Far from the warm weather back home, we were plunged into subzero temperatures and experienced the struggles these young children face to attend school during the wintertime.
The heavy snow didn’t stop the children from playing sport with us and eagerly listening to our English, Art and Music lessons. Their faces lit up when we donated 2615 textbooks (worth ~12,500 AUD) to them after meticulously stamping each one. In return, the teachers and students held a special ceremony for us and sang ‘感恩的心’, a song expressing gratefulness that brought many of us to tears.
Although we only spent a few days together, their hospitality, kindness and joy of life will stay with us forever.
It took the contingent of Project Hope representatives 2 flights, 1.5 hour on the high speed rail, and a further 1.5 hour bumpy drive up the mountains to reach Jian Zhuang Primary School.
The primary school is located in a small village on the furthest outskirts of town and contains 181 students and 8 teachers. Some students climb 2 hours every day up and down the mountain to get to school. The village is poor, the conditions are sub-par, and students wear dirty clothes, yet they welcomed the visitors with the utmost warmth, energy, and love.
The students taught us their local games, sang for us, and expressed their thankful hearts through personalised origami letters. Simple yet so touching. We played sport with them, taught them English, Art, and Music, and we too tried to spread some of our warmth, love and passion with them. Although our paths may not cross again, the past few days will forever be engraved in our hearts.
We visited two schools on our donation trip in 2018. Although the condition of the school is satisfactory, 80% of the students’ parents have to earn money far away. Most of them are from the countryside and cannot afford high school.
The contingent of Project Hope members spent the past 3 days living in their shoes; getting up at 6am, teaching English classes, watching their poetry competition, attending their night classes, eating with them at the cafeteria, and playing sport with them. Our attachment to the children, their warmth, acceptance, and excitement to be around us made us so reluctant to leave.
Thanks to our wonderful supporters and donors in 2015, our volunteers Yibing Chen, Frank Wen, Zac, DDR and Yangyang Wu as well as the Guangxi Volunteer Org for the successful trip!
Project Hope travelled to the rural areas of Chongqing and donated 100% of its profit to primary school students. Over the duration of our stay, we donated approximately $10,000 AUD, which was raised by our UNSW student committee members and volunteers in the year 2014.
A good 7000 AUD were used to purchase school equipments including school bags, books, pencils, toys, while another 3000 AUD were donated directly to the school, improving the quality of education for our students.