PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
May 2014, issue No. 37
Translated by Chialun Chang
Dear Friends of PEACH，
Winter Camp “Operation Lost Pearls” is the new PEACH program designed to target children who experience hardship from the loss of one or both parents. Many of these orphans have not only been “left behind” academically, but also suffer greatly from abject poverty, emotional trauma and lack of proper medical care. To help these children, PEACH decided to launch a pilot project: a Winter Camp for the orphans. It was held from February 8th to16th earlier this year.
We filled the Winter Camp with a variety of activities such as academic tutoring, Happy Life workshops, Q&A sessions, movies and games. However, the Winter Camp was different from the ongoing PEACH Summer Camps in one crucial aspect: staffing.
To welcome the 338 orphans that were invited to the camp and make them feel at home, we chose TLC (Tender Loving Care) to be the primary focus of our effort. Toward that end, we staffed the camp with 62 PEACH alumni who would serve as both teachers and counselors for the orphans. These young men and women were all enrolled in colleges. We wanted them to encourage the orphans to stay in school for as long as they possibly could. Our objective was that the orphans, most of whom were in the 7th grade, ought to graduate from middle school at the very least. We would like them to go on to high school and college. Or, alternatively, they could enroll in a professional school to acquire a skill and eventually work their way to financial independence. It was our hope that these young teachers would become the role models for the orphans. Their mission was a demanding one: they were to pick up the lost pearls.
The result has exceeded my expectations. The young teachers quickly established a close rapport with the orphans because they shared a very similar past. They went through the same hardship and spoke the same language. More importantly, the teachers were all college students, so each of their personal experience became a real-life success story for the orphans. We showed the orphans that dreams do come true. Each teacher’s own struggle and how he or she made it into college became the inspiration or even the roadmap for the orphans in their charge.
The key to our success was
simple: total immersion. For one week the orphans lived and breathed in the
tender loving care of their teachers. We assigned two teachers to each class of
12 students. Each class had its own dining table and dormitory. In addition to
their teaching duties, the teachers also ate and slept together with their
As “Operation Lost Pearls” targets
children who experience hardship from the loss of one or both parents, they are
admitted to PEACH without consideration of academic requirements. Consequently, only about one third of the
orphans we invited actually had good grades at school. To promote the kids’
interest in school work and to strengthen their language skills, we instituted
a “Know Your Classics”
Game and asked them to memorize some famous texts in the Chinese canon. These
are poems and essays taught in every school in
Behold, dost thou not see: Out of the sky a mighty Yellow River Whose water doth powerfully flow Bursting forth from its heavenly quiver Runs galloping toward the sea; Time’s Arrow. …
Then I said, “Those of you who know Su Shi’s Recalling the Past at Red Cliff, please stand up.” Again, the children intoned loudly in unison:
Gone east is the Great Yangtze, Whose frothy water surges and sieves And leaves hardly a trace Of heroes from a thousand ages. …
Then I said, “Those of you who know Meng Tzu’s Gaozi, Part 2, please stand up.” By now ALL the kids were practically yelling. They recited: When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent…
Needless to say, the spectacles
left an indelible impression on Uncle Kao and the honorable guests from
On the last day, I asked the 62 Winter Camp teachers for their feedback. Some felt as if they were teaching their own younger selves. A few told me they finally understood why people like me–somebody from thousands of miles away, and a total stranger no less–would want to come all the way here and help kids like them. Watching these college-age young men and women, I was impressed by how much they had grown. They, too, were in the 7th grade when PEACH took them under her wing. In the beginning they were every bit as diffident and frightened as the lost pearls we had in the camp right now. After years of tender loving care provided by our extended family, the confused and hesitant kids back then had morphed into the mature adults in front of me: their head held high, their manners assured. Now they even fought among themselves for the opportunity to come to this Winter Camp, all because they wanted to lend a hand to someone from their own past.
Lastly, on behalf of our entire
staff, I would like to formally thank Mr. Kao from
Adjustment of Sponsorship The PEACH Foundation is now 13 years old. We are very grateful for all of you who have been with us during these years. We are grateful for your encouragement and your companionship, and most of all for helping us grow from a little sapling to a strong, leafy tree that we are today.
As you are probably aware, RMB has been appreciating at a steady pace for some years. As of the writing of this newsletter the exchange rate is 1:6.2, or $125 for RMB￥775, or $250 for RMB￥1550. The appreciation of RMB alone has created a gap between what each PEACH kid needs and what we can provide. For now, PEACH is making up for the difference. The actual amount we provided for the students is as follows (rounded to American dollars by the latest exchange rate): $130 / rmb 800 each year for a child enrolled in the middle school, and $260/ rmb 1600 each year for a child enrolled in the high school.
In addition to the
Our next Volunteer Understanding
Trip to the NuJiang region is scheduled from
Nujiang is one of the rivers within the Three Rivers Natural Reserve, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO in 2003. The NuJiang gorge is over 316 kilometers long, sandwiched to the west by Gaoligong Mountain range (3374 meters elevation) and the Biluo Mountain range (4379 meters elevation) on the east. The sight is magical with the raging river in the middle, and the steep slopes hundreds of meters up from both sides of the river. Most mountain inhabitants live in wooden sheds and huts built on the sides or the top of the mountain. Villages on the opposite bank of the river are accessed either by narrow hanging bridges, or by sliding on overhead cables that span the river. We invite you to join us for a visit to the NuJiang region for future Volunteer Understanding Trips. We can enjoy the amazing sights while delivering our love to the children there.
A special thanks to Alex Chang who prepared a more detailed introduction to Nujiang region to inspired more people to join the understanding tour.
The three sessions of the English Summer Camp for 2014 will be held in July. Currently all teaching spots are filled. Thank you all.
Of the 900 children PEACH has added to our family in 2014, a little over 400 kids are still looking for sponsorship. As always, your help and continuing support will be deeply appreciated. Also, please spread the word among your friends and relatives on our behalf.
Below, we have attached some PEACH students’ biographies, which are part of our collection “Deep in Our Hearts.” We enclose the latest issue of PEACH Children magazine, Volume 13. It is not translated to English, yet it is full of pictures which tell lots of stories. Thank you.
I would like to donate to the Laurice children medical funds (at an average of US$20 per child.)
I would like to send ___________children to attend Summer Camp (at US$50 each for one week.)
I would like to donate to scarf and mitten funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to thermal-pajama funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to mosquito net funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to the library funds (at US$20 per library)
I would like to donate to the Junhui writing funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate to the mini-loan for middle and high school students’ living expenses (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate to the college loan funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate _ (laptop computer/ digital camera/ cell phone)
I would like to increase my sponsorship to ___ high school students and ___ middle school students; the yearly costs are US$300 for a high school student, US$150 for a middle school student.
Please make check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION.
Phone：650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
12212 LongXX, 7th Grade, Boy
Translated by Chialun Chang
From when I was little I have been a good kid. I respect my parents and always do what I am told. I take care of younger siblings, feed the pigs, and cook for the family. I am glad everyone in our village praises me and considers me a model kid.
In second grade we did not have the money for school books. Mother went to town and sold her beautiful hair. She not only got enough to pay for the books, but also bought two new backpacks for me and my kid brother. I was in tears. I vowed I would study hard, find a good job and repay her someday.
Then I got sick. We could not afford
to take me to the doctor’s. Father and Mother went everywhere trying to borrow
money, but people all said: “Very sorry, but we happen to be a little short
ourselves.” Mother kept on begging until someone agreed to lend her some money.
Then she carried me on her back and went to the hospital in town. Even though
Once, Mother had an accident while gathering firewood in the mountains. She hurt her hand badly and could not handle the heavy workload. I wanted to drop out of school and go find a job in town. I wanted to ease my parents’ burden even if only just a little bit. But Mother changed my mind. Despite her serious injury, Mother still did all the laundry and all the cooking. She insisted on taking care of us so we could stay in school. I couldn’t let her down. I must study hard.
In fifth grade I got very sick. It turned out I had mumps. Mother was frantic. She took me to the doctor’s right away and got me herbs, but for a while I was not getting better. So every morning Mother went out and got more herbs. Every evening she carefully washed my feet and re-applied the herbs on them. Little by little, I started to heal under her meticulous care. But even as I improved Mother was doing poorly. She had lost a lot of weight. Then Grandmother passed away. After that Mother looked worse and worse. On top of taking care of us, she worried about money all the time because we were always short. At that time we did not have anything worth selling in the house. Finally both Father and Mother became sick, too. For a while I was the one who must take care of my kid brother and sister.
sixth grade. I studied very hard. I had good grades and my score at the
Entrance Exam was high enough that I got accepted by one of the best secondary
schools in the County, the
However, my high score brought
new worries to the family. The living expenses at Yuanyang
would be hundreds of RMB every month, not even counting tuition, books and
other fees. We simply could not afford such an expensive school. In the end, my
Language teacher told me I should reconsider. Kids from poor families like
yours, he said, should go to local schools such as Nansha
Whatever school I am in, I will always do my best. I will study hard and go on to a good high school and a good college. Then I will find a good job and make enough money to repay my parents.
Introduction to the
By Alex Chang
To experience NuJiang is to experience the wrath of God, a friend once told me. Many years later, when I finally saw the landscape with my own eyes, I realized she wasn't completely joking. NuJiang, or literally "Angry River," is a spectacle on such a vast scale that you feel as if you have entered a realm governed by a different set of physical laws. You feel like an ant crawling around in a giants' world. I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but I believe there is no better place on Earth where words fail and you must say instead, "You simply have to be here."
To begin with, this angry river is grander than the
Theodore Roosevelt famously said that the
And what a
squalid existence it is. Most people here are dirt poor, their livelihood
severely constrained by geography. The pristine beauty of the