April Chiasson

four girls students sitting at desks listening to CWEF supported mental health class lectures on bullying

How to Prevent Toxic Bystanding and Bullying

How common is school bullying? Over half of the 36,000 participants in a school-bullying survey conducted by Tencent reported being bullied at school. Whereas one-fourth of survey participants admitted to bullying others. 

Because of the generosity of people like you who donate to our programs, CWEF and its nonprofit partners can host mental health classes for students in the Chinese province of Yunnan. In the hopes of protecting more students from the distress and dangers of bullying, the teachers of our mental health courses taught students all about this important issue!

The instructors shared real and heart-breaking stories about children that had been so badly bullied at school that they considered killing themselves. Through these stories, students could feel the deep and sometimes irreparable pain their actions can bring to someone else. 

From there, the teachers talked about all the types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and gender-based; and they gave the students clear examples of what these different types of bullying look like. Finally, they educated the students on how to protect themselves by avoiding playing alone far from other people, for example, or by telling someone in authority about the bullying when it occurs.  

In all of this, the teachers emphasized how watching someone get bullied but doing nothing to stop it is just as harmful as being a bully yourself. Students were admonished to take courage, do the right thing, and stand up for others in need! Through this course, students gained a deeper understanding of school bullying, grasped concrete ways to protect themselves, and realized that they should not ignore bullying but stand up against it.  

THANK YOU for caring so deeply for the children of China! And THANK YOU for demonstrating that heart by giving generously through CWEF to make life-changing classes like these possible for children from rural areas. You are equipping young people to become strong servant leaders in their own communities! 

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Children entering the gate to Shigang Primary School in the mountains of Yunnan, China

A Primary School In the Mountains of Yunnan

Students in the courtyard of Shigang Primary School, Yunnan, China

Shigang Primary School

Shigang Primary School is located in a rural area of the mountainous Chinese province called Yunnan. There 178 3rd – 6th grade children attend classes. Twenty-five percent of them are ‘left-behind children.’  This means that their parents work full-time in other cities and possibly only come home once or twice a year.

Students using 1 of the 10 water purification systems you provided

The Children Didn’t Have Clean Water

Shigang Primary School had a great need for cleaner water as well as more health education for its students. Because of you and your generous support, CWEF was able to provide 10 water purifications systems. Now all the children can have plenty of clean drinking water during the school day. CWEF also offered robust safety and health education classes. At the beginning of the class, as many as 40% of surveyed students were not regularly washing their hands. In the health education classes, students were taught all about germs.   They also learned the importance of washing their hands and brushing their teeth. Your generous giving also provided the students of Shigang Primary School with very practical items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and towels to help them practice what they’ve learned.

Students receiving the hygiene gifts you gave them, like toothbrushes and towels

Check out this beautiful view from the school basketball court!

Because of You, These Children Will Live Healthier and Happier

Through these health education courses and hygiene-related gifts, students grew in their knowledge and understanding of disease and how to prevent it. Now they will be able to share their new knowledge with their parents and families, creating a ripple effect throughout their community. Because of their access to clean water and deeper understanding of hygiene, students will suffer fewer sick days and benefit from increased participation in school helping them to grow up to be healthier happier adults.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CHILDREN OF RURAL CHINA! Your generous giving through CWEF is bringing greater health and happiness to hundreds of Chinese children.

See more of your impact on the lives of children in rural China – follow us on Facebook!

Expand your impact!  Become a CWEF monthly donor today to help even more children grow up to be servant leaders in their own communities!

Students attending an education class about on-campus , off-campus and food safety

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You Were There for Her

Hello CWEF Family!

Your giving is, in part, helping to support mental health at Bohua school in Yunnan. Xiaodie, a fourth grade student there, is very grateful for all your help!

——– 

In the eyes of her teachers, Xiaodie was a diligent well-behaved student. However, in the eyes of her parents, Xiaodie had become rebellious. Why the stark contrast?

To find out, staff members accompanied Xiaodie home from school one day. Xiaodie’s family of eight lives in a small one room house.The room has a single table which is always covered with things; so Xiaodie completes her homework kneeling by the bed.

Due to the epidemic, Xiaodie’s parents have no income. In fact, Xiaodie had to take a leave of absence recently because she wasn’t getting enough to eat. When our staff learned about this, they helped the family acquire 500rmb in funding to get through this difficult time. 

Xiaodie is usually confident. However, as our staff discovered during their visit, her family’s struggles had caused her to feel inferior to her classmates. At the same time, her parents lack education and cannot help her study. Xiaodie responded to her parents’ authoritarian methods by talking back to them and leaving home without permission.

The counseling staff met multiple times with Xiaodie and her parents. During the counseling sessions, Xiaodie described various family dilemmas, friendship crises, and mental health problems she was experiencing. Under staff guidance, she was able to express and examine her own feelings. Her behavior changed, and she came to understand her parents and try to help them. During one counseling session, Xiaodie gave a beautifully crafted note to the accompanying social worker, expressing gratitude for all the ways they had helped her during this difficult time.

THANK YOU to each of you who gave generously through CWEF so that children like Xiaodie could have experience extra love and support during their time of need!

Read more about your impact on the lives of children in rural China by clicking here.

Receive more casual updates about the work you support by following us on Facebook.

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Profile picture of Dyna, a young Cambodian student that received a scholarship from CWEF to study accounting at the university

A Bright and Bankable Future: Becoming a Money Expert

Dyna, a Cambodian teenager, dreamed of having a stable job as a banker. She wanted a wide range of professional opportunities. In order to fulfill this dream, she began studying accounting at a university in the city. But now…not far into her studies…she struggled with whether or not she should continue.

Her father had served God as a pastor for almost thirty years in Cambodia where they live; and during those years, his income was irregular and unpredictable. Because of the irregular income, he had to take out loans which he then struggled to pay off completely. Because of her family’s debt, Dyna’s family could not pay her school fees or support her life in the city where she studied. Dyna saw that whenever she needed money to pay for tuition or buy school supplies or just pay for life in the city itself, it all increased the heavy financial burden on her parents. Should she continue to study when it would put so much stress on her family? “But,” Dyna says, “the whole time God never forgot me.”

Singing at church

At this point, Dyna got connected to CWEF. After completing the application and interview process, she was eventually selected to receive a university scholarship. This would allow her to continue pursuing her accounting degree!! In addition to the scholarship, Dyna also found a Christian dormitory where she lived for the beginning of college.

Dyna says:

“The faith that I have in God has helped me a lot in my life and my living…without God, I also wouldn’t be here.”

I’d like to thank my scholarship donor because if I didn’t have the scholarship to support me, I wouldn’t be able to study here because we don’t have enough money to study; and we’d also have to spend a lot of money on school fees, textbooks, and other expenses. That is hard for me. Without the donor who gave me my scholarship, my life after 12th grade may have beeen uncertain. I may have found a random job to do. Studying at university is very important. After finishing grade 12, I don’t know what (marketable) skills I would have had.”

Dyna volunteers her time teaching English and Khmer at her church and also teaching math to children. Someday she wants to educate people in her community about how to budget and invest wisely as well as how to resolve financial hardships and avoid money-related scams.

Dyna prays:

“Thank you, God. I prayed to you for my future plan. Thank you for answering my prayers and my family with support by giving me a scholarship from CWEF. I am excited and very happy…The fact that I received a scholarship from CWEF was a blessing in disguise as it helped me to continue my studies at the school I wanted to attend and helped ease my family’s burden of paying for school fees and school supplies…I truly thank CWEF and the staff for helping me continue my studies at the university, and God bless CWEF and all the staff.”

—- 

THANK YOU to each of you that has sacrificially given to bridge the gap for young people like Dyna!  Without your help, she may have never been able to finish pursuing her dream of becoming an accountant. But now, her education will be a blessing not only to her but also to her family and community! It’s exciting to see the ripple effect of kindness, isn’t it?

Check out our Facebook page to catch the latest news of your university scholarship recipients!

Tutoring children in math

Studying accounting at the university

Volunteering with children at church

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Great Barriers to Clean Water in Cambodia

Please enjoy part of an interview with Kanhchana Thoy, CWEF Director in Cambodia: 

  1. How many people in Cambodia do not have clean water? According to the latest available data from 2020, More than 12 million people in Cambodia (72% of the population) lack access to safe water.  Most of them live in rural areas. 
  2. What keeps people in Cambodia from getting clean water? There are multiple factors. The first is that the income people earn is too low to afford better access. The second is a lack of knowledge about the nature and impact of the water they are using as well as lack of knowledge about how to make the water safer.  The third major influence is cultural practices. For example, one group of rural people receiving clean water support from CWEF is the Jerai people. Their habit is to use mountain runoff water directly without boiling it, and they previously did not realize how nearby human waste and animals contaminate their water. But through your support, CWEF has been able to teach and equip the Jerai people with the knowledge, skills, and tools to have clean water on a daily basis.  
  3. How does CWEF choose who to give water filters to? Since the need is greatest in rural areas, we seek to work with low-income communities in rural areas of Cambodia. Also, we look for communities whose leaders are motivated and interested in partnering with us. 
  4. How many water filters did CWEF give out in Cambodia last year? Last year we gave out 30 biosand water filters in Chang Village and 30 biosand water filters to the villages of Deh and Samkanigh in Rattanakiri province.  So far this year, we have distributed 60 biosand water filters in Davealeng village, Deh village, Banlung, and other villages.

Think of each of these individual families – their grandparents, parents, and children – who now not only understand how their drinking water was contaminated and causing illness, but they are now empowered to sustainably access clean water every day!  These families are experiencing greater health and happiness and are spending less money cleaning their water and treating water-borne illnesses because of you and your generosity!  What better way to transform someone’s life?  Thank you so much for your heart for clean water for families in Cambodia!

Help more people in Cambodia have access to clean drinking water! Click here to give today!

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photo of Dan, CWEF high school scholarship recipeint

A Happy Life Every Day

Hello!  THANK YOU for your generous support of education for girls from rural China! 

Please enjoy letter excerpts from Dan, a CWEF high school scholarship recipient:

Working for a better life. “At home, grandma and mom and dad tell me to study hard; so that I can get into a good university. It is only after I graduate that there will be more employment opportunities for me. I know this because my parents have struggled to earn a living and have often not qualified for job interviews because of their limited education. Since I started going to school, I always remember my parents’ expectation has been for me to enter the best school in our county, and I have been fighting for it. 

I’m more of a home body. During my 14 days of summer vacation, I busily study and work on the farm. I have little free time; but for hobbies, I like to sing – not only Chinese-style songs, but also some English songs. I like that, in the song, I can experience a different world, feel the singer’s emotions, and expand my English vocabulary.  

The exterior of Dan’s home in rural Yunnan

Facing failure. The most impressive thing for me this year was my parents’ response to my academic focus. I initially chose to study science with great anticipation. I listened carefully in class. Afterwards, I rigorously completed the homework. And yet even though I mastered the class material, my grade on the final exam was too low.

One time my grades really dropped. I felt a little scared. When I went home, my parents saw that I was tired of studying and cautiously asked me if I was okay. At that moment, I couldn’t hold back all my stress, and I told them that I couldn’t keep up with my studies. I didn’t know what to do. Dad was silent for a while and then asked me if I was only struggling with physics, chemistry and biology; or if I felt that I couldn’t keep up with the calculations. My father let me switch to the liberal arts, which focus on accumulating knowledge so that learning will be easier for me.

The interior of Dan’s family home

Living a happy life every day. Now my grades are keeping up. In school, I live a happy life every day. Through CWEF, people can give love and help to others. Included in this educational support, there are living supplies, which make the lives of poor families less strenuous; school supplies, which make studying easier for children that can’t afford school supplies; food items, which improve the quality of life in poor families, and charity grants to help people recover that have suffered major accidents.

Doing charity work is a very meaningful thing. I want to join in. And what I can do at the moment is volunteer. I will participate when I have the chance.

You have provided pivotal support in Dan’s life.  Many children from rural areas of China are never able to graduate high school because they cannot afford it. But through Dan’s determination and your generosity, she now has the opportunity to graduate high school and pursue college!  Your kindness inspires young Chinese girls like Dan to not only excel academically but also to pass the kindness on to others! 

Would you like to help more young people like Dan finish their education? Partner with CWEF by making a charitable gift today!

A Happy Life Every Day Read More »

children from the luoyan kindergarten center

Look Who’s Excited to Play on Dry Ground

For the children of rural China that attend Luoyan Township Central Kindergarten in Yunnan, standing water often accumulated and surrounded the school grounds. When the kindergartners ran outside playing they would frequently slip and fall on the slick ground, and the standing water interfered with the children’s physical education and playtime activities.

In partnership with CWEF and made possible through your generosity, the Luoyan kindergarten recently constructed beautiful suspended outdoor floors to serve as a physical education space for all the children. It is hoped that through this new space the children will improve their athletic abilities, increase their self-confidence, and develop an enthusiasm for sports.

 

On March 30th, 2023 the school hosted a kindergarten-wide physical fitness competition called, in part, “Waiting for the Flowers to Bloom.” The children expressed great excitement and anticipation for the competition! Please enjoy the included photos of this event!

Thank you so much for caring and giving generously to the children of rural China! Because of you, these sweet children are able to enjoy these gorgeous new facilities and experience improved physical fitness and overall health.

Get casual updates about your positive impact on the lives of children in China! Follow us on Facebook.

Or read more right now about all the good you’re doing by clicking here!

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CWEF Scholarships recipient in Cambodia, Chanthy, teaching a circle of young students

The Only Sister

Back to School?

After ten years making clothes in a factory in Phnom Penh, Chanthy decided to change jobs. She took a new job as a janitor in a Bible school. But while she cleaned the school, she dreamed of furthering her education. She dreamed of someday having an even better life. Then one day she spoke with her sister-in-law who encouraged Chanthy to pursue her dreams and take the national high school exam. 

Chanthy (on the front right) traveling to a recent CWEF event

The suggestion was very daunting. More than a decade had passed since Chanthy last took classes. Back then, her father worked hard cultivating rice, growing vegetables, and catching fish to support his eight children; but in the end, there was only enough money for a few children to further their education, and the family gave the boys priority. So, Chanthy dropped out of school in ninth grade. Instead of finishing high school, she helped her family work at home and in the rice field. 

Chanthy riding home for Khmer New Year

But now many years later, Chanthy decided to follow her sister-in-law’s advice. She would try to go back to school. Outside of work, she began intensely studying all the high school subjects she previously missed, including English. Chanthy struggled significantly preparing for the high school exam. But in the end, all her hard work paid off. She overcame all the obstacles she faced and passed! 

Pursuing Her Dream

Chanthy next desired to go to college, but she felt anxious about the school fees. With the help of generous people like you and the CWEF scholarship program, Chanthy successfully enrolled at Norton College.  

While there, she sadly faced even more hardships. During her second year of college, her father had a severe stroke. Chanthy cared for her ailing father throughout her studies. It was a great loss for Chanthy when he passed away two years later. Still, Chanthy tried to study hard through this, believing that the knowledge she was gaining could help her escape poverty. 

Despite her great motivation, Chanthy received acceptable but never excellent grades. But her professors and classmates noted her hard work, kindness, and friendliness. Finally, in 2022, Chanthy achieved one of her dreams and successfully graduated from Norton University with a major in English for Teaching! 

Chanthy preparing fish for a Khmer New Year’s dinner

Determination

“I always told myself that I would never drop out of university, especially when many challenges in my family happened nonstop: my dad getting very sick, my family needing more money, and my study result being not so good. But I didn’t give up. And one more thing, I am so grateful for the scholarship you gave me that helped me to study, and I didn’t want it to go in vain. 

I am so grateful to all my beloved people around me that God sent into my life…especially CWEF, who provides me with scholarships. This organization is a big part of what helps, guides, and supports me along the way. Even though I was discouraged at times, I remained motivated…four years later, I finally made it.” 

Because of previously experiencing her family’s struggles as well as experiencing factory working conditions, Chanthy never stopped pursuing her dream and strongly believes that education is the only thing that will lead her to a better future.

“Seeing my family’s poor situation pushes me to struggle forward more and more in my life…I am always dreaming of living a better life in the future through education.” 

Chanthy, CWEF Scholarship Recipient

In the End

Chanthy transformed herself from high school dropout to university graduate and English teacher. She is also a faithful Christian and gifted at working with children. So, in addition to her work, she serves as a Sunday school teacher. Chanthy married in 2021 and is now 33. She is the only one of her sister-siblings to graduate from college.  

Thank you so much for choosing to generously equip Cambodian students like Chanthy to fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams of a better life!  You are transforming lives!

Sunset behind Chanthy’s house over Khmer New Year

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Chang Die - Chinese girl whom received a high school scholarship from CWEF.

No Reason to Give Up

WORKING HARD EVERY DAY

Hello, everyone. My name is Chang Die; a student from Yunnan Province; who has been supported by Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation. I would like to share my story with you here, in the hopes of helping other students with similar experiences.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have been busy working hard every day. Planting and harvesting time are the most difficult: getting up before dawn to work and then going to bed close to midnight. Growing up I saw how hard my parents worked, so I felt that I also had to work hard. When I went to school, I always got up early and went to bed late, not willing to waste a minute of learning time. My parents also had too many expectations of me. I couldn’t live up to them.

Unfortunately, I did not get an ideal score on the college entrance exam because of the great emotional and study pressure I was experiencing. However, I am grateful that I was admitted to the major of medicine (medical laboratory technology) at last. Although I am not currently a clinician in a hospital, I can still contribute to the medical cause right now. Because my family and I have also experienced being sick in the hospital, I deeply understand the feelings of every hospital patient; so I perform my patient examinations and write my patient reports meticulously.

INSPIRED BY CWEF

I’m grateful to have been a grantee of CWEF since my first year of high school in 2013. Different from any other funding program at our school, CWEF not only provided financial aid to us but also paid attention to how each student was doing individually every semester. Until I graduated from high school in 2016, CWEF also regularly organized activities and inspirational education for us.

I remember once learning about a physically disabled boy who lost his hands. Instead of complaining about life and clinging to others for help, he used his feet instead of his hands to do everything on his own. After watching a video about him in class, my teacher had us try writing by biting a pen with our mouth. Writing this way, the words came out crooked. The teacher came up behind me to see the name I had written down, and she read it out loud. My heart felt both excited and happy because I am introverted, but the teacher clearly noticed me in that moment. Even though there are many stories out there like this boy’s, this lesson impressed on me how tough the disabled boy was. His example encouraged me that those of us with sound hands and feet have no reason to give up!

At the end of the third year of high school, CWEF teachers brought some foreign friends to visit and talk with us, encouraging us to study English well and have a broader vision for our future. To guide those of us struggling with college applications after the college entrance exam, CWEF also invited high school alumni to share their experiences with us, which was helpful.

Many different details and activities of CWEF not only brightened my whole high school experience but also encouraged me to forge ahead and study further, giving me strength to move forward. It was a time of high motivation and hard work for me. This high school season is still my best memory and has benefited me all my life.

PASS IT ON

During my college years, I seriously studied specialized courses, participated in work-study programs, actively participated in some volunteer activities in the university, and got to know many important people. All these things have led me to grow up, made me always grateful and full of goodwill towards society, and encouraged me to try my best to help the people around me that are in need.

The world is big and wonderful, and there are many things worth hearing, seeing, and trying. I will always remember CWEF’s help and care for me. If there is a suitable opportunity, I am still willing to participate in a public-interest organization. I’d like to pass on the warmth and help I have received to other people in need.

Thank you so much for your sacrificial giving towards young Chinese students like Changyi! Having received love and support through you, she is now eager to give back by spreading goodwill and generosity to others in her sphere of influence.

Chang Die

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CWEF biosand water filter recipient, Yun, drinking a cup of filtered water and standing next to the biosand water filter

Man at Work

Yun’s family kept borrowing money. More and more money, more and more debt. What could he do? Everyday life simply cost too much. He couldn’t afford the things his family needed to survive. 

Yun is a young man of twenty-five years old and lives in Kampong Thom Province in Cambodia. 

He and his whole family kept falling ill over and over again. They returned to the hospital over and over again. Every month they needed medical treatment, and the treatments cost a lot.

More bills, more debt. 

Yun wanted to earn money through his work as a farmer; but he often felt so physically terrible due to sickness that he couldn’t work very much, and he had no other way to earn more money for his family.

Yun standing with his family next to a CWEF biosand water filter

At home, when Yun and his family wanted to cook dinner or wash clothes, they retrieved water from a well. But they knew that the well water was dirty, and they feared what might happen to them if they drank dirty well water. 

So they came up with another idea: collecting rainwater for drinking. The rainwater must be clean, they thought. But still the cycle continued of more illness and less work and more debt. 

Thanks to your generosity, Yun’s family eventually received a biosand water filter through CWEF! Yun watched his family closely in the days and weeks after they began drinking the filtered water, and he happily realized that they came down with sicknesses much less often. He also suddenly discovered that he had more free time.

And on top of that, he had more energy. Enough time and energy to farm and earn more money and, even better, start saving money! Best of all, he received fewer and fewer expensive medical bills. Isn’t it amazing what clean water can do?

Now before he goes out into the fields to farm, Yun brings bottles of water from the the biosand water filter. And he will drink multiple glasses of filtered water before he goes out to the river to catch fish. Yun says, “Now, I am very happy after having received a Biosand Filter from Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation (CWEF) in 2019. All of my family members and I are healthy, and I hope that in the future my family’s living condition will be better.” 

Yun thanks you for your generous donation and for supporting his living situation!   

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