On September 24th, 2011 CWEF Guangdong arranged home visits for 30 Xiangshan high school scholarship applicants. The day started at eight o’clock in the morning with 24 local volunteers gathering in Deqing Times Square.
There were six home visit groups in total, which had 4-5 members in each who volunteered their time, car and money which paid for fuel and food. Three of the volunteers were CWEF university scholarship recipients who graduated from Xiangshan high school with 3-year high school scholarship support from CWEF. Now they are willing to volunteer their time and energy to help students who have similar circumstances.
Each group had 4-6 applicant families to visit depending on distance. It was a full and meaningful day for each volunteer.
Huang Jinfeng is one of the Xiangshan high school scholarship applicants. In 2008 Jinfeng’s family had to borrow ¥20,000 (US$3,170) from relatives to pay off debt after her father passed away from illness. The family has 3 children in school. Jinfeng’s 45 year old mother is growing one mu (0.16 acre) rice and also works part time in the village. The annual income of this family is around ¥4,800 (US$760). During our home visit we learned that Jinfeng’s younger sister graduated from middle school this July. To save money, her mother sent her to vocational high school which has a much lower tuition of ¥500 (US$80) per year. “I could not support two kids to high school. Jinfeng’s is a better student, so I let her go to high school,” Jinfeng’s mother said. Even though life is not easy for this mother, she still has hope for the future. She hopes Jinfeng can go to university after graduating from high school. At the end of the day each group took time to talk and write down the overall impression of the family.
Home visits help us to understand the applicants’ family situation, build relationships with the families and choose qualified students. Bringing news and hope to the families while gathering applicant information to share with donors is fulfilling. We want the families to know that there are people and organizations that care about them and want to help. The three university volunteers encouraged the applicants and their parents to continue high school study. They have set a good example for finishing high school and continuing on to university.