Mental Health

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.

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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.

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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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Preparing for the Gaokao and Bright Futures Beyond

Each year, graduating high school students from across China face one of the biggest challenges of their young lives: the university entrance exam known as the gaokao


Like many students around the world, education in China went online for much of the spring semester. Many rural students lack reliable internet access at their homes and have struggled to keep up with their exam preparations. To allow these students more time to prepare, the date for the gaokao was delayed one month and will now take place on July 7-8, 2020.

As the test date approaches, the pressure intensifies. Students, along with their parents and teachers, are keenly aware that their gaokao scores will be a primary determinant for the future direction of their education and career. Because of this, students prepare extensively for the two-day exam, toiling away for many months during early mornings, long nights, and weekends.

For the students you support, the sense of pressure is heightened by difficult family situations. Often, a student from a low-income rural family may be the first person in their family to take the entrance exam and have chance to go to university. Many of these students suffer heightened stress and anxiety related to the gaokao, even in a ‘normal’ year. During this unique school year, students have been hit with yet another major stressor as they prepare for the gaokao – the changes and limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.



To help relieve stress and to help students build mental and emotional resilience in the face of the gaokao and future life challenges, CWEF held a Pre-University Workshop at the end of May 2020 for the graduating students you support in Zhaotong. The purpose of the workshop was four-fold:

  1. To understand the students’ mindset and status leading up to the gaokao, and to help them make adjustments to maintain a healthy state of mind.
  2. To help relieve students’ psychological pressure and anxiety.
  3. To share helpful tips for taking the college entrance exam.
  4. To assist students one-on-one to deal with any special difficult situations they are facing.

We invited Zhonglu, a counselor and mental health researcher, to serve as the workshop facilitator. Zhonglu serves with one of CWEF’s local partners, the Zhengxin Social Work Service Center of Yunnan’s Wuding county. During one of the main group sessions, she led the students to share with the group related to the following:

  1. My dream or biggest hope for the future is…
  2. My ‘cautious wish’ is…
  3. My current status is…
  4. Currently, my happiest thing is…
  5. Currently, my saddest thing is…

In reflecting on this session, Zhonglu noted:

“Several participating students clearly showed a strong sense of loneliness and heavy stress. At the same time, many of the students shared about the joy that came from the tight emotional connection and strong sense of community they have with their fellow students on campus. Despite facing a lot of stress and anxiety, I was encouraged that the students are finding their own ways to cope. Some students choose basketball and running, and others choose to take a break to write in a journal or chat with their classmates.”

After the students had time to share and receive feedback from their peers, Zhonglu shared some tips from her own personal experience, and closed with an important message:

“Yes – the gaokao is one of the most important things during this stage of your life, but you must work hard to treat it peacefully. If you give it too much of your attention, you will easily be defeated psychologically. This exam will have a strong impact on your future, but it does not completely determine your future.”

Thank you for your gifts that have made it possible for these young women to face this key moment of their lives with courage. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they make their final preparations for the gaokao in the coming week, and afterwards as they prepare for the bright futures that lays ahead of them!


Help Educate and Equip Young Women:

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