Promoting Education, Art, and Community Harvest
PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
December 2019, issue No. 54
Translated By Neil Sun
PEACH will admit 1,500 new children in 2020. During this tax planning season, we sincerely ask for your help to promote our tax-deductible donation to your relatives and friends. Your continuing support to the organization is greatly appreciated.
2019 Volunteer Exploration Trip – In 2019 between Oct 19th and 26th, a group consist of nine volunteers went to Honghe and Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province. They visited the PEACH students and their parents to provide encouragement and to ensure the students continue their pursuit for higher education.
Staff Home Visit Trip – Following the Volunteer trip, the PEACH employees visited the homes of 750 students. Their tasks are to communicate with the teachers, visit the current PEACH students, and conduct home-visits to discover children who need the most help.
New project site – Qiaojia County, Yunnan Province –Qiaojia County is located in Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, adjacent to Huize and Ludian County. It is one of the most complex county towns in Yunnan Province. 98.9% of the area is mountainous. Farmers’ incomes are mostly based on limited harvests of a few crops. We provided 120 sponsorships to Qiaojia County this year and will gradually increase the number if the operation goes smoothly.
The new project site – Myanmar In recent years, Mainland China has made extraordinary effort to help the poor. Based on reports, the government has helped farmers building new houses, subsidized poor students. I estimate the children in needs are reduced by 30%.
PEACH was informed the donation and operation are no longer needed in 5 out of 12 counties because there are no more children in poverty. We are doing our best to communicate and coordinate with relevant departments in hope of a better turn.
In the meantime, I took two staffs, Tina and May, spent three weeks in Myanmar to investigate expanding PEACH work to Myanmar in the coming year. Myanmar is the poorest of the 10 Southeast Asian countries. The economy is like China in the 1970s. For example, for a village with 300 households, there are only two have electricity. Poverty is widespread.
Between November 5th and 25th, we visited 43 Chinese schools and 3 orphanages in Mogok, Pyin U Lwin, Lashio, and Yangon.
Because northern part of Myanmar borders with China, variety of business trades with China is frequent. It is easier to find a job for those who know Chinese. Students are having a hard time joggling studying schedule. A normal school day includes getting up at 4:30 am, going to Chinese school from 5:30 am to 8:00 am, studying in regular Myanmar school from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, learning Chinese again from 4:00 pm - 6: 00 pm, and then attending night touring school for the rest of the evening. The standard salary of a teacher in Myanmar is around $150 US dollars / month, and teachers basically live on touring fees from the evening classes.
We asked teachers to recommend students between sixth and eighth grades who has good grade as the target for sponsorship. However, many kids started working after junior high graduation (8th grade) just to make ends meet. Many kids do not value higher education.
We encourage children and their parents to look ahead and value higher education so they can be in tune with the ever advancing economic in Myanmar. Only when PEACH children completed their college degree and found good jobs, will they become role models and inspiration for other students and their parents to value knowledge and education.
Children in the orphanage are living in poor conditions. Their houses are usually made with cheap wood and their beds are scrap boards. The orphanages house orphans, single parents, children in poverty, and people who fled from the war zones. Civil wars in Myanmar occur quite often, and once war broke out, villagers would scatter around with no permanent place to stay. Children are easily separated from their families and the lucky ones are accepted by orphanages.
Many orphanages rely on fundraising solely to feed the kids. They eat whatever they can get. It is common to have kids grow their own vegetables. The daily meal is less than $0.72 US dollars. The children are severely undernourished. However, the children in these orphanages have strong will to learn and their grades are much better than those of Chinese schools. (*Chinese is not taught at the orphanages.)
In private homes, houses are poorly built with a lot of patchworks with bamboo rafters. The flimsy wood floor creaks as it would collapse at any time. Most houses have mud floor and without electricity, but they are clean without scatters. Parents teach their children from an early age that they can be poor but the living environment has to be well maintained. Each home has a small toilet and they are kept clean. The cleanliness of the sanitary facility at schools is impressive too. The stalls have four tall walls unlike those in mainland China where no-privacy low wall is the predominate design.
Beginning in 2020, donors will have the option to sponsor children from mainland China or Myanmar. Details will be announced in March 2020. Thank for your support in helping more poor children to receive education!
2020 Summer Camps – schedule as follows. All volunteer teachers’ positions are already full.
Session A: 7/17 to 7/27/2020 at Ludian, Yunnan Province. Full
Session B: 7/26 to 8/5/2020 at Huize, Yunnan Province. Full
Session C: 8/6 to 8/14/2020 at Yulong, Yunnan Province. Full
2020 Volunteer Exploration Trip The next volunteer group is now opened for registration. It is scheduled for Oct 17th to 25th, 2020 at the NuJiang region, Yunnan province. Nujiang is one of the rivers within the Three Rivers Natural Reserve, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO in 2003.
Attached #1 is the Christmas gift brochure. The children need the support from you, your relatives, and your friends. Any donation toward student sponsorship, summer camp, or any other PEACH activities is greatly appreciated! Every dollar represents the human kindness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Attached #2 has two articles written by PEACH staff May Lee, please feel free to share them with your families, relatives, and friends. May was sponsored by PEACH in 2003, and she has been working in PEACH since 2010.
Address: 1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404, U.S.A.
Phone: 650-525-1188 Fax: 650-525-9688
House Visit Reminiscence – May Lee Translated By George Wang
In November 2019, I came across a family during my house visit trip in Qiaojia County. The family consisted of 11 members in addition to the parents. Our PEACH student had three older sisters, three older brothers, one younger brother, as well as two nephews and one niece from the eldest brother. All three sisters were illiterate. The eldest sister had married, the second sister left town with a boyfriend and lost contact. The youngest sister worked on family farm and took care of the cattle.
The eldest brother used to have a wife. She couldn’t stand the poverty and left, abandoning her own kids. Afterward, the eldest brother killed himself three weeks later. Two of their children were in elementary school and the youngest one was four years old. The second brother married into his wife’s family and was unable to provide assistance. The third brother was a sophomore in high school and the youngest brother was in 6th grade. Our PEACH student, the seventh child among his siblings, was in 9th grade.
This large family was cramped inside a shabby mud house. Their mosquito nets were made out of plastic sheets to fend off both mosquito and the chilly winter wind. The whole family lived on five acres of potato field, three pigs and two cows.
The 3rd sister was twenty years old. She had never been to school. Aunt Jeng advised her to restart her education and promised to support her financially. In sixteen years, she could earn her degree and live a different life. Aunt Jeng mentioned the story of Sha Fang. Sha didn’t go to school until she was fourteen. She was now a nurse and made a good living. However this girl felt was too late for school anyway. The thought of joining the first graders made her cringe.
Our PEACH student, the seventh sibling, showed up with patches on his pants and holes in his shoes. He welcomed us with his smile. He is destined to be the pillar of the whole family. PEACH also provides for the brother in high school to lighten the family burden. With better education, the two brothers shall have a bright future.
My Experience in Myanmar – May Lee Translated By George Wang
“Mom is a blessing from Heaven. With Mom, we children are treasured gems. Without her, there is no where one can find love.” As the Burmese orphanage choir sang this song, I couldn’t help but started to cry.
This orphanage was founded twenty-three years ago. The founder set up several orphanages and this one was managed by his sister. The orphanage adopted over one hundred children. Among them were orphans, children from single parent, from war-torn refugees and from poor family. All children were smeared with a plant-based substance to guard against mosquitoes and sunburn. They played in the muddy field barefoot or wearing slippers. They lived in houses that were put together with bamboo strips and their beds were plain wood boards.
In northern Myanmar, wars had torn family apart. Many children hid in the orphanage to avoid being drafted into military as child soldiers. The master of the orphanage led the girls working in the compound to grow vegetables. The boys were sent to the local farmers to grow rice. Through their own labor, they could earn their livings.
The largest expenditure for the orphanage was sending the 10th graders to take the preparatory courses for college. Even with the preparatory courses, only a few would get into college. Without the courses, the chance would be even dimmer. The master devoted herself wholeheartedly to the children. She was doing her very best to feed them and to educate them.