China

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!

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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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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!

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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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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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Healthy & Happy & Ready for 2023!

Healthy and Happy in 2023

Imagine for a minute — it’s the dead of winter. Suddenly the hot water and your shower at home both stop working. How long would you be able to make it?

That scenario is still the daily reality for school children all over rural China, including those in tiny Luoyan township — a small and unknown corner of China’s rural and remote southwest region.

In Luoyan township, there are nine primary schools, and many of the students attending these schools are boarding students. They live in dormitories on the school campus during the week because their families live too far away to be able to conveniently travel back and forth to school every morning and evening.

Thanks to your generous support of CWEF’s HEAL program, two of these schools — Tianjing Primary School and Gonghe Primary School — have became the first in the township to be able to offer warm showers to their students!

Inspecting new solar-heated shower rooms

In October 2022, the transformation of current facilities at the two schools into freshly renovated solar-heated shower rooms was completed, and our CWEF team members, along with local nonprofit, government, and school leaders, visited the Tianjing and Gonghe schools to conduct the official inspection and final acceptance of the project.

Prior to HEAL being launched at these two schools in 2022, none of the primary schools in Luoyan county had shower rooms or proper bathing facilities for the boarding students to use in order to keep clean and healthy while living and studying at school.

In addition to solar-heated shower rooms, your generous donations to the HEAL program also made it possible for both schools to receive much-needed upgrades to their dilapidated toilets and aging sewage systems, as well as 16 drinking water filter units to further ensure good health, sanitation, and hygiene for the students.

The HEAL program — which stands for “Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy” — is not just about buildings and health-related infrastructure like water filters, shower rooms, and sanitary toilets.

In conjunction with these upgrades to infrastructure, the CWEF team and our local partners also made important investments in the schools’ students and teachers themselves through the training of local health advocates and organizing health promotion activities.

Evaluation survey before health training

In November 2022, a health education program was initiated with 426 students and 31 teachers at Tianjing and Gonghe schools. Training sessions, demonstrations, and fun competitions were held to encourage healthy habits like washing hands, washing faces, brushing teeth, and keeping their school and dormitory environment clean and tidy.

Preparing for health training at Tianjing school
Health training at Gonghe Primary School

In addition, earlier in the year CWEF and our local partners brought in an experienced facilitator to guide 22 teachers from the two schools through a one-day mental health education workshop. The purpose of this course was to help the teachers understand and strengthen their own mental health, to learn to better understand the inner worlds of their young students, and to train the teachers in simple but effective ways to provide guidance and counseling to their students who may be struggling with poor mental health or challenges at home.

In 2022, your generous support of the HEAL program empowered our CWEF team and local partners to make important upgrades in the health-related infrastructure and external environment at Tianjing and Gonghe schools.

Jenny of CWEF with local partners

More importantly, your partnership has made valuable investments in the long-term physical, mental, and emotional health of the students who live and learn there.

With your help, 2023 will be a healthier and happier year for these special young people who are working hard to build a better future for themselves and their communities.

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p.s. — If you’d like to see an overview of all of CWEF’s work in rural China and Cambodia during 2022, you can watch this 3-minute video. Thank you for helping to make all of this good work possible!

This article was written by Joshua Lange – CWEF Executive Director.

Discover other rural Yunnan health initiatives that your giving makes possible here.

Stay up to date with the exciting impact of your donations by following us on Facebook and/or Instagram!

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weifang chinese high school scholarship recipient

Paying It Forward

As a young adult, Weifang is living out the value of “local people serving local people.” She has donated much of her time in recent years to serve others.

“In my spare time, I help the community as a volunteer in the local area, especially through anti-epidemic work…. Social stability is everyone’s responsibility. I am one of them, too!”

What Scholarships Make Possible

When she was younger, Weifang was an academically strong student and received a scholarship from CWEF in 2011 until 2014, when she graduated from high school. The scholarship support, made possible by generous supporters like you, relieved a financial burden to her family.

“I’m grateful for the financial aid from CWEF and the professional guidance I received. It reduced my personal psychological pressure, and I could devote myself to studying with more piece of mind.”

During her high school years, Weifang and other scholarship recipients received resiliency lessons and social/emotional encouragement. These lessons and activities provide additional support to scholarship students. Weifang remembers them fondly:

“I felt hope for the future, love and hard work for my life and study, and I grew self-confidence. I also gained a group of friends who I have maintained deep friendships with to this day.”

Weifang performed well in high school, going on to Guangdong Technical Teachers College to major in accounting. Once she graduated in 2018 she went on to be an accountant before ultimately shifting to be a math teacher in 2021.

She notes that the scholarship program and additional support lessons have had a long-term positive impact in her life:

“I was able to grow and maintain a healthy mental state to face problems I encounter in life and work.”

Choosing to Serve Others

Weifang joined a group of volunteers, comprised of other CWEF high school scholarship program graduates, in a domestic non-profit called Shining Star. As a volunteer, Weifang began teaching left-behind children through Shining Star’s GROW program.

“When I became a teacher of the GROW program (leading resiliency activities and lessons), I liked the feeling of teaching and learning. It’s destiny! I am now in the education profession.”

Supporting left-behind children with Shining Star
With Shining Star volunteer teammates

Inspiring Future Leaders

Sometimes life comes full circle in more ways than one. This former scholarship recipient and accountant is now paying it forward as a teacher. Being a part of Shining Star’s community has introduced Weifang to her love of teaching, as she is now a math teacher.

During 2022’s Spring Festival, Weifang asked some children what they thought of the volunteer work she was involved with, and if they wanted to do it as well when they were older.

Weifang has been doing a great job of paying it forward, because they all said “Yes!”

Your generous giving to the CWEF scholarship fund made it possible for young people like Weifang to focus on their studies, complete high school, learn valuable life skills, and form deep bonds with a supportive community!

Each of these has been a key component in her ultimate success. And more than that, your sacrificial giving empowered and equipped Weifang so that she can pour into and inspire other future leaders.

Thank you for stepping up to help transform the lives of young students in China!


This article was written by Elena Semler, CWEF volunteer.

Meet more inspiring Chinese scholarship recipients! Read Lijuan’s story of transformation here.

Get more exciting updates of your day-to-day impact through CWEF. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook!

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Lijuan

Dare to Try

Hello everyone! My name is Lijuan, I am from Guangdong province, China.  When I was young, my father, the only breadwinner in my family, fell ill and was unable to financially support my education. And so first of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to my teachers and all the caring people of Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation for helping me in my most difficult time and for choosing me among so many people to receive financial support. 

In addition to that, the summer and winter camps held by CWEF & Shining Star every year made me and the other students feel happy and cared for and exposed us to new things and new friends. I have become a more cheerful and confident person because of this organization.  

Looking back on these ten years of schooling, I am very happy that I was able to receive a higher education with the help of many kind people. Growing up in such a difficult family, I knew that only studying could change my fate; so I studied diligently from elementary school through high school. I have been asked many times by other parents, “Do you have any tricks to study? How come you study so well?” I would usually laugh and think, “I don’t have any tricks. It’s just that I have no one behind me, so I have to work hard.”  

The moment I received my university acceptance letter, I was both happy and frustrated. Happy that my hard work for more than ten years had finally paid off, and I could change my destiny; frustrated that my debt-ridden family could not support my college expenses.  Thanks to the good policies of the Party and the Country, and thanks to the kind-hearted organizations like CWEF, I was able to fulfill my dream of going to college!  

I entered the university knowing that the opportunity to go to university is not easy to come by, and I kept telling myself that I should cherish it twice and that studying should be the first priority. So I studied hard and ranked in the top 20% overall, while also pursuing a minor in administration over the weekends.  

Every year I have worked hard to get scholarships, some of which were supplied by Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation, and these scholarships have largely relieved me of my worries. By using the scholarship funds I received only for my studies and real needs and by not comparing my food and clothes to those of other students, I relieved my family of some financial burden.  

As a college elective, I decided to try a new challenge: tennis. When I began, the coach thought I was short and had no advantage in playing tennis. So I just followed the other players and taught myself. When I had time, I went to tennis lessons, played on the courts every day, and consulted with the coach and other players. After another year, I became the best player, and the coach was impressed with me.

The tennis coach wholeheartedly trained me every day.  Soon I became the assistant tennis coach, and I worked part-time during weekends and holidays. Because of the coach’s help and teaching, I became a better version of myself during this period of my life. And after four years of ongoing practice in college, I had the honor of winning the tennis championship my senior year.    

After graduating from college, I began regularly supporting charity work, and I started a tennis club along with some of the other athletes. I also began studying for the teacher preparation exam. I was unsuccessful in the first round of exams, but I studied and prepared for the exams again. Fortunately, I got into the teaching profession. I am now a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Guangdong Institute of Petrochemical Technology. I like my job, and my life is the way I want it. Thank you for all the people who have helped and encouraged me over the years.  

Many times over the years, I was confused and torn by the choices I faced, but as long as you follow your heart, not afraid of failure, not afraid of hardship, and dare to try; I believe you will become what you want to be. 

Thank you for your generous donations to Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation’s scholarship fund for Chinese girls! Because of you, young women like Lijuan have been empowered to change their destinies and reach their professional dreams. And now they are helping others do the same.  

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This letter was originally written by Lijuan in Mandarin; translated to English with the help of Qian Qian, CWEF volunteer; and edited for length and flow by April Chiasson, Communications Manager.

This summer, during our Join The Community campaign, we are looking for more people with a heart for students like Lijuan. Would you consider joining The Community as a monthly donor today?

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A Path Under Their Feet

Bohua Primary School is located in a ‘border region’ between urban and rural areas on the outskirts of Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province. The school’s location is appropriate, as most of the children and families it serves occupy a similar in-between space in Chinese society. Many of these families left their home villages in the countryside to seek better opportunities in the city. However, they often struggle to truly integrate into the privileged society of many people living in urban centers like Kunming.

In the neighborhood surrounding Bohua school, there are around 10,000 children and youth under the age of 18. Most of their parents work long hours in low-paying jobs, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening. This results in a tough situation for both parents and their kids. Exhausted parents often struggle to give their children the time, attention, and care they need to grow up healthy and well-balanced.

Migrant workers’ children often experience conflict within their families, and many of the youth in this neighborhood often develop unhealthy habits and eventually drop out of school — typically in middle school — to start working before they are truly ready.

In honor of two recent events — Mental Health Awareness Month and International Children’s Day — we thought it would be the perfect time to highlight the good work our CWEF team and local partners are doing to support the students and teachers at Bohua school and the surrounding neighborhood.

The “Life Education” course is a mental health education and resilience-building program that CWEF has developed in partnership with the Yuexing Youth Service Center and the China Youth Development Foundation.

The CWEF team and our local partners created the Life Education course with the aim of helping children like those at Bohua school to cultivate healthy mindsets and the resilience skills they will need to create a better life for themselves and their families.

To that end, we are partnering with experienced local psychologists, social workers, and other skilled trainers to facilitate the Life Education curriculum with just over 300 students from Grades 4-6.

The Life Education curriculum explores four main themes during weekly classes over the span of four school semesters using group discussions, skits, role play, movie clips, and other engaging activities to guide students to think and discuss together about their own lives, relationships, and choices.

Additionally, to further cultivate a healthy community environment for the students, our team and partners recently carried out a one-day seminar for the teachers of Bohua school, where they explored similar strategies for building their own mental well-being and effectiveness as educators.

This semester, the Life Education trainers have been guiding students to think about the different ways they can cultivate healthy relationships with family and friends. They have been learning to reflect about themselves, pay attention to others’ needs and preferences, respect the ideas and beliefs of others, give praise and offer forgiveness to others, and to understand the concept of the five love languages as a way to improve connections with others.

At the end of a recent session, the Life Education trainer led the students in reading the following phrase out loud together:

“Love is to see your own responsibility in the needs of others.”

“We hope that in the days to come, the students will have light in their eyes, love in their hearts, and a path under their feet.”

Feng Nan, Psychological Counselor and Life Education course trainer

As a way to summarize the long-term goals of the Life Education course, one of our trainers, Ms. Feng Nan, shared these thoughts:

“The more these kids grow up, the more complex things they will face — not just simple right and wrong. We hope that in the days to come, the students will have light in their eyes, love in their hearts and a path under their feet.”


You can invest in the healthy growth and development of kids like the ones at Bohua school by joining The Community with your recurring monthly or annual gift. Thank you!

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