made me difficult to breath and unable to find the way out. Mountain after mountain isolated us from the outside world., ” These stud, ents , must, help out the farm work when they return home: work in the fields, cooking, wash clothes, walk , several ki, lometer, s to carry wat, er ho, me to f, i,, ll up several e, a, rthen con, tainers [no t, ap water] ……… Another student whose parents work out of town has to go home every week to take care of the old grand parents wrote in his autobiography: “Many a time, I longed for my father and mother, yet I could only look at the mountains in front of my home, stood there for a long time and stared at the distant place. Sometimes, I wanted very much to give up myself [my studies] to help out the family.” This is the common voice of the heart of the, students. The arrival of Tomorrow Program let them, see the hope as well as driven their determination to persevere in their studies.

"I wanted to buy some books but a, fraid that my parents cannot afford, and let them have added burden.” “I can only watch anxiously classmates use learning tools with powerful functions.” These are the common problems of the majority of the Tomorrow Program students. Fortunately, the students of all the schools must wear school uniform, they are all equal in attire.

During the conversations held in the 2 evenings, the questions brought up by the students of Zhangjiachuan first High School included: Is it useful to study hard? When can my father end his trip working out of town for the whole , family? When, can my family live a good time? Can I let them have a good living? My mother has had neurosis for over 10 years, my father has to support my schooling and work hard for the whole family, sometimes when he told me how hard he worked, I did not know what to do?

The Zhangjiachuan Second High School at Longshan County, the poverty condition of the 50 students under our program is more or less the same, or even goes beyond.

Living condition in Longshan town is very bad. For safety sake, the teachers of First High School suggested that we live at the hotel in the county. Much to the thanks of the donations given by the Lynck Foundation of America, the children living in this far away loess ground received care and assistance. There are more students in Second high school that need help. Next school term, we will add more students to the program.

Ⅳ - Summary and Prospect

The Tomorrow Program will be entering the fourth year, currently there are close to 500 students in subsidy (excluding university students, high sc, hool graduates and 3rd year junior-high graduates of Beichuan Ethnic Middle School). The principle that we have persisted in the past 3 years is: do not let the students being helped to feel that they were helped or sympathized, but were being cared for, loved and cou, nseled. We believe we have achieved this principle because there is nothing more important than the children’s dignity. It is because of this many children’s letter to us mentioned: “proud to be a member of the Tomorrow Program family, will definitely pass on the love in the future…………… "

In these 3 years, our greatest wish is being able to provide high school students with 1,600 RMB stipend each year. With price of things soaring, and the high school students must pay the school fees, 800 rmb stipend each year is far from sufficient, but our wish are yet to be realized until now. We always used the limited funds to help more students as there are too many who need help. It is this reason that this year we will not give stipend to university students.

Currently, we do not have the manpower and funds to hold fund raising event (because 100% of the funds raised will be used as stipend, unless the donors have other specific usage), nor do we wish to send individual reminders that may cause psychological burden to the donors. The progress made by the children and their happiness are our greatest motivation, the continuous donations from everyone is the primary factor for us to be able to persist. We and the children look forward to your help.

For more information and photos, please click here.

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Report on Spring Visit - April 6, 2011

This winter seems to be longer than usual; I (Tricia Lin) & the Beijing volunteers landed in the low temperature Muyu Village on Mar 20th. The road conditions in Qingchuan’s state were much better compared to last fall, but the road conditions from Guanzhuang to Sanguo and from the township to Muyu were still very poor & devastating, the 4 wheels drive vehicle which the Kelun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. used to , drive us from Chengdu, it was originally black & shinny, by the time we reached Mu Yu, it turned into brown color & very muddy. There were a few houses being build on the streets of various villages and towns, but mostly were restored. The reconstruction crew members from Zhejiang already left; therefore the shops & restaurants were much quiet & not very many street pedestrians in the area.

We still follow the previous visit procedure of staying in each school for two nights to talk to the students, upon the request of the teacher; we interviewed students individually & visited their family. We enrolled 23 new students in the Mu Yu Middle School,, 29 new students in Guan Zhuang, the 52 new students were either very poor, have single parent or an orphan. Almost all of them are first level junior high students. The teachers said the “Tomorrow program” is Qingchuan’s only charitable organization supporting the students; it not only provided the financial (material) support but also provided the mental support & warm care for the students. “Tomorrow program” became the only hope for those students.

The majority students of Mu Yu Middle School and San Guo Middle School are still shy, self cautious & very quiet, but the trust and the smiling faces shown that they were not afraid & had courage to face difficulties. Last semester, the school principal requested us to talk to the students, emphasized on the topics of responsibility, discipline, conduct & respect; we now saw the big change in the students of Guan Zhuang High School. This time we saw all students were role models, they were very energetic, polite, dedicated, concentrated in listening, out spoken, participated in group discussion enthusiastically, very bright & happy.....it was really lovely. Orphan Liu Yan shown sadness when were leaving, she hugged us with tears, Huang Lu (boy, junior high 3rd grad) waited for us in a reporting room in front of the school gate, gave us 2 gifts which his mother had spent two months to complete, they were a very beautiful cross stitching scenery embroidery and two pairs of shoe pads.

Last semester we enrolled two special children in Guan Zhuang Middle School: Wang Bin (first grad junior high, orphan, lives in the orphanage) and Jia Guangju (first grad junior high, abandoned since childhood, foster father was injured in the earth quake), When we did the first day evening roll-call, we realized Jia Guangju had to discontinue her study & gone home because she could not afford the school’s books fees and Wang Bin had to run between his orphanage & the school 3 times a day in order to get his daily meals. I and teacher arranged the “Tomorrow Program” to pay for these two children’s annual boarding and lodging, and waived their miscellaneous school expenses. The next day, the teacher arranged Jia Guangju’s foster father to bring her return to school immediately. Wang Bin started to live a normal life in school as the other students. In addition, Wang Bin’s orphanage was actually a “Welfare home”, they had three orphans & 98 widowed seniors. The Guan Zhuang Middle school teacher promised me that they will arrange a program for the student to go to the Welfare home each month. The program included the student to sing & talk to the seniors, to show they care for them & will bring happiness to the seniors; this will also raise our student’s compassion and the social sense of responsibility.

The last visit in Qingchuan was Qingchuan Senior High School in the town of Zhuyuan & Qingchuan Technical High School. One of our partners, Chengdu Kelai Software Company joined our journey, they brought about 50 colleague’s hand written blessing & encouragement cards, and it warmed each student’s heart. Mr. Roy Luo told the students about his struggle in life in the past, the students were deeply touched & moved by his story. Everyone made inquiries to him enthusiastically, the young & low profile Roy reply each one of them patiently. One of the student send a short note to him said: “Big brother Luo, thanks to your help! This is a new starting point for me & it is very meaningful to me!”

Our high-school pupils were all very rational, they seemed mature & clever, but they were under a lot of stress, their mind was always struggling with how to handle the abundance of school work, family problems & the psychological trauma after the earth quake, some child’s father had traffic accident, some mothers had surgery, some child’, s newly built house was washed away by last year flood disaster, still lives in the shed, some students thought being “not se, lfish” studied, in the Qingchuan Technical High School so that they can save, money to treat their sick father, but their father still pass away. Some parents always disagreed with each other ect........。When they briefly talked to me privately, the bright smiling face disappeared; some students did not know what to tell me, all they can do was to reach into my arm with their tears in their eyes and said: “Aunty Jane, could you stay one more day?”。At the point of departure, the children insisted to see us off at our hotel nearby the school & would not leave until we , enter the hotel. We started our group discussion in the school at 6:30 pm; by the time we returned to the hotel was 10:00 pm already.

On March 30th, we went to the Jiangyou Senior High to meet with two students and had lunch with them. Immediately we rushed to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village afterwa, rds. The mountain road was still difficult, the reconstruction there still behind, and the entire Yu Li township was still a big constructio, n site. The youth activity center of the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School estimated to complete & ready for use on June 1st. The “Tomorrow Program” students in the Ethnic Middle School had shown great improvement similar to the students in Guan Zhuang Middle school. The drop-out rate in the Ethnic Middle Sc, hool is always high, their teacher told us: Many student can continue school was due to the support by the “Tomorrow Program”, it not only provided the financial support, but also given the students encouragement, love & care. The road condition was still very poor; we could not reach many of the student’s family, even with the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the schools of Qingchuan & Beichuan, our discussion was based on problems mentioned in the letters which we received from the students. We taught them how to solve their problems for lacked of self confident, not sociable, self cautious, follow others blindly, outrage easily, pessimistic, too open, judge others without thinking clearly, could not concentrate in class, try very hard to study but no improveme, nt, their parents always argue, some divorced, loss of their family members (hatred feelings, thought the world is unfair), afraid of their school result could not reach the standard for the senior high or university entrance, worried that their support from the “Tomorrow Program” will be cancelled, did not know how to get along with their friends, did not know how to handle puberty problems etc. When the children told us their deep secrets in their mind signified their trust in us. Our ultimate goal which we work really hard & endure to achieve is to help these children by taking care of them, listen to them patiently, and offer them with long term counseling & support.

,

Thanks to Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association & Colasoft Co., Ltd. Chengdu’s continue support, deeply appreciate your dedications.

Please click here to see the pictures of related activities:

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Fall Semester Report - November 2, 2010

Due to the flooding situation in Qingchuan, our trip was postponed. Thanks to the driving arrangement made by Mr. Liu Ze Jun of the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, we were able to go to the Qingchuan’s Mu Yu Village on Oct 11 & to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village on Oct 27 by car. We also like to thank all the volunteers from Tianjin and Qinghua University’s as well as Lu Yi Jun in the office of "Tomorrow Program", we considered our visits to Qingchuan & Beichuan were successful.

There were a lot of changes in the schools of Qingchuan County and its students, Sanguo Middle School is the only school which has junior & senior high levels, and the senior high section had been moved to a new Qingchuan First High School in the town of Zhuyuan. Most of our junior high graduates passed the entrance exam of the Qingchuan First High School, 3 students admitted into the Qingchuan Vocational High School, 3 students got into the Jiangyou High School and Jiangyou Middle School in Jiangyou. A majority of our Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s junior high graduates got into the New Beichuan High School.

Within the 16 high school graduate students in the "Tomorrow Program", 10 students admitted into universities & colleges such as Sichuan International Studies University, Xinjiang Tarim University and University for Science &Technology Sichuan etc. One student had to give up university because she cannot afford the huge tuition fee. Two students had to repeat the 3rd year of Senior High, and we lost contact with four students. Bai Xiu Fang’s dream of going to university was broken, because she cannot afford the university expenses, she has to work in a restaurant & help supporting her family with her salary of RMB600.00 per month. The situation of Wang Wan Hon who came from a very poor family is not very optimistic either. Therefore I encouraged & emphasized to the students from extremely difficult families to apply for the vocational high schools not the regular high schools.

Starting from this semester, we had subsidized each high school students RMB800.00 per year, i.e. RMB400.00 per semester. For the university students, we had subsidized RMB1, 000.00 per year and the scholarships for this semester had been distributed already.

The Qingchuan road condition was very poor due to the flooding disaster in August. Some students’ families were affected. Besides visiting the Mu Yu Middle School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo Middle school and Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan First High School, we also stayed in each school for two nights to talk to the students. We found 5 senior high & transferred students from the Qiaozhuang’s Qingchuan Middle School and the Qiao Zhuang Junior High School, also found 3 students from the Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan Vocational High School; they were all very surprised, excited & emotional to see us.

All the teachers assisted in the "Tomorrow Program" pleaded us to enroll more students into our program. Due to the limited time we had, we interviewed some new applicants and also did some home visits in order to verify the qualification of these applicants. We then decided to accept three orphans (two from Guanzhuang, one from Beichuan and 3 children who have serious physical disabilities as our new students, the remaining applicants, will have to wait until our next trip. Because of the limited funds in our program & there are a lot of children required our support, I must select our new students very carefully & discretely. I hope that every one will help in raising more donations and let the “Tomorrow Program” continue to support more children.

Although majority of our students are still shy & not sociable, but comparing to the last semester, they are doing better; they are more lively, open and mature. The Mu Yu Middle School’s students sang to us "A Thankful heart" loudly together; Guanzhuang’s orphan Liu Yan, , Liu Xin Yang hugged & talked to me initiatively, they are no longer self cautious (autistic) comparing to two year ago. After my speech of the topics "Responsibilities" and "The courage to take , ew Qingchuan First High School (originally from the Guanzhuang Mi, ddle School and the Sanguo Middle schools), Yang Biao, Li Yang, Xu Hong Mei (an ophan), stood up immediately to take on the responsibilities as our environmental protection’s team leader and vice team leader, they took an oath to ensure the green environment status in the school, and also promise to let the spirits of the "Tomorrow Program" continue in the future. Bai Xing Li also stood up and said to everyone: "I would be the first one to take on the responsibility if I do not have the heavy load of school work in my 3rd senior high year". For the past two years, the growth & change in our students touched me very deeply.

The principal of the Guanzhuang Middle School & I had a very lengthy conversation. He indicated that he & his teachers are very worried about most of the students in the 9th grade for their bad habits and behavior & psychological problems, giving the teachers headaches & challenges. They do not know how to guide the students sometimes. After the earthquake, these students were assigned and transferred to different locations in the big cities in China for almost half a year. These students suffered psychological turmoil and their behavior have changed as a result. They do not seem to be able to concentrate in class. Principal Yang said that the “Tomorrow Program” shows a great deal of love toward students, which is rare from other charity organizations in the disaster area, the thorough, careful, and continuous patience in caring for the students from the Program has won trust from all teachers at school! Therefore, they hoped that we can continue our teaching to the students in the "Tomorrow Program", enable them to become the role models for other students, and lead them to achieve the highest standards set forth by the educational goal of school.

The situation in the Guanzhuang Middle School also happened in the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School in the village of Yuli, Beichuan County. Therefore we talked to students in Beichuan about "conduct, discipline, respect and appreciate everything etc…" Hoped this will help. In consideration of the safety water level of the Tang Jia Shan quake-lake, reconstructions & rebuilding of the Yuli village is very slow after the disaster. The only lifeline mountain road connecting the Yuli village & Leigu town in the rainy days is very dangerous & difficult to drive thru. When we were going back to the Leigu Town , we could not even go uphill in the muddy & slippery road, we had to relied on a large excavator to pull our car up, it was a very dangerous experience. The normal driving time for the approximately 30 kilometers mountain journey is about 2 hours, it took us nearly 5 hours to reach town, the Jiang Yu Senior high school’s students waited from noon until 4 p.m. to meet us.

This semester, the students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School had moved to the new campus, but due to the heavy rain & mudslide, the construction of youth center in the new campus is behind schedule. The two 65" large-screen televisions donated by TCL’s Mr. Han Qing and Beijing University Professor Zhang Hai Xia will be installed once the youth center is completed.

Lately, the television news reported on the Sichuan disaster area’s "Three years reconstruction, two years completion" program shown some beautiful images of the rebuilt villages and towns, but it is a pity those villages that our schools located were not the first priority to be rebuild for the new sightseeing locations, the streets in our school villages are still under construction, dust & mud were everywhere on the streets. Rebuilding of schools was completed, but some of our student’s families still live in the temporary prefabricated houses.

The New China Net dated September 26, 2010 reported that the low income family high-school students are being included in the Chinese Government’s national subsidizing system. Each student will be provided an average of RMB1, 500.00 per year. We have a total of 74 senior high students, more than 200 junior high students. Within the 74 students, only 3 from the Qingchuan Vocational High students received the government’s RMB1, 5000.00 subsidies. The remaining 71 students did not get any subsidy at all. All junior & senior high students lodge in school, the cost for the meals in the school cafeteria is RMB6.00 for the meat dish, RMB4.00 for the vegetarian dish & RMB3.00 for the breakfast, the daily meals cost a total of about RMB13.00 to RMB15.00 (for the male students it could not fill their stomach sometimes), that means the basic living expenses is about RMB400.00 to RMB500.00 per month. The senior high students had to pay for the RMB2, 000.00 tuition fees annually. The cost to take a bath in school is RMB3.00, in consideration of the student’s dignity; I did not ask them how often they take bath in school. Qingchuan high-school students go home once a month to get their living expenses from parents, but the transportation fee cost them RMB25.00 one-way to go home.

Our Guanzhuang student, Wang Bin (junior high school, orphan, lives in an orphanage), MuYu student, Wang Ming Shing (junior high school, both parents are disable, lives with his aunt since childhood), they could not afford the school’s living expenses, therefore the school made a special exception for them not to lodge in school, they have to go back to orphanage or aunt’s place three times a day for their meals & back to school for the self study sessions in the evening.

The 5.12 earthquake has passed for two and a half years, but the affected difficult families still struggle in poverty, our students grow in difficulties, we cannot imagine the stress & the pressure they feel. I have taught them how to treasure & love themselves, how to face the difficult challenges in their lives, how to manage their emotional turmoil etc..... But in fact, they are the ones who taught me. I have learned & testify from them how to be thankful, strong & firm as well as love in life. In front of our students, I became more humble.

All parents are trying their best to come up with the RMB300-500.00 monthly living expenses for their children, their goal is to see their, children graduate from high school, admit to universities or colleges in order to leave the mountain area, have a bright future. At present, although the "Tomorrow Program" supports each student with only RMB800.00 per year, but the students and their families appreciate our help & encouragement, they see a future for their children through our help. Thanks to your continuous helps in raising funds diligently for these children, your hard works provide hopes & opportunities for them and other children on the waiting list to join "Tomorrow Program".

The father of Fan Yu Fei, a simple farmer, sends me a short note: "Yu Fei’s Aunty Jane, you are so nice to Yu Fei, I really don’t know how to repay you. Hope that some day Yu Fei will repay you, but he is disabled, I will not forget your kindness for the rest of my life." (Note: Fan Yu Fei’s left arm was amputated because of the earthquake, graduated from Mu Yu middle school last year, passed the entrance exam from the Jiangyou High School with excellent result.)

We do not need and never think of any returns from these students, but this is a father’s sincere appreciation to all our donors.

Because of the limited time we had, we only held group discussion for two nights in each school during the students self-study periods, many students did not speak up or talk to me directly, I did not know how they felt about the “Tomorrow Program”, also did not know if the program had help them psychologically. But couple of days ago, The always quiet & never smile Ho Cheng Tao (his mother passed away in the earthquake, 10th grade senior high student) sent me a short message: "Auntie Jane, heard you have gone to Beichuan, the weather there is getting cold, please take good care of yourself & wish you have a safe trip". Another student Yang Xia Feng admitted to the Sichuan International Studies University), in the short note said that, "I am not the one that can express myself easily, but through the times we spent together; I already consider you as one of my family members!". I finally knew the deepest feelings of these quiet children….. Only the continuous love and care in the long term can really warm and light up students’ heart, and therefore only with your continuous support can Tomorrow Program accompany these under-privileged children in the disaster area move forward to a tomorrow of love and hope.

Please click on the links below to see the pictures of related activities:

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Spring Semester Report - Beichuan Ethnic Middle School - April 17, 2010

When the "Tomorrow Program" first started the scholarship project last September, we could only start from the three schools in Qingchuan County, because of our shortage of funds. (at that time we do not even have enough funds for this semester.) Therefore we did not distribute the scholarship to the 90 students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School last time. Although it was delayed a semester, but we are happy that these students are able to receive the scholarship simultaneously with the students in Qingchuan this semester.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School is located in the village of Yuli (Da Yu’s native place) in Beichuan County, it is in the northwest remote mountains of Beichuan old town ruins (after the earthquake, the town ruins had been closed), Yuli village is very remote, transportation is inconvenient, the mountain road is very steep & dangerous, vary difficult for driving. The present mountain road is dug out after the earthquake by the 2nd missile army who sacrificed some soldiers, as a temporary connecting road. On April 14th Rachel (Lu Yi Jun) and I started our journey. Thanks to Mr. Liu Ze Jun of the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, who provided us with a vehicle to Mianyang. In consideration of the dangerous mountain road, we were transferred from Mianyang to Yuli by a local driver who is familiar with the road condition using the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, from the school principal, teachers & students are almost all Qiang ethnic, within the 90 students, there is only one Tibetan ethnic, three Han, ,, , , ethn, ic, . The students s, ti, ll attended clas, se, s,, in the prefabricated te, mporary , buildings, it is estimated the new campus will be finished during the summer vacation. All students lodge in the school, more than 20 students lived in a small room. The principal, teachers and their family also live in the school as well. It is very difficult for one to imagine how these several tiny little rooms are used for all the activities such as class rooms, boarding rooms & eating areas etc… by several hundreds students & teachers together.

Because of the difficult environment, the rate of school transferring and drop out is very high. Besides providing the scholarship and organized the "Tomorrow Program’s" environmental protection team, we also spent more time to counsel students to be persistent in completing the junior high school, then go to senior high or vocational college. More than one third of our ninety sponsored students are single parented, (Father or mother passed away in the earthquake or die in sickness), three orphans, others are all very poor. In the remote mountain country side, outside care & support was very limited, but these students have not been, forgotten by us, the determined teachers were also looking forward for their future too. (Move to the new campus in September)

, , A couple o, f days ago, A te, acher fro, m , the Guanzhuang Mid, , dle School, called me and sa, id: “T, hese couple o, f days the Qingchuan County’s Bureau of Education initiates the county-wide teachers and students fund raising event for the serious drought in the southwest. The students in "Tomorrow Program" were moved by your environmental protection education & your information about the disaster in Yun Nan & Gui Zhou Provinces; they were very keen on willing to make a donation. They became the role model of the entire sc, hool. Two orphans (Liu Yan, Liu Xin Yang) contributed RMB50.00 each. It was their one week’s living expenses. More over the entire school’s teachers were touched by the "Tomorrow Program’s students." After I learned the above story, I was very surprised & moved. I was very proud of them, but on the other hand my heart was aching for their contributions, I know it was a lot of money to them. Love is contagious, our sponsored students became a social responsible person & love transmitter. They continue to affect others as role models of the entire school.

Thanks to the entire members of the Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association and the Charity Association who had work very hard to help in raising funds for supporting the students of "Tomorrow Program"!

Thanks to the donations from Colasoft Co., Ltd., as well as the entire staff’s kindness!

Thanks to Carter/TCL Company’s donation and support!

Thanks to all individual donors and their love!

It is because of you, the 300 students in the "Tomorrow Program" will receive love & support in the next school year. (September 2010 to June 2011).

Please click here to see the pictures of the related activities.

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Spring Semester Report - Qingchuan - April 6, 2010

It is time to report the spring visit on the children in the “Tomorrow Program”. Two volunteers from Beijing, two from Tianjin, one from Cheng Du and I (Tricia Lin), total of 6 of us visited Qingchuan on March 28th for a week.

We made the home visits during daytime to understand their current situations. In the evening hours from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m., we went to the school to talk to our students together. Each student were all withstanding lots of pressure from the abundance schoolwork and the poor family situation, therefore besides providing them encouragement, making them know we care for them and teaching them to love themselves, I also requested each student to wrote down their worries, questions and problems, we will try to answer or solve the problems for them the next evening.

The funds of RMB200 had been distributed completely. Because of the lack of commodities & rising prices in the disaster area, our students boarding expenses is RMB50.00 to RMB70.00 per week, i.e. RMB200.00 to 300.00 per month. I have informed the teachers that the “Tomorrow Program” will provide each student with RMB800.00 per year, RMB400.00 per semester starting next semester (from September 2010).

In order to catch up with this year’s inspection in the 5.12 disaster area by the central g, ov, ernment leaders, the entire Qingchuan County was basically a big construction site, rebuilding streets & houses, taking off the temporary houses & prefabricated houses were seen everywhere, the road conditions were in extreme chaos. This year the drought in the Southwest also created water shortage in Qingchuan, the water flows from rivers run around the mountains were very little; we also encountered the water shortage problem in the hotels of Guanzhuang and Muyu.

Various schools situation:

1. Sanguo Middle schools: During the last October’s visit, students were having classes in tents, but now they moved into the new campus. The new small campus could not accommodate the classes and boarding usage for the entire 1,500 students, therefore starting from this September, the senior high section will move to a distant 2 hours driving Zhuyuan. We have to spend more time on these visits in the future. The senior students will be further away from home. More than half of the families’ houses were being rebuilt (the house’s foundation must be completed before they could receive the government grant of RMB16, 000.00 to RMB19, 000.00); some families moved into the new houses but some were unable to finish the rebuilding. Some families were so poor that they have nothing at all; they had to live in their old damaged houses. In particular one high school student Wang Wan Hong’s family is extremely poor, her mother is mentally disable, her old age grandfather even made us really worried. The teacher emphasized to me many times that the “Tomorrow Program” not just provided the money but continued to offer care & psychological counsel to the students, result in their good standing in every aspect. He is deeply impressed.

2. Guanzhuang Middle School: The 90 students were more active, lovely & grown much taller comparing to our last visit. Our environmental protection team had made very outstanding achievements, the team leader Yang Ming Qiang wrote down the principles & objectives of the environmental protection team in his working diary, established small groups, assigned daily works for each group such as watering flowers in the garden, cleaning the school & recycling trashes. They managed to sell the recycled products, made an accumulated total of RMB57.00 so far. I also contributed RBM57.00 for them to purchase plant seeds for the school in order to encourage them to continue to work harder in creating a green environment for the school. Student’s family housing situation was similar with Sanguo, more than half of the new houses still not rebuild completely, and some families still lived in the ply wood rooms. The distance for the family visits was further away & the road condition was very bad. The only road in town was full of mud; the hotel did not have enough water. Only a tiny stream of water was flowing in the river, one could see the bottom of the river. Guanzhuang was the heavy disaster area; on May 12, Premier Wen Jia Bao or other central leaders may come to inspect this area, therefore teachers were very busy, luckily this did not affected our home visits and conversation with the students.

3. Muyu Middle School: In order to coordinate with 5.12’s inspection, despite the fact that the new campus not build completely; the school had moved from the temporary prefabricated classrooms to the new campus. The environmental protection team o, f the “Tomorrow Program” in Muyu needed to be strengthen, I have requested our acting teachers to offer some jobs for the students, and lead them to work on the environmental protection issues, many students still lived in the temporary ply wood rooms. A Family of four lived in the narrow and small room, , only two beds and some untidy things; the old grandfather cried very sadly, , these situatio, , , , ns made us felt heart broken. The students were simil, ar to the Guanzhu, ang students, , comparing to the days , before, they we, r, e more, liv, ely, more opened and their academic achievemen, t was better. The students’ problems were more or less the same as the schools in Sanguo and Guanzhuang, it was mostly about the pressure in their studies, the family poor background, their parents could not get along, memories of their dead family members, conflict between friends, felt inferior & self cautious etc., I felt that our home visits & group discussion sessions in school should have help them. Most importantly they, trusted the “Tomorrow Program" will continue to provide them the support, care, encouragement & dignity.

Yesterday, Wang Wan Hong sent me a short message: “I strongly believed that I will be courageous like an American hawk in my life in the future, because I have Auntie Jane, you gave me love, and my life can certainly be more splendid!” (The Americas hawk was a story I told to the students). I believed when we saw the psychological comfort in these students, is our biggest joy.

Thanks to the Tianjin Binhai New developed area’s charitable Association and the volunteers association to help in raising funds in supporting the students in “Tomorrow Program”!

Thanks to the Beijing volunteer Ye Yi in raising the donations of the chocolates for the students, the 210 students received 3 packages each.

Please click here to see the pictures of the related students’ activities.

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, only ate a single meal each day. I felt bad about doing this to Guizhi. I am very grateful for and touched by everything that Guizhi did for the “Tomorrow program”.

3. Guanxi Province Napo County

From Nanning, it takes nearly seven hours to reach Napo City by bus. After we had eaten our lunch / dinner at a restaurant, we arrived at Napo National High School at 6:20pm.

Napo National High School has nearly 2000 students. Self study begins at 7pm, but by 6:30pm, the campus was already filled with the voices of students reading aloud. On the first night, a child approached me privately and asked, “My family’s financial situation has improved. Can I give up my spot for another student in my class? Her mother is disabled, so her father has to support all three children by himself. She often doesn’t have enough money to eat.” After confirming that her family’s financial situation has indeed improved, I accepted her request. She only wanted to participate in the two nights of gatherings and lectures we have each semester, even though she was no longer receiving any grants. I was touched. On the second night, I used this as an anonymous example to teach the children about love and thanksgiving.


Giving out educational grants at Napo National High School

The two children from Qingchuan had donated 300 yuan in total. In order to allow all the children in Guangxi to receive the love from the students in Qingchuan, we added some money to buy 600 pens and gave them out to all the students in the “Tomorrow program” in Guangxi. The students learned that thanksgiving is recognizing the help that other people give us. Behind this aid is a loving spirit. When we receive help, we should receive it happily, with no conditions, no pressure, no feelings of being in debt. We should simply accept the love. We should love ourselves, love other people, and pass on this love. When there is love, the children will have a guide for their actions. When there is love, the children will learn to show gratitude towards their parents, their teachers, their friends, their environment etc.

When we were leaving Napo National High School, many students came up to hug us and to say goodbye. After giving me a hug, a girl stood off to the side, mumbled to herself, “My mother never hugs me like this”, and started to cry. I was very sad. Another student, a sophomore from a single parent family who was considered by the teachers to be very rebellious, waited until all the other students had left before coming up to me and saying, “Auntie Lin, I know that everything you said tonight was directed at me... My life is so difficult. No one understands me...” He started to cry as he said this. I told him that real strength is not acting cool and keeping up a tough exterior. You don’t need to be perfect to be loved. Real love is to accept your own weaknesses and strive to fix them gradually.... He said, “Auntie Lin, wait for me. I will continue to improve and become one of your volunteers one day...”


After our discussion at Napo National High School, the students gathered around to say goodbye

Of our original students from Longhe Township and Dingyeh Middle School, students who have lost one or both parents made up 50% of the group. Now these students are all in their 2nd or 3rd year of Middle School. This time, many new freshmen students have applied to the “Tomorrow program”. Due to our limited scholarship funds, after interviewing all the applicants, we could only accept less than half of them. We were unable to accept even some students from single parent families. Just like Jingxi, poverty in Napo is simply too wide spread. We can only help the poorest of the poor. When we were conducting home visits for our new students in Longhe Twonship, we found that several students had been in the care of their grandparents since they were only a few months old. Their mothers had left and never been back for more than 10 years. The elderly grandparents live in run-down old tile-roofed houses. They had lost their daughters, and the children had lost their mothers. Even though the grandparents had almost no ability to work, they persisted and raised their grandchildren on their own. The children never knew who their fathers were. They were just like orphans. Sadly, this situation is quite common. For these students, developing a healthy mindset was just as important as receiving financial aid.

The children of Longhe and Dingyeh are very innocent and pure. They have little contact with the outside world. Although they are still shy, compared to last semester, they have improved a lot. They are happier and more willing to speak up. These orphans, who were silent before, now have bright smiles on their faces. They come up to say hi and to give me hugs, reminding me to take care of my health. The students have been learning diligently, and are doing well academically and growing more mature. These changes are my biggest motivation. A teacher from Jingxi Kuiwei High School phoned me to say, “Auntie Lin, I was touched by everything your organization has done. I am going to take two days off to volunteer with you.” He rode his motorcycle through the rugged mountain paths in the rain to meet up with us in Longhe. He was our most important volunteer in Longhe.


Their beautiful eyes reveal hope and longing for the future

Napo and Jingxi are rich in natural resources. Large trucks overloaded with minerals, gravel, and eucalyptus logs cause severe damage to the rural roads and spread air pollution. The roads, which had been fine last semester, are now filled with pits and potholes, making travel incredibly difficult for regular cars. When conducting home visits in Dingyeh, after traveling out for 20 minutes from the school, we became trapped in the mud. Even after trying for 2 hours, we made no progress. We had to give up on visiting the students at home.

Thank you to Teacher Yang and our volunteer from Beijing University, Wang Yiqing for taking the time to help with our trip to Napo.

4. Guanxi Province Jingxi County

Our first stop was Jingxi High School in the county capital. This semester, many of our middle school students were admitted to Jingxi High School. In addition, another four seniors were added to the program after being recommended by the teachers and having interviews with us. This semester, there were 72 students at Jingxi High School. The teacher in charge praised our second and third year students for their outstanding performances. Some of the students ranked amongst the best of their grade.

During our discussions in the evening self-study sessions, we found that some of the children were very proactive and h, ad matured a lot. They enthusiastically asked questions and diligently recorded down all the details about government sponsored grants. One of the senior students kissed me on the cheek and thanks me for telling her about all these assistance options. This was very unexpected. I remember three years ago when we first surveyed Jingxi county, she was a senior in middle school. She had broken down in tears and told me that her father often beat her because he had severe mental illness. Her mother could not stand the physical violence and had left to find work far away. We started sponsoring her at the request of her teacher. Now she is a senior in high school. She works hard and has excellent grades. She’s also become more cheerful. Her dream is to attend the Beijing Foreign Studies University. We hope that her dream will come true!

After finishing our conversations that evening, a student handed me a letter describing her problems. She did not understand everything in the class lectures, but she was afraid to speak up and ask. Her grades have been slipping, and she was losing confidence... Another student asked how to persist and study everyday... All children face these two problems to some degree. Thus the next evening, we discussed in detail the reasons for being afraid to speak up and ask questions, and techniques for dealing with this. Four academically outstanding students also shared with the others how they are able to persist in their studies. I am very glad that these two students brought these questions up. All the students were able to benefit from the discussion.


She said that she was no longer confused. She would do her best.

After hearing about how a student at Napo National High School had given up their spot in the program for a struggling classmate, after the discussion a student from Jingxi High School approached me. She told me that her family’s financial situation had improved as well. They had just built a brick house. She wanted to give her spot in the program to the poor students at Kuiwei Middle School, where she had graduated from. This was another touching story of love being passed on. These children have realized that the true meaning of thanksgiving is love, that we should accept help happily, and give help happily.

Our program has many graduates from all five middle schools in Jingxi. Many freshmen middle school students have also applied for the program. After interviewing the applicants and a rigorous selection process, we have new freshmen students in every middle school. We’ve also added a few poor sophomore and senior middle school students who had been overlooked. We arrived during Jingxi county’s four day midterm examination period. Thus we moved our evening lectures up to 5:30pm, so that the students would be able to return to their exam review section at 7:30pm for their exams the next day.

Each school in Jingxi has its own atmosphere. The level of interest and oversight of the students by the school also varies. Thus students in some schools are very proactive, while students in other schools are lazier, and have clearly fallen behind. At each school, we tailored our talks to the level and situation of the students to focus on different topics. This time, our most important, task is to instill in the s, tudents the correct values and attitudes, and to improve their enthusiasm for learning. After our lecture at Longling High School, the principal told me, “All the students were very excited and very happy when they left your lecture.” I was very happy. I hope they can maintain their enthusiasm and be diligent in their studies!

In rural schools, teachers have to work long hours. Their wages are low, only just over two thousand yuan a month. It is very difficult. The teachers would say half-jokingly, “Even the stu, dents who quit school to work in other cities are paid more than us.” But the principals and teachers of each school are all very proactive. They are very concerned and care a lot about the students. We were touched. The only school that lagged behind in their pro-activeness was Ande High School. Their, management of, the stud, e, nts also needs to be improved.

<, BR>Two , vi, ce principals a, nd two teachers from Longling High school accompanied us on our home visits.

Visiting the new students from the various Jingxi schools made us very sombre. A very high percentage of the students are orphans or come from single parent families. The orphans include cases where both parents have died, or where the father passed away and the mother either went missing or re-married and was never seen again. These childr, en are essentially orphans, and are often raised , by their elderly grandparents. In Longling, we visited six new freshmen middle school students. Almost all of them were in this s, ituation. One lived with their grandmother in a small shed. Another lived in a house with rotten floors. Another lived in an illegal add-on room, but their uncle only had enough money to complete half of the frame for the house. In a space that was like a construction site, the student slept on a bed simply made from a wooden board propped up by a stack of bricks. Tree branches held up mosquito nets over the bed. The student told us, “With the mosquito , net, this bed, is like my palace.” One of the orphans was being raised alone by his grandfather, who had very low income. The grandfather told us that his grandson only had one set of clothing. Every Friday he would wash it at home, and put it back on when he returned to school on Sunday. In the winter, with rain drizzling outside, the clothes would often not dry out in time. But he would still have to put on the wet clothing and go back to school. We felt such deep pain in our hearts. We gave the grandfather two hundred yuan and asked him to buy two more sets of clothing for his grandson. The grandfather kept repeating, “Grandson, I am so sorry. I am so sorry...”

The financial situations of the other families are basically the same. It is difficult to imagine such wide-spread poverty in our modern society. While conducting a home visit of a senior middle school student in Napo, we were shaken by the sadness in the faces of the elderly grandmother and the younger sister, who was only in grade three. The sister went to school with only a pen, she could not afford a notebook. The mother had died giving birth to her. The grandfather had suffered a , fall and was paralyzed in bed. The father had gone to work in a different city, but his income was not even enough to pay for the grandfather’s medical bills...


An orphaned student lived with their grandparents in this small shed.

The mountains are very dry, with little arable land. Parents who have little education can only go to other cities to earn a living, working in jobs requiring hard labor. Not only do they earn very little, many fathers also die because of work-related accidents. In these cases, the mothers are often forced to remarry. Even if both parents are still alive, they can only come home rarely. In these poverty-stricken regions, the only consideration of the parents is “survival”. Education is not important. Many children go out to work after middle school. Some don’t even finish middle school before they are forced to start working to supplement the family’s income. The enrollment from middle school to high school is only 30-40%.

Growing up under these conditions, finishing middle school and high school is already quite an accomplishment. Children in the cities start getting tutoring from middle school. Our children have nothing, and are at a large disadvantage in the very competitive college entrance exams. But each of them dreams of going to college, of walking out of poverty, of the future. In order to avoid the psychological damage from the gap between their dreams and reality, in addition to compassion, our most urgent and important need is to elevate their desire to learn, to discover their value, to remove thoughts of inferiority and to build their self confidence. We have to inspire them to be themselves, to face their inner fears. Without hurting their self-esteem, we need to make them fully aware that only by giving it all they have will they have a chance to realize their dreams. This is difficult even for our volunteers to appreciate, and is something that teachers at the school cannot do. Principal Wang of Longling middle school told me that this was our biggest contribution to the students.


The children’s smiles are our biggest consolation.

Ande High School, Kuiwei High School, and Napo High School have torn down their at-risk buildings, and are in the process of constructing new buildings. Although the construction has affected the student’s learning, all the students and teachers are looking forward to the new buildings. Unexpectedly, during our visit , to Jingxi, we encountered the strongest typhoon in history, Typhoon Haiyan. After causing massive damage in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan headed straight for Vietnam and Jiangxi, which was on the border between China and Vietnam. Under the strong rain and winds, we had to cancel our itinerary on the second day to ensure the safety of our volunteers and the principal, who was coming to pick us up.

We had about one hundred thirty English-Chinese dictionaries which had been donated by the Lynck Foundation. This was just enough for us to give one each to every new student in Jingxi. After our discussion, we taught the new students how to use these dictionaries. Our partner in Chengdu, Wang Li, had purchased 40 stationary care packages and mailed them to the Ji, ngxi County Board of Education. We handed them out to the freshmen students at two schools, and the sad younger sister of the student in Napo.

We are very grateful towards the American Lynck Foundation, to a donor who wished to remain anonymous, to our partners in Chengdu, to teacher Yang from Beijing, and to our volunteer from the Beihai College of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sun Xiaoyu, for participating in our trip to Jingxi.

The “Tomorrow program” is about to enter its sixth year. A freshman middle school student who was often beaten by their alcoholic father wrote on their application to the program this year, “Daily life is cruel, but I am happy when I am learning.” Another student in Wen County said, “You have no idea how much motivation and hope your program gives us.” With the help of all our partners, we will continue to bring these learning opportunities to the children, to give them motivation and hope, to send along your love to them.

I wish you all peace and health!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, May 9, 2013

Hello my dear friends!

The weather early this spring was temperamental, oscillating between hot and cold. For our education grant program this year, we decided to begin in Guangxi, where the weather was warmer. I would like to thank all the volunteers who travelled thousands of miles to deliver warmth, encouragement, and support to the children of the program!

1. Napo and Jingxi County in Guangxi

This semester, a few students in the “Tomorrow Program”in Napo and Jingxi schools dropped out of school. The drop-out rate was even higher for the rest of the students at the schools. At the beginning of each semester, many teachers visit these students, to try to bring them back to school. But the majority of these students had followed their relatives or neighbours to look for work in another province. There are two main reasons for dropping out of school – the economic situation of the family and falling behind in school. At each school that we visit, we earnestly tell the students that both problems have solutions, that they need to stay in school, and that they must not give up.

The principals and teachers at the schools are all very dedicated and responsible. They are understanding of and very concerned about the students. We respect the views of each school. In some schools, we deposited the scholarship money entirely into the students’ meal cards. In some schools, we paid out part of the scholarship in cash, and deposited the rest into the students’ meal cards. We made sure that each child received 400 yuan every semester (500 yuan for high school students).


We delivered the grants in person, and asked the students to sign for them

Although every semester we visit some of the students at home, the number of orphans, single parent families, abandoned children, and broken families continues to surprise me. Some of the students live in incredible poverty, such as in the cases below:

- One of the student has , a father with severe mental illness, who wandered around in a disheveled state. His hands were tied to prevent him from h, urting himself., The mother had run away to work as a migrant worker and to es, cape violence from the father. The child, who was only in junior high, was alone responsible for supporting the family. He privately told me that faced with his exams, he did not know what to do or where to go. I talked with him for a long time, and gave detailed responses to his questions. I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes. At the end of our talk, it was already dark on campus. He gave me a hug and disappeared into the night. How much suffering can a child tolerate? My heart was torn.

- The father of a student in Napo county passed away 7 years ago. The mother was working in another province. In the run down tile-roofed house, the elderly grandparents told us about the family’s situation without the slightest complaint of fate. I told them to believe in us, that the “Tomorrow Program” will continue to support their grandson who was in junior high until he graduated from high school. The grandma clasped my hands with her rough and calloused hands, tears falling as she thanked us. The heart wrenching scene touched everyone who was present.

- After the mother passed away, the father contracted tuberculosis and could no longer do hard labor. The dilapidated house was uninhabitable. I worried that the house would collapse at any moment, or that I’d fall through t, he rotting floor boards into the empty pig pens beneath. The house no longer had walls, but rather reed mats or blankets hanging between wooden beams. Looking at the condition of the house, I did not know what to say to the father and son. I did not need to ask about the family’s economic situation. We left with heavy hearts.

- After his father died, his mother remarried and disappeared. He felt that he had been abandoned by his mother, that he had become an orphan. He resented his mother, but did not want to let his teachers or friends know of, his pain… This happened to many of the children.

Jingxi and Napo are part of the so-called “remote poor region filled with the young and the elderly”. Spring is a busy season for farming. In Jingxi, several students in the “Tomorrow Program” were unable to return to school to meet with us because they were busy helping their grandparents plant corn at home. Most school children wear plastic sandals year round, because each pair only costs a few yuan. When they play basketball at school, they take off their sandals and play barefoot. The principal and the teachers usually live on campus, and are responsible for managing the school, for teaching, and for keeping t, he students safe. Even with the rising price of goods, the teachers only make 2000 yuan a month. They said with a wry smile, “That’s less than what migrant workers make."


Kids playing basketball barefoot, with their plastic sandals off to one side

The children are shy, but even more focused in class than the last semester. Some students are more willing to speak up. In Jingxi, we had four volunteers, two Masters students from Peking University and two seniors from the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. They did their best to tutor the students in the challenging subjects of math, physics, chemistry, English, history, and geography. When there was time, we’d even go over ex, ercises from the various subjects. I am sure this was a great help to the children, in particular to those about to take the high school entrance exams.

At Longhe High in Napo County, during a questions and answers session, a child stood up and said, “Aunties and Uncles, thank you for sacrificing your own time and energy to bring us help, for caring about us …”. I was touched, but also a bit embarrassed. I told the children that true love does not consider “sacrifices”. We happily give the help that we can, and hope that they can happily accept it. There are no conditions, no burdens.

I am grateful for our Napo volunteers: Zhang Xinchun, Chen Jihong, and Tang Wei. Thanks to Xinchun and Tang Wei for putting together the “Volunteer Manual and Guide” for the “Tomorrow Program”. Thanks to Jihong for the report of “Tomorrow Program in Napo in 2013 Spring” (see Volunteer Voices), which helped everyone understand the situation in the schools of Napo County. Thanks to all of them for bringing love and lollipops to the children of Napo.

I am grateful for our Jingxi volunteers: Zhang Shouhe, Hu Wei, Wang Weichen, and Gao Jun. In Jingxi County, the schools are very far away from town. They visited the children’s home during the day, and tutored the children in the evenings. They would not get back to the hotel in town until 11 pm each day. It was not easy! Thanks to Shouhe and Hu Wei for their Jingxi Education Assistance Reports (see Volunteer Voices).


Photo of the volunteers in front of the entrance of Longhe High School in Napo County

Pictures from Guangxi visit: Napo County
                             Jingxi County

2. Zhang Jiachuan County, Gansu

After an 8 hour trek from Xi’an, we arrived at Zhang Jiachuan. The weather was very cold. It was 2, 3 degrees below zero at night. The students wore thin uniforms. Perhaps they were used to the weather of the high plains, and were not afraid of the cold? The roads around the school were being repaired, making the surrounding cloud of dust worse than usual.

The students of the “Tomorrow Program” from First and Second High school had graduated from junior high to high school. They were juniors and seniors now. The seniors were preparing for the college entrance exams in June. Now was a very stressful time. Every student was nervous, tense, and sleep deprived. Our arrival mitigated the stress of their routine, and brought them encouragement.

We analyzed and discussed the various possibilities and outcomes depending on the success or failure of the college entrance exams, what to expect in college and after college. We talked about how to focus for this final stretch of 50 some days before the exams, how to deal with stress and fear. After our discussion, the seniors seemed to relax a bit and become more confident.


A student asked about our views on dating in high school. Our reply was that, “As long as both are working hard in school, why not?”

One of the students from the First Junior High School told us that when the school held a three day sports celebration, the school grounds were filled with litter afterwards. It was cleaned up by the environmental team of the “Tomorrow Program”. The captain of the environmental team also served as the organizer of the volunteer and outreach program at the school. He led the other students to visit orphanages and senior homes during their lunch breaks. I was very touched. Our love and encouragement had taken root. Our children were no longer part of the “Indifferent generation”. They were compassionate, responsible, and willing to help. I am proud of them!

A junior in the “Tomorrow Program” was representing his school in Zhang Jiachuan County’s student speech contest. He asked if we’d have time during lunch the next day to give him some suggestions. So during the lunch break, we sat down on the lawn of the school field and talked from 12:30 to 2:00. When he was in grade 4, he had dropped out of school for one year to follow his mother to Xinjiang to pick cotton. The goal was to find his father, who was working in Xinjiang. After many hardships, the family was finally reunited. He told us that he’ll never forget the sight of children walking to school with their backpacks, while he worked in the cotton fields. He had burst into tears in those fields. But to help out his parents, he worked as hard as he could. He picked 60 kilos of cotton a day!

These unforgettable experiences made him much more mature than his peers. He had not shared his past with anyone else. But with us, he slowly started to talk about his dreams and ambitions. The school fields became deserted. This child was opening his heart to us. We had earned his trust and respect over the last two years.


On the school fields in Zhang Jiachuan, he told us of the hardships of the past and his dreams of the future

For the children in the “Tomorrow Program”, life is never easy. Just before we left, we wished the seniors well in the college entrance exams, gently reminding them to take care of their health in this short period of time before the exams, so that they’d be able to do their best during the exam.

Thanks to our friend in Chengdu, Lu Yijin.

Pictures from Gansu visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

3. Sichuan Qingchuan County, Beichuan County, and Jiangyou City

I am grateful that Kelun Pharmaceutical Ltd. Co. sent a car for us to visit Gansu province. They took us to visit the schools in Wen County, then to the town of Muyu in Qingchuan County the net day. Without their help, we could not have reached Wen County from Chengdu in a single day. I am thankful for their help!

Wen County of Gansu province is directly to the north of Qingchuan County. It has been classified by the government as a poverty-stricken region, and suffered great damage in the 512 earthquake. The roads in Wen County weave through the mountains. To one side of the cliff is the river Bailongjiang. The tall mountains, deep valleys, and narrow, winding roads made travel much more difficult that in Qingchuan. The houses and schools along the roads had all been rebuilt since the earthquake. Some relief tents that had been handed out after the earthquake can still be seen. Because of its remoteness and inaccessibility, Wen County typically attracts little attention from the general public.

We visited Second High in Bikao, and First High in Chengguan of Wen County. First High has more than 3400 students, 80-90% of whom were admitted from junior high schools in the remote mountainous regions. First High was well managed. According to the school’s statistics, there were more than 800 students who lived in poverty, 10% of whom lived in extreme poverty. The school very much hoped that the “Tomorrow Program” would be able to help these students, and was willing to do everything they can to help us. Thus we decided that starting from the next semester, we would start helping the students of First High who lived in extreme poverty.


The beautiful landscape of Wen County in Gansu Province

This semester at the Qingchuan schools, in addition to the education assistance grants, we also awarded the annual “Chengdu Century City” scholarships to students with outstanding academic records. There were 216 scholarship recipients in Qingchuan, and 17 in Beichuan and Jiangyou. I am very grateful for the support the Chengdu Century City company gives to the students of Sichuan.

Over the last five years, we have been assisting the poverty-stricken students of Beichuan Minzu High. The majority of the students have graduated by now. After the 512 earthquake, Beichuan attracted the attention of the national government and society at large, and much aid has poured into the region. Our mission at Beichuan Minzu High has been successfully completed. Starting from the next semester, we will no longer be coming to Beichuan. We will be using the limited resources of the “Tomorrow Program” on even poorer regions that desperately need our help.

In Qignchuan county, the road leading to Muyu was finally almost completely repaired just before the 5 year anniversary of the 512 earthquake. It only lacks the opening of the final tunnel. The road is already open to traffic, with a bypass for the currently closed tunnel. Driving on the newly repaired road, the hardships of our journey over the last four years seemed like a dream. We only added two new students in Qingchuan this semester, so we did not do home visits.

The earthquake in Ya’an made our students recall the 512 earthquake. Many of them called home to check on their families, and to tell them that they were safe. All the elementary and high school students in Qingchuan mobilized to fundraise f, or the victims of the Ya’an earthquake. All the students in the “Tomorrow Program” also donated. Some students asked us whether we would go to Ya’an in the future. The answer is no. The earthquake in Ya’an has attracted a great deal of public attention. With the experience of the reconstruction effort following the 512 earthquake, the national and local governments will surely have a good handle on how to respond in the disaster area.

Every semester, based on the different situations of each school, we talk about different things with the stud, ents. This time in Guanzhuang and Sanguo we taught the children about respect for themselves, for other people, for things and the environment. We taught them about making progress through down-to-earth efforts. At the high school, our volunteers spent most of the time teaching math, physics, and English. Hopefully these lessons will be helpful for their college entrance exams.


Our volunteer from Peiking University answering questions about learning

In Qingchuan High and Qingchuan First High, when I talked with the students of the “Tomorrow Program”, I could feel the immense academic pressure that they were under. I could not bear to see how tired they looked. It was not just a physical tiredness, they were tired in their hearts too. I think that our arrival brought them a small brief measure of relief. We have been supporting these high school students since junior high. Watching them grow up, time has passed by so quickly. Soon the seniors will graduate and be scattered over the country.

In Qingchuan we went from north to south. On the second night of our last stop in Qingchuan, at Qingchuan First High, after we had awarded the education assistance grants and scholarships, we told the seniors that they could return to the classrooms to review and prepare for the college exams. But they did not want to leave. After talking for another two hours, although we urged the children again to leave, they did not move nor say anything. The sadness of parting was thick in the air. At last, one of the students said, “Auntie Jian, we want to sing a song”. They stood up and sang “Grateful Heart”. I could not help it anymore. I was moved to tears, the first time I had cried in front of the children. The children started crying too.


Auntie Jian, I will do my best!

For this visit to Qingchuan, there was only me and one volunteer, a senior student from Peking University, Li Zhongliang. He was very talented. Not only could he answer student’s questions on their homework, he also helped review their scholarship applications so that we were able to award the scholarships the very next day. He endured the loneliness of travel, and experienced the first earthquake of his life. Without his help, I could not have successfully completed this trip to Qingchuan! Thank you Zhongliang!

Pictures from Sichuan visit: http://www.tomorrowcn.org/StoryView.asp?id=252

Because of the huge gap between the rich and the poor in China, the children of the cities and the poverty-stricken children of the remote mountainous regions live in completely different worlds. These children need our continued support and care. The “Tomorrow Program” needs partners to garner publicity and support. All of your donations towards education grants go directly into the hands of these children. I am grateful to Professor Zhang Haixia at Peiking University for encouraging her students to participate in the education assistance grant program this time, and for the participation of our friends from Tianjin and the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of Beihai college. Thank you all for your help!

I wish you all peace and joy!

Tricia Lin
The Tomorrow Program
www.tomorrowcn.org

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Work Report on Education-Assistance, Fall 2012

With the joint efforts of all the contributors and a few volunteers, the 2012 Fall Sponsorship Program has been successfully completed on Nov 3, 2012. This seminar, we have 202 new students from three junior high schools at Napo County, Guang Xi province. As of now, the “Tomorrow Program” has sponsored a total of 1,033 needy students scattered over 18 schools in three provinces, Si Chuan, Gan Su and Guang Xi.

1. Si Chuan Province- Qingchuan County, Beichuan County and Jiangyou City: Sept 16 2012 to Sept 27, 2012

At Qingchuan County and Beichuan County, it is usually quiet in the fall when it is not a market day. There are only few pederistians and autos on the road. After dark, you may only hear sounds from insects and occasionally from trucks passing by.

Muyu Middle School and Guanzhuang Middle School had a few more new first and second year needy students qualifying for the “Tomorrow Program”. We interviewed face-to-face with each newly enrolled students to understand their family situations in order to verify the eligibility of their qualifications. The third year students previously sponsored have admitted to either Qingchuan Senior High School or Qingchuan First Senior High School. Without seeing the students for six months, some boys have really grown up a lot that I was hardly able to recognize them. We also sponsored two new orphans and one student in special need from Qingchuan First Senior High School.

Last seminar, we did not have time to give out the “Tomorrow Program” ChengDu Conference Centre Bursary to those students who achieved good marks at three schools, Muyu Middle School, Qingchuan Senior High School and Qingchuan First Senior High School. We gave out the awards at this seminar. From now on, we will review and assess the grades overnight and immediately give out the Achievement Award and Speciality Award the next day in order to achieve better encouragement effect.

After the last seminar had finished, we received so many letters from the students. Their letters not only expressed their gratitude towards the “uncles and aunts from Tomorrow Program”, most also talked about personal “secrets” and problems. We were unable to reply to all letters. However, during our conversations with the children at their “Evening Self-study Class” (The only time we c, an use to communicate with the students), we brought out questions and worries they asked about pertinently to correspon, ding sch, oo, ls. We gave sugges, tions and discu, ss, ions without giving ou, t , names. We believe th, at this could give, some help to all students.

The questions they asked were: One felt sad when he saw his parents working too hard to support the family and wanted to quit school to help parents. One was unable to do well in school even though he had worked very hard. How to overcome laziness? How to study well in English? Her mother said she is her burden. Parents fight fiercely and even hit each other. He was so afraid and wondered if his parents would stop fighting if he was not there. Some felt self-contempt without mother or without father. Some felt stress from homework. What should they do when they felt upset?

Most of their parents are poor farmers or workers with only elementary education background. It is not easy for the children to grow up with stress not only just from family but also from school. They have too many things in mind, have worries, fears, grievance and perplex but are unable to talk to their parents, teaches or fellow classmates. Some children would tell me in person but more would say it in their letters. Other than assist them in sponsorship each seminar, helping them to overcome problems, care for them, give them encouragement and help them build up self-respect have always been our most important mission. In the past four years, we have gained complete supports from the schools, and schools have been actively helping the children to feel proud of themselves to be part of the “Tomorrow Program”.

Children from Muyu Middle School

Special thanks to Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd. to give us a ride to the Qingchuan, Muyu County and special thank you to Miss Ou Hai Li, volunteer from ColasoftCo.,Ltd. for bringing cards hand-written by all their colleagues. Each card represents love, care and encouragement.

2. Gansu Zhangjiachuan (ZJC) : Oct 8 to Oct 13, 2012

After meeting with the volunteers from Tianjing at Xian, we passed by Tianshui and arrived at ZJC at 4pm the next day. The 145 sponsored students from first and second year high school were all now in second and third year high school. From the conversation at the two “Evening Self-study Classes”, we found that these children have changed. They were very different from last seminar. Their eyes sparked with trust and expectation. They actively participated and engaged in discussion. They became more serious, attentive, mature and confidence. Even though they still had many questions to overcome, they seemed to be more at ease and were able to find ways to solve their problems after assisted by encouragement and discussion.

There was no change of the sponsorship to the first and second year high school students except that one or two students with better financial situation and a female student who quit school to get married were taken off from the program. ZJC has the culture to favour male to female. Poor families married away daughters early to reduce family burdens and to receive the wedding gifts to subsidize family spending. This is helplessly sad.

Same as last seminar, we visited the country to find out about the family situations. We also visited students who rent their place close by school and found out that their meal was same every day, either potatoes or noodles and nothing else. No vegetable and no meat. About 10% of the sponsored students have anemia problem. With special thank you to Ms. Chen Wan Shu of United States for arranging deliveries of hemo-pills to Chengdu. We distributed both love and pills to the students having anemia problems and taught them how to use them. Ms. Chang Hui Lin from Tianjing asked volunteers to bring children some chocolate. The children were really thankful for the sweet, both in the mouth and , , to the heart.

At the “Evening Self-study Class”, we were discussing stress from exam, burden from family, early dating… etc.

Last seminar, two second year high school students initiated to write letters and cards to students at Qingchuan. They mailed to Chengdu and asked me to bring to Qingchuan. The letters have moved both us and the students at Qingchuan. This seminar, we decided to copy the project and gave students at ZJC and Qingchuan an opportunity to show their care to students in Guang Xi province. Everyone was so excited with the project and allowed us to bring several hundreds of love and encouragement to “Tomorrow Program” students in Guang Xi. The letters from students have talked about wanting to become a volunteer to help others in the future. They have learned from this experience that they could contribute to others even though they are also receivers. They can give love and warm to others, close by and far away.

Special thanks to Chen Ji Hong, secretary of Tianjin TEDA-CSVA to travel long distance to participate and bring their love and caring from uncles and aunts of Tianjin to the children.

3. Guangxi Napo County and Jingxi County: Oct 16 to Nov 3, 2012

Napo County is located at the north of Jingxi County. Both Napo county and Jingxi County are classified by the government as poor county and border county of the country. They are border to Vietnam and Yuen Nan and are about six to seven hours drive from Nanning. Majority of the students are Zhuang Clan with few Han Clan and Yao Clan. Napo County is far-reaching and lags behind. Most land is seriously stony and people are hard to survive with little land suitable for farming. Most people have to go out of the county to find work leaving behind seniors and children. Napo County is lack of water and has to rely on the local government to build ponds to store drinking water. Every summer, children were found drown playing at ponds. According to statistics, 80% of the county’s students are needy students. However, we could only select to assist orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students from the three biggest junior high schools, Napo Ethnic Middle School, Long He Junior High School and Dingye Junior High School.

Most students are living at extreme rough tile house.

Majority of the students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are living at tile (wood) house that could hardly keep out rain and wind, as same as Jingxi. Few who is eligible to receive ten thousand subsidies and loans to remodel their imperilled tile house is often unable to afford finishing their repair project and end up only having a rough empty covered house. Many students sponsored by the Tomorrow Program are orphans. The percentage to have parents died or being abandoned is even higher. Most are brought up by grandparents who have to work at land and without any financial supports. They live under the poverty line. There was a child whose father died early and mother with mental illness disappeared four years ago has to live w, ith grandfather at a shelter by the road. Children who have grown up in as a hardship condition and are still able to admit into junior high school is really not an easy task. Only those who have personally experienced would understand how great they are.

A personnel from Na Po Education Department accompanied us to visit schools, talk to students and visit family at county said to us at the time when we we, re leaving:” I am too moved! After spending all these days with you has helped, me understand the subsidies from the government is way too insufficient. I a, m very much moved b, y the caring and teachings you give to the children.”

Napo County is same as Jingxi County that we had to rush back to the hotel in the city every night. The only difference is that Jingxi County is larger and the towns are farther distance away from the county. We had 385 students from five schools in Jingxi County. A group of third year junior high school students were admitted to Jingxi First Senior High School. We continued to sponsor this group of students and hence sponsored schools have increased to six schools. We will have more third year junior, high school students to apply for Jingxi First Senior High School in the future, and thus will have more sponsored students from this school.

When students asked me how to learn well in English last seminar, I found out that no student had a dictionary. It was hard to find dictionaries in shops locally. With special thanks to Nynck Foundation to sponsor 800 small English-Chinese dictionaries. All students at Jing Xi and Napo are so excited that each of them now has a dictionary. We taught the children how to use the dictionary to look up vocabulary and how to study their English lessons. We believe that they will be helped a lot in their English study. Other than the 587 sponsored students , from Jingxi and Napo benefited from the dictionaries, we gave out the rest of the dictionaries to those students who applied for sponsorship but were not accepted.

Happily learning English

Every school from Jingxi had new studen, ts applying for the Tomorrow Program. After face-to-face interview with applicants, we only selected those who are orphans without both parents, orphans without one parent and special need students. The rest of the applicants were rejected because even though they are also poor but they are comparatively better. For example, some have parents, or some have one single parent but father is working out of county and is the only child, or their family house had already been repaired, etc.

Many students from both Jingxi and Napo sponsored by us have never seen their mother before because “mother ran away after gave birth to me.” I asked the teachers who went interview with me the reasons why this situation is so common here. The teacher said that it might be because the bride from out of county felt that her husband was too poor and thus ran away after child was born. Those fathers are often not able to remarry and single-handedly brought up their children and look after the elders at home or they go to work and leave the children to be cared by grandparents.

During the family visit, we found that those children who are staying in school have to help working around the house when they go home on weekends. The girls have to do farm work, feed the pigs and do the cooking while the boys have to do cow herding, grass mowing and woods hewing. They leave home in the morning and will not be back until dawn. Some boys have to sleep inside the interlayers under the tile roof. Some tile house have no walls at all and use neighbour’s’ wall as own wall. Some houses are tipped and urgently needed to be repaired. During the family visit at the HH last seminar, we visited a first year high school student who lived at a highly periled house with wounded grandmother. The teacher told us that the house was totally ruined a few months ago and the grandmother had to stay with relatives and the child was forced to quit school to work in Guang Dong. This kind of situation is likely common to the schools. We felt very sad when we heard of this. I told the teacher that they should immediately tell us if similar situation happened again. Maybe the student could be saved from quitting school.

The purposes of the family visit are firstly to confirm if students are really poor and need to be assisted; and secondly to further understand the personal and family situation of each student so that we are able to help them more effectively during the night self-learning sessions.

Talking to a grandmother during a family visit and a teacher was doing translation from Zhuang dialect to Mandarin.

The ratio of students to drop out school because of poor financial family situation is higher at Na Po and Jing Xi than then Qingchuan and Gansu. Some parents also expect children to work because of the family financial hardship. Therefore, our most important mission is to help sponsored students to stay in school to finish their junior and senior high school studies. During our discussions at the “Evening Self-study Class”, we use stories to teach the children how to make determination, how to face challenges, how to study diligently, how to stay persistent, how not to give up no matter what. We believe that our teachings will somehow help to affect and encourage the children at different levels.

All the junior high schools presently get off school at three thirty on Friday so that students can get home before dark. Students who stay in school go home once a week. Some students have to walk three to four hours to get home. Many students’ houses are inaccessible to transportation and they can only walk or climb across mountains. On a rainy day, mountain roads are steep and slippery. It is very dangerous but the children seem get used to it.

Students at each school were reluctant to leave after two days of the “Evening Self-study Class”. Many would hug us and asked us to come back to see them again next seminar, asked us to wear warmly for the cold weather… We were surprised that a student at the Ande High School came to give us a deep bow. She cried and said to us,” aunty, thank you for all your help. I will persistently stay at school and study diligently.” We were so moved by these children who are grateful.

With special thank you to the two volunteers, Wu Wen Juan and Li Xin Qi from the Beijing Aviation University who took ten days off to participate in the sponsorship activities. We thank them for bringing love and warm to the children and for raising awareness among their friends. They made it possible for the children to have the opportunity to spend time with elder brothers and sisters from Beihai College. With special thank you to volunteer, Kuo Lei from Xi An to accompany and assist us all the way throughout the three weeks’ journey. He is the greatest in the heart of the children. Even though he is young and just newly graduated from university about two years ago, he is our most senior volunteer in this visitation. He has participated in Qingchuan, Beichuan , Gansu and this Guangxi sponsorship visit.

Some people asked: Does the Tomorrow Program operate same as other foundation to help only those needy students who do well in school? Our answer is a definite no. Our only sponsorship requirement is that “children are really in need of assistance.” We believe that every single sand who need assistance could become a pearl one day if it is given chance to be loved, guided and encouraged in the mussel. This is the spirit and belief of the “Tomorrow Program”.

The “Tomorrow Program” sponsorship program is entering into its fifth anniversary. As of today, junior and senior students benefited from our sponsorship have exceeded more than 4,000 cases. We will continuously put in effort to help more students to finish their high school. We will persistently continue to communicate with the children face-to-face at the “Evening Self-study Class” every seminar and bring the sponsored fund to the hands of each child in person.

We very much thank you for the continue support and help from the Nynck Foundation in USA, Ms. Jiang Shi Min from Tianjin, Chengdu Colaso, ft Co. Ltd. and all other partners. They personally do not know the children but they give the children opportunity to experience real love and caring from the world, and allow the children to learn how to value themselves and give the children hope to work persistently for their future.

Please click here for more pictures from this fall sponsorship activities.

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Spring Semester Report - May 8th, 2012

The spring sponsorship activities of the 2012 “Tomorrow Program” has completed successfully. Special thanks to the contributions of the Lynck Foundation, our scholarship program in the Baise city in Guangxi can be continued this spring. The program was suspended for 6 months because of funding shorta, ge. The Baise city’s poverty areas are very comprehensive; the poverty levels of these students’ families are beyond our imagination. So far our “Tomorrow Program” is the only organization to help these students.

The followings are my summary reports of the home visits during the 2 months stay in Sichuan, Gansu & Guangxi:

1. Sichuan Province: Chingchuan County (Mar 18th – 27th), Beichuan County (Mar 29th – 31st)

It was the yellow vegetable flowers seasons again, on Mar 18th, Tricia Lin was accompany by two volunteer students to Chingchuan. One is a 3rd senior high student - Jixiang from Taiwan, the other is a student who received our scholarship in the Sanguo Middle school in order to go to the university - He Chengxiong. This trip was very meaningful for the two volunteers. The students in Chingchuan are spread in Muyu Middle School, Chingchuan Senior High School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo High School & Chingchuan Senior High School. The students in the two senior high schools are from our original junior high students. This time we have sponsored additional 6 orphans & one student from a very difficult family.

Our main concern in regular home visit in each semester is to continue to provide the love and care to our students and to communicate with their family. This is what the students are looking forward to & it is an important support for them. Other issue is to verify the student’s list & their family situation. Each semester there are some changes in the students’ situation, the teacher’s report on the students’ movements was usually not very accurate. For example this semester, a student Wang Mingsing in Muyu Middle School had to work in order to support his disable parents & relatives, he cannot go to school; Jia Guangju in Guanzhuang Middle School dropped out of school because she has to take care of her adopted father who had a stroke; some students in Guanzhuang had change school; teacher in Sanguo Middle school recommend to cancel the funding for a student Bai Shihui because she is always late to attend classes. But after our home visit, we understand her difficulties. It was because the family who adopted her cannot afford to provide her with the fee for the meals in school; she had to run far between her home & school to have her meal two times dai, ly, . Besides she has to take care of her adopted aunt’s baby & do the house work. Therefor she is always late for classes. We had talked to the school & her family, indicated that we will provide funding for her to broad & have meals in the school. The drop-out rate is always high in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School. There were 4 students dropped out this semester. A group of students decided to go to a Technical High School for professional training in advance.

All of our students seemed to have matured a bid; although some are still shy, but their smiles & trust in us is the best gift and encouragement to us. Discussion b, etween the Taiwanese volunteer Jixiang and Chingchuan Senior High School students about one should have dreams & strive hard for it, causing great resonance of these peers; “Tomorrow Program’s” university volunteer He Chengxiong talked about his growing up experience provided the younger students hope for the future., United States, volunteer Mic, helle talked to the Beichuan’s children with love and care.

She brought regards from the students in the United States. This had built a communication bridge between the, students in the United States & Beichuan. A new student Chenqin (, an orphan) in , Qingchuan M, iddle School wrote, a letter to Aunt , Jane , said: Altho, ugh I am a n, ew, student....., . Bu, t I’m reall, y touched; your love & care supported me. I promise I will work hard, be a useful person. I always thought that losing my parents meant losing everything, but with you by my side, I will not be alone, I will be strong, please believe me! ........ It is very rewarding to us that we could provide them with the spiritual comfort.

Beside the distributions of our usual grants, we implemented the spe, cial donation received from the Chengdu Century, City Exhibition Center for the Sichuan scholarship program this term. Students from Qingchuan, Beichuan and Jiang You had submitted , their application & the grants had been provided to Guanzhuang high school, Sanguo Middle Schools, Beichuan High School and Jiang You Senior High School total of 121 students. Due to the time constraint, we are unable to grand the funds to Muyu High School, Qingchuan Middle School and Qingchuan Senior High School. It will have to wait until the nex, t term. The sc, holarship awards are given out once a year. The awards are given to students who had outstanding achievement according to their ranking at the end of the semester; the evaluation criteria is based on the students’ daily class management skills, special talent and competition in school activities. Chengdu Exhibition Centre representative Ms. Xia and our partner Mr. Mark from Beijing made a special trip to Guanzhuang Middle Schools and Sanguo Middle School to present these awards to the students in person. Special thanks to them!

Tianjin Teda volunteers Association / Charity Association provided some heartfelt postcard to the student so that the student will use them to write letters to communicate, let love pass on; another partner who is a group of people name themselves “Canadian friends” not only assist to translate our text on our website into English, also try very hard to raise funds to assist the students in Qingchuan. Therefor this semester all of the Qingchuan Senior high school’s students will receive an extra RMB100.00 grant, i.e. each of them will have RMB500.00 grant. Partners in Suzhou has sent us a box of pens to give to all students of Qingchuan, United States volunteers also brought , pens all the way from their country for the students in Beichuan, thank you very much

For more information and photos, please click here.

2. Gansu Province: Zhangjiachuan County (, April 7th – 12th)

The best high school in Zhangjiachuan is the county’s senior high school, students are from various townships, and last year about 58% Students admitted to universities, if the college’s students are included, 80% of students have post-secondary education. We went to the school before the self-study session at night and saw many students studying sitting on the school lawn very quietly. Volunteer from Tianjin, Zhang Xinchun was moved by the students’ spontaneous hard work; the poor students’ only way out of this remote mountain area is to put their best effort in their studies. Grants were given out in the evening. When Zhang Xinchun shook hands with the students, the rough hands of the students had given him a very deep impression. The reason for the students having rough hands is they have to work in the farm too. Tsing Hua University’s graduated volunteer from Xi An, Guolei is not much older than the high school students, he used his own personal experience to help the students how to ease the pressure in their studies, to improve the efficiency of learning methods became the best example to encourage the students.

We used the two night self-study session to talks to the students & visit students’ home during the day time. In general, the natural environment of Zhangjiachuan is very poor, the road conditions were even worse; most students are living in clay houses, only one build-in bed and few furniture. Foods like potatoes & grains were stuffed inside the house, almost every house has walls and yard, toilets are “dry toilet ", there is no water. Also due to lack of water, bathing in Zhangjiachuan is really rare. The majority of students are far from the County, could not be home each week. In order to save money on their meals, nearly half of the students rent room near the school. An annual rent is around RMB1, 000; students can make their own meals. One and a half pounds of shredded noodles for RMB2.00 can last up to 2 or 3 meals. Potatoes and steamed bread brought from home is free. Three simple meals in school will cost more than RMB10.00 a day. We visited a couple of students at their modest rental home; watch them cook lunch by themselves. Just potatoes accompanied by steamed bread last them two meals. Time saved by cooking themselves will give them more time to study. Meat is rare here; the only time students can have meat is when they return home.

Zhangjiachuan 2nd Senior High School is located in the town named Long Shan; it is about 40 Kilometers from the county. The students in this school is not as positive as the 1st Senior High School, its dropout rate is quite high. We spent a night & talked to the students seriously. Told them they have to adjust their mental state; work really hard on their studies, make the be, st effort themselves, and then they will have a bright future. I received two letters from students today saying:" After listening to you for one night, it is better than studying for ten years. I have a strong astonishment ...” , “After the night of your visit, I have a lot of feelings ......” 。 The two students also launched a class action, each student in the class had written a small homemade heart-shaped card to send to students in the “Tomorrow program" in Sichuan. Reading these little cards one by one and their letters, we were really touched. We will let them know about the situation in Guang Xi in the next semester, there will be more of those warm small cards send to the students in Guangxi.

Although the town of Longshan is lively, but accommodation is poor, it was very sunny & warm when we were visiting the students’ home during the day, but when we returned to, the county after our visits in the evening, it snowed quite heavily. We had experience the four seasons in one day. We saw the students in the County’s school only wearing flimsy school uniforms returning to their rental units in the heavy snow after their night’s self-study session, we were heart-broken that we are unable to help them more.

The two schools in Zhangjiachuan are senior high schools, the burden of th,, , , , , , e cost of livi, , ng & , tui, , , tions are higher than , the junior high schoo, ls, so we adjusted the financial support for each student to RMB500.00 per semester, i.e. RMB1, 00.00 per an academic year.

Thanks to the Tianjin’s volunteer Zhang Xinchun and Xian’s volunteer Guolei for their active participations in this trip, it was very beneficial for the 150 students in Zhangjiachuan & we no longer think this trip is too difficult.

For more information and photos, please click here.

3. Guangxi Province: Jingxi County (April 15th – 27th)

Under the support and contributions of the Lynck Foundation, the “Tomorrow-Lynck Program” in Baise City of the County Jingxi in Guangxi can be implemented smoothly. This program supported a total of 327 junior students in the Jingxi County covers the township of Longlin, Kuixu, Ande, Guole and Nanpo. Because these are the poverty areas in the national level, the government starts to supplement RMB3.00 to each elementary and junior high school students for their daily breakfast: milk, bread, porridge, eggs, and rice noodles etc. The schools work very hard on the breakfast arrangement & students love and satisfied with the daily breakfast. The incidents of students passing out not eating breakfast in order to save some money will not happened any more. The government also subsidized the students’ boarding fees, but students still don’t have enough money for lunch and di, nner in school. Poverty in these five towns is broad, levels of poverty even more serious.

The five junior high schools were poorly equipped, the shelters in some schools is 18 students per room., several hundred students share only 3 simple equipped bath rooms without hot water, the school canteen has no or n, ot enough tables and chairs. Students has to stand or squat to have their meals in the school campus or go back to their shelter rooms to eat; students live in the shelter building, teacher live in the old tile roof house or live with the students; the table tennis table is made with cement and hollow bricks and no dividing net, or the 2 sides was separated by some heavy bricks. The old of basketball stand and the table tennis are the students’ favourite game after school. All of our students live on campus, and go home during the weekend; many students’ walk 2 to 4 hours in ord, er to get home. When they are home they have to help doing the housework: cooking, laundry, gardening, farm work, lo, ok after cattle,, carry water in buckets…. they have to do every thing. Water sho, rtage and land turning into stone desert in these areas is very serious. Farmers struggle with the sky and land to cultivate, they plant corns in between the stone cracks only make enough to support themselves, not making any income from agriculture, most of the parents had to go out to work to earn a living to support their family.

The traditional Zhuang ethnic houses known as tiled houses, is built with woods, the outside wall is pasted with mud and the roof covered with tiles. The ground level uses as a barn for animals. Second level is for living & food storage. Most of the houses are in poor conditions; leaks air & water, outside walls are broken & not repaired because of lack of money & water. In recent years the Government is implementing the subsidies for the reconstruction of these houses into brick house, the ugly brick houses take away the harmony between human and Nature, now only the poor people still lives the tile houses.

We have seen numerous poor students’ families of the “Tomorrow Program”, but this time in the home visits of the various township of Jingxi; our feelings are particularly sad. In those tile houses, we saw:

-- A junior high boy (an orphan) living with his grandparents; the grandfather has mental illness; the grandmother’s left eye is blind. They are extremely poor; their home is so empty with nothing but 4 walls. But even the walls are broken without any mud pasted on but only some small woods left.

-- An orphanage sisters are living with their grandma, the elder sister is our junior high student, and their grandmother cannot afford to buy the school suppli, es for the younger sister in the 3rd grade.

-- One of the student’s parents is disabled but still work in the wheat field. The old grandpa is the main man power of their home.

-- One of the student’s parents go out to work, they have no other elderlies at home, the student is like an orphan, could not see his parents all year long, but he manage to maintain their home very tidy & clean.

-- Living in a dangerous tile house which does not look like a house anymore, the 92 years old grandma fell down the stairs & was injured a few days ago, had been lying on the ground because they had no money for her treatment. The student’s mot, her left the family after gave birth to her. Her father was sent to prison due to criminal charged six months ago. The house hold burden is laid on this student’s shoulder, but she still maintained with a smile. (Donations from 4 volunteers were handed over to the principal of her school and the official of the village to arrange a doctor to help her grandma.)

-- A student’s father pass away at an early age, her mother had remarried; her grandma is the only living with her, but passed away one month ago.....

Too many extreme difficult and sad ca, ses, make one feel heart broken. While talking to the students on late self-study session, in addition to comfort & encourage them, we also stressed the fact that they do not give up school because of their difficulties they must not give up. An Ande High School student said:" if one treats life’s difficulties as a challenge, you will bond to have the joy of success in the future." Wish the lord will acknowledge his effort.

We stayed in each school for two days; during the day time, we did the individual student interviews & visit the students’ homes; at the night time we had the group discussion with students. These villages do not have a place for us to stay, we must travel back to the county every night; the road conditions are very poor; it takes us around three hours for the round trip. We found out that all students do not have a dictionary, when a student asked us on how to learn, English well. There is no bookstore in the village, one must go to the county to buy it; even for a pair of glasses; they need to go to the county. To send mails, they need to ask someone to help by going to the county. ...... The Guole and Nanpo townships do not even have a simple restaurant. Teachers had to cook lunches for us in the school’s cafeteria. We did not stay for dinner because we did not want to bother the teachers too much.

Each school now had a better knowledge about our “Tomorrow Program”. Although the level of poverty is very broad, but with the limited funding, we selected students in need of help very diligently. We had to cancel a number of better families by comparison. During the two night’s meetings in the school; besides giving out grants, we also provided great comfort and encouragement to the students. The Vice Principal of the Southern Slope High School said: “Your spiritual and material support to the students is equivalent to supporting the schools.” Thanks to the Board of Education of the Baise City and Jingxi County full support and valued the "Tomorrow Program", thanks to the volunteer Cindy Tsang and Linda Lin from Canada, as well as the Xu Huizhong from the United States, they made this special trip by traveling in poor road conditions to visit students in these poverty areas and provided kindness & care for them; thank you very much. Responding to the students facing many difficulties, Xian’s volunteer Guolei wrote in his blog on Twitter said: “I really admire these children and felt that they had helped us to improve spiritually.” I agree with his view point, their difficult situations lit up our heart to love, lead us to cherish everything around us. But not every child can face their difficulties with a smile; they are more familiar with their feelings of lost & tears. They need our continuous care & support.

A Qingchuan students handed me a homemade card, the red colored card had two hearts on it, one heart said: "HAPPY” and the other Heart said: “Thank you for your care and love, I have a feeling that our future will be bright.” He not only wrote the principles of the "Tomorrow Program" which are to help the children to grow happily and to light up their confidence & hope for the future; he also thanks all the partners involved.

The scholarship fund have been granted & completed this term. Thank you for your support and help, thank you for bringing the lights of tomorrow for these children.

For more information and photos, please click here.

Best regards,

Tricia Lin
Tomorrow Program CEO

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Report on Education-Assistance of autumn 2011 - October 27, 2011

The Autumn 2011 Education-Assistance Project of Tomorrow Program has came to a complete conclusion. This year we have added new assistance projects and regions. The following is a detailed report of this program.

I - Employment Assistance Project

In Spring 2011 the Compal Group of Taiwan and Tomorrow Program reached preliminary agreement to jointly provide employment assistance to the high school graduates of the impoverished areas. The focus is on those who have been admitted to universities and colleges but have to give up because they cannot afford the expensive tuition fees; for those who are good in conduct but have not been admitted to the university, Compal Group will provide training opportunity and a certain number of job positions.

On 30th August 2011, Mr. Zhao, Human Resources Manager of the Compal Group accompanied by Ms. Tricia Lin, Executive Director of Tomorrow Program, visited the Yanyuan Ethnic Middle School of the Yanyuan County of Liangshan District of Sichuan Province. The first batch of student applicants who were recommended by the teachers and the school, having passed the interview, have already started their training program at the Kunshan Factory of the Compal Group.

Thanks to the Compal Group for providing employment opportunities and living assistance to the children of the impoverished mountain areas, and made exceptions to provide them with transportation from Yanyuan to Shanghai, allowing them to leave the Da Liang Shan and move toward the hopeful future. We hope that next year, our cooperation with the school will be more proficient and smooth.

II - Sichuan Education-Assistance Project – Qingchuan, Beichuan

1. Autumn Education-Assistance

The beginning of the school term every Autumn is the busiest time for us. A group of junior-high school graduates in Qingchuan County were not able to get into high school. We have to follow up, check and update the data and continue with our assistance. Another group of new students joined Tomorrow Program, and the list was updated after our interview, home visits, and checking. This time, 117 new students were added to the list, of which 36 were from Sanguo Middle School, 52 from Guanzhuang High School, and 19 from Beichuan National High School.

High school students were mainly from the Qingchuan High School of Qiaozhuang town of Qingchuan County and Qingchuan No.1 High School of Zhuyuan town. The rest were scattered among Guangyuan, Jiangyou and Chengdu. Most of the students from Beichuan National High School were admitted to the new Beichuan High School. Since the new Beichuan High School have very good conditions and can apply for school subsidy and government subsidy, we decided to discontinue with our subsidies to them, and leave the quota to students who are more in need of assistance.

The new students added in this school term, apart from being from a poor family, also have various difficult situations: father or mother had died or divorced, disabled, sick, working out of town; 3 students’ mother have serious neurosis, the student lived with other family, was adopted, having disability, and there were many students who stayed home alone; one student’s home was destroyed by fire and lost all belongings, the other student’s home which had just been rebuilt after earthquake was washed away by the flood that happened to Qingchuan……… In his “my autobiography” a first year junior-high student wrote: “My family has 2 persons, me and my father. My father earns money out of town to maintain my schooling expenses. He does not come home too often. In the process of my growing up, some schoolmates said that I am a child without mother. I always treated them with my fist. I always feel that I do not have maternal love, my soul is not complete.”

With the price of everything soaring, the meal cost of the school canteen is also on the rise. Most of the male students did not eat enough. Although the schools are reconstructed new buildings with bath rooms, hot water is not available for student’s bath. Basically, junior-high students return home once a week, the high school students usually return home once a month or even longer due to high transportation costs and high stress from school works; yet some students did not have a bath room at home to use.

The difficulty and misfortune in live have caused tremendous psychological shadow to the children. Facing the misfortune and tears they have, apart from teaching them how to face difficulties and manage their emotion, giving them spiritual comfort and encouragement is most important. Therefore, except Qingchuan High School which was having examination, we have arranged two evenings self-study time in other schools for us to talk with the students.

After continuous psychological counseling and care, the progress made by the children were remarkable; they became more self-confident, more focused and happier every school term. Their progress brought us great comfort. Last school term auntie Tricia taught them not to be shy and to ask questions in class, beware of and correct from one’s shortcoming………. , this time, some children told us: they begin to like more who they are now, they have made big progress in their school works. A few of the students privately asked auntie Jiang if they can be the volunteer of Tomorrow Program in future. This has touched us very much. The principal of Guanzhuang Middle School said having seen us is just like having seen the life-saving straw, and he said: “firstly, you subsidized the poor students, secondly, your guidance to the students also helped the school.”

This year, we have 15 high school graduates, 9 of them were admitted to university, colleges (Yunnan University, Chengdu Chinese Medicine University, Xihua Teachers University etc.), 2 repeated the high school last year class, 4 could not be contacted. We have 94 third year junior-high students in Qingchuan, 86 of them were admitted to high school, which is 91.5%. In Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, we have 39 junior-high graduates, and 24 of them were admitted to high school, which is 61.5%. Up until now, total of 18 of our subsidized students have become university [college] students.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s Youth Activities Centre has completed at last. Although it is far from well equipped as we anticipated, yet we are thankful to Mr. Hanqing of TCL China and Professor Alice Zhang of Beijing University for their donation of two 65” multi-media TV, which were placed on both sides of the stage of the hall.

Our thanks to Mr. Liu Zejun of Kelun Pharmaceutical for the arrangement of transportation for Madam Tricia Lin and the volunteers of Beijing to Muyu town of Qingchuan county on 18th Septe, mber, and to Mr. Wang Li of Guantao Law Firm for the transport, ation arrangement made for us to Leigu town of Beichuan on 27th September. Our appreciation to the hard works and contributions of all the volunteers: Tricia Lin, Zhou Xian, Liu Yang to Qingchuan; Tricia Lin, Wang Jiahong, Rachel Lu to Beichuan.

2. Revisit to Guanzhuang

On 13th October, Tricia Lin together with Tomorrow Program committee member Mr. Ma Ke, a friend of Mr. Ma Ke from Beijing and the volunteers returned to Guanzhuang Middle School to meet with the 95 students of our program. At the same time, we tried to understand the needs of the school: such as school uniforms, chairs for the assembly hall, blinds for the classrooms, office computers, solar water heaters, multimedia equipments… etc. etc. After asking assistance from various sources by Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing, we will provide Guanzhuang Middle School with 10 solar water, heater. The students of the school will now be able to have hot water bath! In addition, in accordance with the purpose of expenditure designated by the fund donors, we will, starting from the next school term, provide different types of scholarship to students of Tomorrow Program, including: Outstanding Results Scholarship, Progress in Study Scholarship and Special Scholarship (special talent and skill, capability in class affairs management, participation and performance in school and daily activities).

We thank Mr. Ma and his friend from Beijing for having brought 5,000 sets of tooth brush and towel to the five schools in Qingchuan under Tomorrow Program: 1 set for each student of Muyu, Guanzhuang and Sanguo junior-high school; 1,500 sets for Qingchuan High School, 1,200 set for Qingchuan No. 1 High School, 200 set for Guanzhuang Welfare Home (orphans and widowed senior citizen).

III - Gansu Education-Assistance Project – Zhangjiachuan

The Guangxi Province Jingxi County education-assistance project was originally scheduled to start this school term but due to certain essential conditions not met with, its execution was temporized. A teacher Mr. Wang who had long been serving education-assistance of the western region gave us urgent notice that the poor students of Zhangjiachuan urgently need assistance. As such, we started the trip of education-assistance for the Zhangjiachuan County of Tianshui City, Gansu Province .

Zhangjiachuan is the national level poverty stricken county, located at the loess steep slope between Lanzhou and Xi’an. Its state of impoverishment is serious. The local transportation is inconvenient, rail and highway transportation have to be transferred from Tianshui city. In order to save time and avoid taking 16 – 17 hours of train to Tianshui, we first flown to Xi’an on 15th October, then took the bus in the morning of 16th to Tianshui, and again changed car to arrive at Zhangjiachuan, which took the whole day.

The Zhangjiachuan climate was dry, the residents were mostly of the Hui tribe. During the 12/May earthquake, some of the adobe houses were seriously damaged. With the 10,000 RMB aid from the national government, most families used bricks to build the outside wall, the home of some students were still abode house, the whole family slept on the, abode bed with a fire underneath for heating. Zhangjiachuan First High School was located at the county. The 79 students of tomorrow Program all came from various town and country of the county, too wide an area for home visits. We could only do home visits to those closer to the county. The fact is the further away from the county, the worse the impoverishment.

About half of our students do not live at the school, they rent a house close to the school together with their siblings or classmates. The rent is between 800-1200 RMB each year, the reason being: save on living expenses. Living at the school, besides paying the resident fee, has to eat at the school canteen, usually 2 rmb for breakfast, 4-5 rmb each for lunch and dinner, total 12 rmb per day, cheaper than Qingchuan, but the student’s family still cannot afford the monthly victual fee of 300-400 rmb. Therefore, they rent a house outside, go home once every 2-3 weeks and brought back 50-60 catty victuals of flour, oil and pickles, and make steamed buns or noodles as their 3 meals every day. Many students said they do not have sufficient time to do home works after going to and from school every day and doing the 3 meals.

Whether living in the dorm or renting a house, our students basically do not have meat to eat; there are also students who brought back steamed buns from home and spent 2-6 RMB to eat at school but cannot fill up their stomach.

The living environment of Zhangjiachuan is not good, the students family all have many children, with 2-6 siblings, some go to school and live together at a rented room, some work to subsidize the home expenses. The parents are all peasants, but will go to work at Xinjiang, Lanzhou or locally after the harvest. Most of them are illiterate or just finished primary school.

The students and teachers were very excited by our visits and counseling, very curious, since there was not any other education assistance organization like us who spend 2 nights of self-study time every school term to talk to them and let them feel the sincere love and care. In the autobiography, one student wrote: “In this Zhangjiachuan that is surrounded by mountains, only studies can bring me out of the big mountains to the new world. There are too many mountains here, one after the other pressing on me that made me difficult to breath and unable to find the way out. Mountain after mountain isolated us from the outside world.” These students must help out the farm work when they return home: work in the fields, cooking, wash clothes, walk several kilometers to carry water home to fill up several earthen containers [no tap water] ……… Another student whose parents work out of town has to go home every week to take care of the old grand parents wrote in his autobiography: “Many a time, I longed for my father and mother, yet I could only look at the mount, ains in front of my home, stood there for a long time and stared at the distant place. Sometimes, I wa, nted very much, to , give up myself, [my studies] to , help out, the family.” This is th, e co, mmon voice of, the heart of the students. , The arrival of Tomorrow Program let them see the hope as well as driven their determination to persevere in their studies.

"I wanted to buy some books but afraid that my parents cannot afford, and let them have added burden.” “I can only watch anxiously classmates use learning tools with powerful functions.” These are the common problems of the majority of the Tomorrow Program students. Fortunately, the students of all the schools must wear school uniform, they are all equal in attire.

During the conversations held in the 2 evenings, the questions brought up by the students of Zhangjiachuan first High School included: Is it useful to study hard? When can my father end his trip working out of town for the whole family? When can my family live a good time? Can I let them have a good living? My mother has had neurosis for over 10 years, my father has to support my schooling and work hard for the whole family, sometimes when he told me how hard he worked, I did not know what to do?

The Zhangjiachuan Second High School at Longshan County, the poverty condition of the 50 students under our program is more or less the same, or even goes beyond.

Living condition in Longshan town is very bad. For safety sake, the teachers of First High School suggested that we live at the hotel in the county. Much to the thanks of the donations given by the Lynck Foundation of America, the children living in this far away loess ground received care and assistance. There are more students in Second high school that need help. Next school term, we will add more students to the program.

Ⅳ - Summary and Prospect

The Tomorrow Program will be entering the fourth year, currently there are close to 500 students in subsidy (excluding university students, high school graduates and 3rd year junior-high graduates of Beichuan Ethnic Middle School). The principle that we have persisted in the past 3 years is: do not let the students being helped to feel that they were helped or sympathized, but were being cared for, loved and counseled. We believe we have achieved this principle because there is nothing more important than the children’s dignity. It is because of this many children’s letter to us mentioned: “proud to be a member of the Tomorrow Program family, will definitely pass on the love in the future…………… "

In these 3 years, our greatest wish is being able to provide high school students with 1,600 RMB stipend each year. With price of things soaring, and the high school students must pay the school fees, 800 rmb stipend each year is far from sufficient, but our wish are yet to be realized until now. We always used the limited funds to help more students as there are too many who need help. It is this reason that this year we will not give stipend to university students.

Currently, we do not have the manpower and funds to hold fund raising event (because 100% of the funds raised will be used as stipend, unless the donors have other specific usage), nor do we wish to send individual reminders that may cause psychological burden to the donors. The progress made by the children and their happiness are our greatest motivation, the continuous donations from everyone is the primary factor for us to be able to persist. We and the children look forward to your help.

For more information and photos, please click here.

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Report on Spring Visit - April 6, 2011

This winter seems to be longer than usual; I (Tricia Lin) & the Beijing volunteers landed in the low temperature Muyu Village on Mar 20th. The road conditions in Qingchuan’s state were much better compared to last fall, but the road conditions from Guanzhuang to Sanguo and from the township to Muyu were still very poor & devastating, the 4 wheels drive vehicle which the Kelun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. used to drive us from Chengdu, it was originally black & shinny, by the time we reached Mu Yu, it turned into brown color & very muddy. There were a few houses being build on the streets of various villag, , es and towns, but mostly were restored. The reconstruction crew members from Zhejiang already left; therefore the shops & restaurants were much quiet & not very many street pedestrians in the area.

We still follow the previous visit procedure of staying in each school for two nights to talk to the students, upon the request of the teacher; we interviewed students individually & visited their family. We enrolled 23 new students in the Mu Yu Middle School, 29 new students in Guan Zhuang, the 52 new students were either very poor, have single parent or an orphan. Almost all of them are first level junior high students. The teachers said the “Tomorrow program” is Qingchuan’s only charitable organization supporting the students; it not only provided the financial (material) support but also provided the mental support & warm care for the students. “Tomorrow program” became the only hope for those students.

The majority students of Mu Yu Middle School and San Guo Middle School are still shy, self cautious & very quiet, but the trust and the smiling faces shown that they were not afraid & had courage to face difficulties. Last semester, the school principal requested us to talk to the students, emphasized on the topics of responsibility, discipline, conduct & respect; we now saw the big change in the students of Guan Zhuang High School. This time we saw all students were role models, they were very energetic, polite, dedicated, concentrated in listening, out spoken, participated in group discussion enthusiastically, very bright & happy.....it was really lovely. Orphan Liu Yan shown sadness when were leaving, she hugged us with tears, Huang Lu (boy, junior high 3rd grad) waited for us in a reporting room in front of the school gate, gave us 2 gifts which his mother had spent two months to complete, they were a very beautiful cross stitching scenery embroidery and two pairs of shoe pads.

Last semester we enrolled two special children in Guan Zhuang Middle School: Wang Bin (first grad junior high, orphan, lives in the orphanage) and Jia Guangju (first grad junior high, abandoned since childhood, foster father was injured in the earth quake), When we did the first day evening roll-call, we realized Jia Guangju had to discontinue her study & gone home because she could not afford the school’s books fees and Wang Bin had to run between his orphanage & the school 3 times a day in order to get his daily meals. I and teacher arranged the “Tomorrow Program” to pay for these two children’s annual boarding and lodging, and waived their miscellaneous school expenses. The next day, the teacher arranged Jia Guangju’s foster father to bring her return to school immediately. Wang Bin started to live a normal life in school as the other students. In addition, Wang Bin’s orphanage was actually a “Welfare home”, they had three orphans & 98 widowed seniors. The Guan Zhuang Middle school teacher promised me that they will arrange a program for the student to go to the Welfare home each month. The program included the student to sing & talk to the seniors, to show they care for them & will bring happiness , to the seniors; this will also raise our student’s compassion and the social sense of responsibility.

The last visit in Qingchuan was Qingchuan Senior High School in the town of Zhuyuan & Qingchuan Technical High School. One of our partners, Chengdu Kelai Software Company joined our journey, they brought about 50 colleague’s hand written blessing & encouragement cards, and it warmed each student’s heart. Mr. Roy Luo told the students about his struggle in life in the past, the students were dee, ply touched & moved by his story. Everyone made inquiries to him enthusiast, ically, the young & low profile Roy reply each one of them patiently. One o, f the student send a , short note to him said: “Big brother Luo, thanks to your help! This is a new starting point for me & it is very meaningful to me!”

Our high-school pupils were all very rational, they seemed mature & clever, but they were under a lot of stress, their mind was always struggling with how to handle the abundance of school work, family problems & the psychological trauma after the earth quake, some child’s father had traffic accident, some mothers had surgery, some child’s newly built house was washed away by last year flood disaster, still lives i, n the shed, some students thought being “not selfish” studied in the Qingchuan Technical High School so that they can save money to treat their sick father, but their father still pass away. Some parents always disagreed with each other ect........。When they briefly talked to me privately, the bright smiling face disappeared; some students did not know what to tell me, all they can do was to reach into my arm with their tears in their eyes and said: “Aunty Jane, could you stay one more day?”。At the point of departure, the children insisted to see us off at our hotel nearby the school & would not leave until we , enter the hotel. We started our group discussion in the school at 6:30 pm; by the time we returned to the hotel was 10:00 pm already.

On March 30th, we went to the Jiangyou Senior High to meet with two students and had lunch with them. Immediately we rushed to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village afterwards. The mountain road was still difficult, the reconstruction there still behind, and the entire Yu Li township was still a big constructio, n site. The youth activity center of the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School estimated to complete & ready for use on June 1st. The “Tomorrow Program” students in the Ethnic Middle School had shown great improvement similar to the students in Guan Zhuang Middle school. The drop-out rate in the Ethnic Middle School is always high, their teacher told us: Many student can continue school was due to the support by the “Tomorrow Program”, it not only provided the financial support, but also given the students encouragement, love & care. The road condition was still very poor; we could not reach many of the student’s family, even with the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the schools of Qingchuan & Beichuan, our discussion was based on problems mentioned in the letters which we received from the students. We taught them how to solve their problems for lacked of self confident, not sociable, self cautious, follow others blindly, outrage easily, pessimistic, too open, judge others without thinking clearly, could not concentrate in class, try very hard to study but no improvement, their parents always argue, some divorced, loss of their family members (hatred feelings, thought the world is unfair), afraid of their school result could not reach the standard for the senior high or university entrance, worried that their support from the “Tomorrow Program” will be cancelled, did not know how to get along with their friends, did not know how to handle puberty problems etc. When the children told us their deep secrets in their mind signified their trust in us. Our ultimate goal which we work really hard & endure to achieve is to help these children by taking care of them, listen to them patiently, and offer them with long term counseling & support.

Thanks to Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association & Colasoft Co., Ltd. Chengdu’s continue support, deeply appreciate your dedications.

Please click here to see the pictures of related activities:

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Fall Semester Report - November 2, 2010

Due to the flooding situation in Qingchuan, our trip was postponed. Thanks to the driving arrangement made by Mr. Liu Ze Jun of the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, we were able to go to the Qingchuan’s Mu Yu Village on Oct 11 & to Beichuan County’s Yuli Village on Oct 27 by car. We also like to thank all the volunteers from Tianjin and Qinghua University’s as well as Lu Yi Jun in the office of "Tomorrow Program", we considered our visits to Qingchuan & Beichuan were successful.

There were a lot of changes in the schools of Qingchuan County and its students, Sanguo Middle School is the only school which has junior & senior high levels, and the senior high section had been moved to a new Qingchuan First High School in the town of Zhuyuan. Most of our junior high graduates passed the entrance exam of the Qingchuan First High School, 3 students admitted into the Qingchuan Vocational High School, 3 students got into the Jiangyou High School and Jiangyou Middle School in Jiangyou. A majority of our Beichuan Ethnic Middle School’s junior high graduates got into the New Beichuan High School.

Within the 16 high school graduate students in the "Tomorrow Program", 10 students admitted into universities & colleges such as Sichuan International Studies University, Xinjiang Tarim University and University for Science &Technology Sichuan etc. One student had to give up university because she cannot afford the huge tuition fee. Two students had to repeat the 3rd year of Senior High, and we lost contact with four students. Bai Xiu Fang’s dream of going to university was broken, because she cannot afford the university expenses, she has to work in a restaurant & help supporting her family with her salary of RMB600.00 per month. The situation of Wang Wan Hon who came from a very poor family is not very optimistic either. Therefore I encouraged & emphasized to the students from extremely difficult families to apply for the vocational high schools not the regular high schools.

Starting from this semester, we had subsidized each high school students RMB800.00 per year, i.e. RMB400.00 per semester. For the university students, we had subsidized RMB1, 000.00 per year and the scholarships for this semester had been distributed already.

The Qingchuan road condition was very poor due to the flooding disaster in August. Some students’ families were affected. Besides visiting the Mu Yu Middle School, Guanzhuang Middle School, Sanguo Middle school and Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan First High School, we also stayed in each school for two nights to talk to the students. We found 5 senior high & transferred students from the Qiaozhuang’s Qingchuan Middle School and the Qiao Zhuang Junior High School, also found 3 students from the Zhuyuan’s Qingchuan Vocational High School; they were all very surprised, excited & emotional to see us.

All the teachers assisted in the "Tomorrow Program" pleaded us to enroll more students into our program. Due to the limited time we had, we interviewed some new applicants and also did some home visits in order to verify the qualification of these applicants. We then decided to accept three orphans (two from Guanzhuang, one from Beichuan and 3 children who have serious physical disabilities as our new students, the remaining applicants, will have to wait until our next trip. Because of the limited funds in our program & there are, a lot of children required our support, I must select our new students very carefully & discretely. I hope that every one will help in raising more donations and let the “Tomorrow Program” continue to support more children.

Although majority of our students are still shy & not sociable, but comparing to the last semester, they are doing better; they are more lively, open and mature. The Mu Yu Middle School’s students sang to us "A Thankful heart" loudly together; Guanzhuang’s orphan Liu Yan, , Liu Xin Yang hugged & talked to me initiatively, they are no longer self cautious (autistic) comparing to two year ago. After my speech of the topics "Responsibilities" and "The courage to take , ew Qingchuan First High School (originally from the Guanzhuang Mi, ddle School and the Sanguo Middle schools), Yang Biao, Li Yang, Xu Hong Mei (an ophan), stood up immediately to take on the responsibilities as our environmental protection’s team leader and vice team leader, they took an oath to ensure the green environment status in the school, and also , promise to let the spirits of the "Tomorrow Program" continue in the future. Bai Xing Li also stood up and said to everyone: "I would be the first one to take on the responsibility if I do not have the heavy load of school work in my 3rd senior high year". For the past two years, the growth & change in our students touched me very deeply.

The principal of the Guanzhuang Middle School & I had a very lengthy conversation. He indicated that he & his teachers are very worried about most of the students in the 9th grade for their bad habits and behavior & psychological problems, giving the teachers headaches & challenges. They do not know how to guide the students sometimes. After the earthquake, these students were assigned and transferred to different locations in the big cities in China for almost half a year. These students suffered psychological turmoil and their behavior have changed as a result. They do not seem to be able to concentrate in class. Principal Yang said that the “Tomorrow Program” shows a great deal of love toward students, which is rare from other charity organizations in the disaster area, the thorough, careful, and continuous patience in caring for the students from the Program has won trust from all teachers at school! Therefore, they hoped that we can continue our teaching to the students in the "Tomorrow Program", enable them to become the role models for other students, and lead them to achieve the highest standards set forth by the educational goal of school.

The situation in the Guanzhuang Middle School also happened in the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School in the village of Yuli, Beichuan County. Therefore we talked to students in Beichuan about "conduct, discipline, respect and appreciate everything etc…" Hoped this will help. In consideration of the safety water level of the Tang Jia Shan quake-lake, reconstructions & rebuilding of the Yuli village is very slow after the disaster. The only lifeline mountain road connecting the Yuli village & Leigu town in the rainy days is very dangerous & difficult to drive thru. When we were going back to the Leigu Town , we could not even go uphill in the muddy & slippery road, we had to relied on a large excavator to pull our car up, it was a very dangerous experience. The normal driving time for the approximately 30 kilometers mountain journey i, s abo, ut 2 hours, it took us nearly 5 hours to reach town, the Jiang Yu Senior high school’s students waited from noon until 4 p.m. to meet us.

This semester, the students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School had moved to the new campus, but due to the heavy rain & mudslide, the construction of youth center in the new campus is behind schedule. The two 65" large-screen televisions donated by TCL’s Mr. Han Qing and Beijing University Professor Zhang Hai Xia will be installed once the youth center is completed.

Lately, the television news reported on the Sichuan disaster area’s "Three years reconstruction, two years completion" program shown some beautiful images of the rebuilt villages and towns, but it is a pity those villages , that our schools located were not the first priority to be rebuild for the new sightseeing locations, the streets in our school villages are still under construction, dust & mud were everywhere on the streets. Rebuilding of schools was completed, but some of our student’s families still live in the temporary pref, abricate, d houses.

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The New China Net dated September 26, 2010 reported that the low income family high-school students are being included in the Chinese Government’s national subsidizing sys, tem. Each student will be provided an average of, RMB1, 500.00 pe, r year. We ha, ve a total of 74 se, nior high students, , more th, an 200 junior high, students. , Wit, hin the 74, students, , only 3, from the Qingchuan Vocational High students received the government’s RMB1, 5000.00 subsidies. The remaining 71 students did not get any subsidy at all. All junior & senior high students lodge in school, the cost for the meals in the school cafeteria is RMB6.00 for the meat dish, RMB4.00 for the vegetarian dish & RMB3.00 for the breakfast, the daily meals cost a total of about RMB1, 3.00 to RMB15.00 (for the male students it co, uld not fill their stomach sometimes), that means the basic living expenses is about RMB400.00 to RMB500.00 per month. The senior high st, udents had to pay for the RMB2, 000.00 tuition fees annually. The cost to take a bath in school is RMB3.00, in consideration of the student’s dignity; I did not ask them how often they take bath in school. Qingchuan high-school students go home once a month to get , their living exp, enses from parents, but the transportation fee cost them RMB25.00 one-way to go home.

Our Guanzhuang student, Wang Bin (junior high school, orphan, lives in an orphanage), MuYu student, Wang Ming Shing (junior high school, both parents are disable, lives with his aunt since childhood), they could not afford the school’s living expenses, therefore the school made a special exception for them not to lodge in school, they have to go back to orphanage or aunt’s place three times a day for their meals & back to school for the self study sessions in the evening.

The 5.12 earthquake has passed for two and a half years, but the affected difficult families still struggle in poverty, our students grow in difficulties, we cannot imagine the stress & the pressure they feel. I have taught them how to treasure & love themselves, how to face the difficult challenges in their lives, how to manage their emotional turmoil etc..... But in fact, they are the ones who taught me. I have learned & testify from them how to be thankful, strong & firm as well as love in life. In front of our students, I became more humble.

All parents are trying their best to come up with the RMB300-500.00 monthly living expenses for their children, their goal i, s to see their children graduate from high school, admit to universities or colleges in order to leave the mountain area, have a bright future. At present, although the "Tomorrow Program" supports each student with only RMB800.00 per year, but the students and t, heir families appreciate our help & encouragement, they see a future for their children through our help. Thanks to your continuous helps in raising funds diligently for these children, your hard works provide hopes & opportunities for them and other children on the waiting list to join "Tomorrow Program".

The father of Fan Yu Fei, a simple farmer, sends me a short note: "Yu Fei’s Aunty Jane, you are so nice to Yu Fei, I really don’t know how to repay you. Hope that some day Yu Fei will repay you, but he is disabled, I will not forget your kindness for the rest of my life." (Note: Fan Yu Fei’s left arm was amputated because of the earthquake, graduated from Mu Yu middle school last year, passed the entrance exam from the Jiangyou High School with excellent result.)

We do not need and never think of any returns from these students, but this is a father’s sincere appreciation to all our donors.

Because of the limited time we had, we only held group discussion for two nights in each school during the students self-study periods, many students did not speak up or talk to me directly, I did not know how they felt about the “Tomorrow Program”, also did not know if the program had help them psychologically. But couple of days ago, The always quiet & never smile Ho Cheng Tao (his mother passed away in the earthquake, 10th grade senior high student) sent me a short message: "Auntie Jane, heard you have gone to Beichuan, the weather there is getting cold, please take good care of yourself & wish you have a safe trip". Another student Yang Xia Feng admitted to the Sichuan International Studies University), in the short note said that, "I am not the one that can express myself easily, but through the times we spent together; I already consider you as one of my family members!". I finally knew the deepest feelings of these quiet children….. Only the continuous love and care in the long term can really warm and light up students’ heart, and therefore only with your continuous support can Tomorrow Program accompany these under-privileged children in the disaster area move forward to a tomorrow of love and hope.

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Spring Semester Report - Beichuan Ethnic Middle School - April 17, 2010

When the "Tomorrow Program" first started the scholarship project last September, we could only start from the three schools in Qingchuan C, ounty, because of our shortage of funds. (at that time we do not even have enough funds for this semester.) Therefore we did not distribute the scholarship to the 90 students in Beichuan Ethnic Middle School last time. Although it was delayed a semester, but we are happy that these students are able to receive the scholarship simultaneously with the students in Qingchuan this semester.

The Beichuan Ethnic Middle School is located in the village of Yuli (Da Yu’s native place) in Beichuan County, it is in the northwest remote mountains of Beichuan old town ruins (after the earthquake, the town ruins had been closed), Yuli village is very remote, transportation is inconvenient, the mountain road is very steep & dangerous, vary difficult for driving. The present mountain road is dug out after the earthquake by the 2nd missile army who sacrificed some soldiers, as a temporary connecting road. On April 14th Rachel (Lu Yi Jun) and I started our journey. Thanks to Mr. Liu Ze Jun o, f the Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, who provided us with a vehicle to Mianyang. In consideration of the dangerous mountain road, we were transferred from Mianyang to Yuli by a local driver who is familiar with the road condition using the 4 wheel drive vehicle.

In the Beichuan Ethnic Middle School, from the school principal, teachers & students are almost all Qiang ethnic, within the 90 students, there is only one Tibetan ethnic, three Han, ,, , , ethn, ic, . The students s, ti, ll attended clas, se, s,, in the prefabricated te, mporary , buildings, it is estimated the new campus will be finished during the summer vacation. All students lodge in the school, more than 20 students lived in a small room. The principal, teachers and their family also live in the school as well. It is very difficult for one to imagine how these several tiny little rooms are used for all the activities such as class rooms, boarding rooms & eating areas etc… by several hundreds students & teachers together.

Because of the difficult environment, the rate of school transferring and drop out is very high. Besides providing the scholarship and organized the "Tomorrow Program’s" environmental protection team, we also spent more time to counsel students to be persistent in completing the junior high school, then go to senior high or vocational college. More than one third of our ninety sponsored students are single parented, (Father or mother passed away in the earthquake or die in sickness), three orphans, others are all very poor. In the remote mountain country side, outside care & support was very limited, but these students have not been forgotten by us, the determined teachers were also looking forward for their future too. (Move to the new campus in September)

A couple of days ago, A teacher from the Guanzhuang Middle School, called me and said: “These couple o, f days the Qingchuan County’s Bureau of Education initiates the county-wide teachers and students fund raising event for the serious drought in the southwest. The students in "Tomorrow Program" were moved by your environmental protection education & your information about the disaster in Yun Nan & Gui Zhou Provinces; they were very keen on willing to make a donation. They became the role model of the entire sc, hool. Two orphans (Liu Yan, Liu Xin Yang) contributed RMB50.00 each. It was their one week’s living expenses. More over the entire school’s teachers were touched by the "Tomorrow Program’s student, s." After I learned the above story, I was very surprised & moved. I was very proud of them, but on the oth, er hand my heart , was aching for their contributions, I know it was a lot of money t, o them. Love is contagious, our sponsored students became a social responsible person & love transmitter. They continue to affect others as role models of the entire school.

Thanks to the entire members of the Tian Jin Bin Hai New developed area’s volunteers Association and the Charity Association who had work very hard to help in raising funds for supporting the students of "Tomorrow Program"!

Thanks to the donations from Colasoft Co., Ltd., as well as the entire staff’s kindness!

Thanks to Carter/TCL Company’s donation and support!

Thanks to all individual donors and their love!

It is because of you, the 300 students in the "Tomorrow Program" will receive love & support in the next school year. (September 2010 to June 2011).

Please click here to see the pictures of the related activities.

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Spring Semester Report - Qingchuan - April 6, 2010

It is time to report the spring visit on the children in the “Tomorrow Program”. Two volunteers from Beijing, two from Tianjin, one from Cheng Du and I (Tricia Lin), total of 6 of us visited Qingchuan on March 28th for a week.

We made the home visits during daytime to understand their current situations. In the evening hours from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m., we went to the school to talk to our students together. Each student were all withstanding lots of pressure from the abundance schoolwork and the poor family situation, therefore besides providing them encouragement, making them know we care for them and teaching them to love themselves, I also requested each student to wrote down their worries, questions and problems, we will try to answer or solve the problems for them the next evening.

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The funds of RMB200 had been distributed completely. Because of the lack of commodities & rising prices in the disaster area, our students boarding expenses is RMB50.00 to RMB70.00 per week, i.e. RMB200.00 to 300.00 per month. I have informed the teachers that the “Tomorrow Program” will provide each student with RMB800.00 per year, RMB400.00 per semester starting next semester (from September 2010).

In order to catch up with this year’s inspection in the 5.12 disaster area by the central government leaders, the entire Qingchuan County was basically a big construction site, rebuilding streets & houses, taking off the temporary houses & prefabricated houses were seen everywhere, the road conditions were in extreme chaos. This year the drought , in the Southwest also created water shortage in Qingchuan, the water flows from rivers run around the mountains were very little; we also encountered the water shortage problem in the hotels of Guanzhuang and Muyu.

Various schools situation:

1. Sanguo Middle schools: During the last October’s visit, students were having classes in tents, but now they moved into the new campus. The new small campus could not accommodate the classes and boarding , usage for the entire 1,500 students, therefore starting from this September, the senior high section will move to a distant 2 hours driving Zhuyuan. We have to spend more time on these visits in the future. The senior students will be further away from home. More than half of the families’ houses were being rebuilt (the house’s foundation must be completed before they could receive the government grant of RMB16, 000.00 to RMB19, 000.00); some families moved into the new houses but some were unable to finish the rebuilding. Some families were so poor that they have nothing at all; they had to live in their old damaged houses. In particular one high school student Wang Wan Hong’s family is extremely poor, her mother is mentally disable, her old age grandfather even made us really worried. The teacher emphasized to me many times that the “Tomorrow Program” not just provided the money but continued to offer care & psychological counsel to the students, result in their good standing in every aspect. He is dee, ply impressed.

2. Guanzhuang Middle School: The 90 students were more active, lovely & grown much taller comparing to our last visit. Our environmental protection team had made very outstanding achievements, the team leader Yang Ming Qiang wrote down the principles & objectives of the environmental protection team in his working diary, established small groups, assigned daily works for each group such as watering flowers in the garden, cleaning the school & recycling trashes. They managed to sell the recycled products, made an accumulated total of RMB57.00 so far. I also contributed RBM57.00 for them to purchase plant seeds for the school in order to encourage them to continue to work harder in creating a green environment for the school. Student’s family housing situation was similar with Sanguo, more than half of the new houses still not rebuild completely, and some families still lived in the ply wood rooms. The distance for the family visits was further away & the road condition was very bad. The only road in town was full of mud; the hotel did not have enough water. Only a tiny stream of water was flowing in the river, one could see the bottom of the river. Guanzhuang was the heavy disaster area; on May 12, Premier Wen Jia Bao or other central leaders may come to inspect this area, therefore teachers were very busy, luckily this did not affected our home visits and conversation with the students.

3. Muyu Middle School: In order to coordinate with 5.12’s inspection, despite the fact that the new campus not build completely; the school had moved from the temporary prefabricated classrooms to the new campus. The environmental protection team of the “Tomorrow Program” in Muyu needed to be strengthen, I have requested our acting teachers to offer some jobs for the students, and lead them to work on the environmental protection issues, many students still lived in the temporary ply wood rooms. A Family of four lived in the narrow and small room, only two beds and some untidy things; the old grandfather cried very sadly, these situations made us felt heart broken. The students were similar to the Guanzhuang students, comparing to the days before, they were more lively, more opened and their academic achievement was better. The students’ problems were more or less the same as the schools in Sanguo and Guanzhuang, it was mostly about the pressure in their studies, the family poor background, their parents could not get along, memories of their dead family members, conflict between friends, felt inferior & self cautious etc., I felt that our home visits & group discussion sessions in school should have help them. Most importantly they trusted the “Tomorrow Program" will continue to provide them the support, care, encouragement & dignity.

Yesterday, Wang Wan Hong sent me a short message: “I strongly believed that I will be courageous like an American hawk in my life in the future, because I have Auntie Jane, you gave me love, and my life can certainly be more splendid!” (The Americas hawk was a story I told to the students). I believed when we saw the psychological comfort in these students, is our biggest joy.

Thanks to the Tianjin Binhai New developed area’s charitable Association and the volunteers association to help in raising funds in supporting the students in “Tomorrow Program”!

Thanks to the Beijing volunteer Ye Yi in raising the donations of the chocolates for the students, the 210 students received 3 packages each.

Please click here to see the pictures of the related students’ activities.

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