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She’s Transforming Her Village

Xingqi is a nineteen year old woman from a village in Yunnan belonging to the Miao ethnic minority group. When CWEF’s team first came to Xingqi’s village, they discovered many hazardous health conditions there. For example, farm animals lived inside the same houses with people. Livestock manure lay on the floor inside homes and throughout the village. Many families dumped trash behind their houses, and the trash continued to pile higher and higher. 

Xingqi’s village has 23 households that all belong to the Miao minority ethnic group. There are over nine million Miao people in China today, and traditionally, the Miao are known for their elaborate embroidery and silver jewelry. 

In 2015, CWEF began a clean water project for village residents. After establishing basic facilities for clean water, several villagers volunteered to participate in a program called HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy, and Literacy”). Through this process, a core group of residents were trained to become health advocates for their own communities. 

Xingqi with the other residents from her village that volunteered to train as community health advocates

In Xingqi’s village, CWEF first implemented a strategy called Training of Trainers (TOT) where previously-trained health advocates from nearby Miao villages trained the Miao in Xingqi’s village. This process reinforces learning for the recently-trained health advocates. Also, when local people train their neighbors, they speak in their native language and share their culture which makes the health training more effective.  

And who showed up to the HEAL training? Xingqi, who was just starting middle school, and her mother. While Xingqi and her mother seemed nervous at first, the CWEF team also immediately recognized that these two women possessed outstanding communication and leadership abilities, and both women quickly mastered the new health knowledge and skills. 

Xingqi participating in HEAL (Health Advocacy and Literacy) training

Through health trainings, Xingqi learned about many topics such as: the safe use of pesticides, the hazards of abusing alcohol, how to treat children’s fever and much much more. As a core health advocate in her village, Xingqi came up with creative methods for promoting health education in her community, including using sketch performances with self-made props!  

Xingqi organizing a health promotion skit

CWEF taught procedures for maintaining environmental hygiene which explained that poultry should be kept in captivity to prevent zoonotic diseases, that livestock and people should live separately, and that garbage should be allocated to one communal place. 

An aerial view of part of Xingqi’s village

Xingqi said that the environmental sanitation and health conditions have changed significantly in her village. Now, one quarter of the community dumps their trash in a designated communal pit. And when you go out, it is rare to see livestock manure. All in all, Xingqi and her village enjoy a much cleaner and healthier living environment!  

Xingqi dressed up in traditional Miao clothing for a special occasion.

Thank you for your generosity and for making it possible for people like Xingqi to have opportunities to grow and thrive through life-changing health education and community advocacy!

This article was written by Jenny, Senior Program Director in Yunnan; translated from Mandarin into English by Qian Qian, Volunteer; and edited by both Joshua Lange, Executive Director, and April Chiasson, Communications Manager. 

 

How She’s Giving Back

Dropping Out of School

Her name is Sreymom; she is Cambodian. She grew up in a village as the oldest of five children. Sadly, when she was just twelve years old her mother died. Then helping her father earn an income for the family became her responsibility too, and after she completed sixth grade, her father asked her to begin full-time factory work.  

Sreymom describes, “In my village, mostly at the age of 12–13 years old, (the young people) will (lie about) their age in order to work in a factory. They don’t want to study but want to work in a factory where they can earn money and become beautiful. However, I don’t want to work there. I want to study even though I don’t know what it will become. I still want to study. ” 

At twelve years old, Sreymom was underweight. When factory managers saw her small size, they refused to hire her. Not a single factory accepted her. However, every other one of Sreymom’s friends, who were of normal height and weight, received job offers and began working full-time in factories just like they had dreamed of. 

After all the factory rejections, Sreymom’s father sat back and considered what to do. If not in a factory, where else could he find work for Sreymom? Soon he found a skills training center in Kompong Chnang province for women who had dropped out of school. The center taught marketable skills like sewing and cooking. 

An Unexpected Opportunity

Sreymom really did not want to go to the training center. She wanted to continue her formal education. But she could not speak up or refuse her father. So in the end, she left home and began the multiple day journey to her new life at the skills training center. On the way, she stopped to lodge a single night with one of her relatives. The relative worked as a cook at a Christian orphanage called the Child Rescue Organization (CRO). This ‘chance’ visit would change Sreymom’s life forever.

While she was visiting, the CRO manager also met Sreymom and found out about where she was headed and why. In that one evening, the director ended up inviting Sreymom to live at CRO instead and pursue her studies there. After some initial surprise and discussion, Sreymom eventually agreed.

But the decision didn’t come without cost. When Sreymom’s father found out about the sudden change in plans, he became upset; and for the whole first year, he couldn’t support it.  He very much wanted Sreymom to give up her formal education so that she could earn money. But finally, the CRO director was able to talk with her father and explain the benefits of Sreymom furthering her education, and Sreymom’s father eventually agreed.

The Love and Care of Strangers

When Sreymom first heard of God at CRO, she was incredulous. She firmly committed herself to not believing in him. However, day by day, God used the people at the center to give Sreymom some of the love and care that she had never experienced before.  

She confesses, “No one forced me to believe in God at all, but their kindness and love from people that I have met…they treated me like family. And that made me open my mind unnoticedly.”

Through CRO, Sreymom eventually successfully completed middle school and also high school. But then, she faced a new problem: she could not afford college.

College Problems

At this time, Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation (CWEF) was introduced to Sreymom and took up her case. CWEF fundraised through generous people like you to provide Sreymom with the necessary funds and an opportunity to fulfill her college dream.

And then, thanks to her own determination as well as a scholarship provided through the kindness of people like you, a well-known university in Phnom Penh admitted Sreymom as an English major!

At university, Sreymom faced many other battles including the fact that mastering the English language was incredibly challenging. At one point, she almost wanted to drop out of college altogether. But…her now personal faith in God kept her strong. Throughout this season of Sreymom’s life, CWEF staff continued to surround her with encouragement and a loving community. 

Sreymom’s Success

And in the end, she made it! Not only through middle school but through college. She achieved the dream that at one point looked impossible. After successfully graduating from college, Sreymom received job offers with good salaries from schools in Phnom Penh. But she turned down every single offer. Her desire wasn’t to make a lot of money. Instead, she desired to give back to the people that gave so much to her. Now she is working full-time at the Child Rescue Organization that she used to live at providing English lessons to more than one hundred Cambodian students for free.  

Today Sreymom says, “There are many kids who need my help to provide them with knowledge, and this is the best way that I could contribute back to my community.”   

Sreymom is grateful to Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation and all those who helped her on her journey! Now she can use her knowledge and story to inspire the next generation of students to not drop out of school but pursue their dreams instead.

It’s extremely exciting to see how everything Sreymom has learned, spiritually and educationally, is already spilling over and building up the next generation! Thank you for helping to break the cycle of poverty for young people like Sreymom through your generous giving and support of Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation.

Sreymom graduating from university surrounded by her classmates
Sreymom with some of her students

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Become part of the CWEF community and transform the lives of more outstanding young people by donating here.

This story was written by Panhary, CWEF Education Program Coordinator in Cambodia, with April Chiasson, CWEF Communications Manager.

Phanna’s Perseverance

In 1980, a young man in Cambodia stepped on a landmine laid by Khmer Rouge soldiers while clearing land for farming. He survived but faced many hardships as a disabled farmer. He married and had four children, one of whom was a boy named Phanna. The family worked hard for a low income, but then sadly faced a terrible tragedy when Phanna’s mother passed away in 2010 from chronic heart disease.

Phanna’s father was not able to care for all four children on his own, so he made the difficult decision in 2011 to bring them to a nonprofit center called the Child Rescue Organization (CRO), where their physical and emotional needs could be met. With this extra support, Phanna was able to develop his natural gifts. He grew into an exceptionally bright and diligent student, and he was a disciplined and helpful member of the CRO community. His English also improved rapidly through his own study and as he practiced with teams of students from other countries who came to visit and serve at CRO.

Phanna continued to work hard throughout high school and eventually graduated in 2017, earning a Grade A on the national exam – a very prestigious accomplishment in Cambodia. That year, nearly 100,000 students took the national exam, and Phanna was one of only 424 students in the entire country who earned an A!

Because of his excellent academic record, Phanna was awarded scholarships from two universities in Cambodia, but they only covered his tuition costs. Because of CRO’s relationship with CWEF, Phanna also learned about the CWEF University Scholarship program. He applied and was approved for additional support from CWEF for not only his living costs, but also for his continued spiritual, mental, and emotional development through regular encouragement and training opportunities with the CWEF team in Cambodia. Your generous support of CWEF made it possible for Phanna to realize his dream of studying International Relations at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, the capital city.

Phanna-with-fellow-scholars
Phanna with fellow CWEF Scholarship students in Phnom Penh;

But Phanna’s dreams and determination didn’t stop there.

During his first year in Phnom Penh, he began researching scholarships for study abroad programs and started preparing himself to be a strong candidate. The CWEF team encouraged him to apply for scholarship programs that interested him – even if he failed, it would be a great learning experience for him. In the end, Phanna was awarded a 4-year scholarship to study Social Policy and Development at Thammasat University, a prestigious institution in Bangkok, Thailand.

Headed-to-Thailand
At the airport, leaving Cambodia for Thammasat University in Thailand
With-fellow-students-in-Thailand
With fellow students at Thammasat University

CWEF is thrilled to be able to continue supporting Phanna with scholarship support for living costs, and the CWEF Cambodia team continues to help him with anything he needs, giving him confidence and encouragement to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Phanna recently shared with us that he has never feared living alone in Thailand because he knows that there are people from CWEF who are always there to love, care, support, and pray for him.

Phanna

Phanna will soon enter his third year at Thammasat University, and it should come as no surprise that he continues to excel. In his most recent semester, he earned a perfect 4.0 GPA. Not only that, Phanna joined a volunteer program at the university that is working to facilitate projects designed to help children in rural communities in Thailand.

In the future, Phanna wants to be a Governance and Policy Specialist and hopes to bring a positive impact to the society in his home country of Cambodia. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for the next season of Phanna’s education and adult life.

Because of your faithful prayers and generosity, Phanna is able to confidently share:

“In the future, I will be able to play a critical role to improve people’s living conditions in my country.”

by Panhary Port Puth (Cambodia Education Programs Director), with Joshua Lange (CWEF Executive Director)

Support Future Leaders Like Phanna

 

Cultivating a Healthier Future for Mrs. Hun’s Family

In fall 2020, CWEF staff and local partners surveyed 50 families in several villages in Tboung Khmum province to assess their health needs. A request for water wells had been received, and research was done to assess the overall health situation, as well as other needs and opportunities in the area.

Mrs. Hun, her husband and 16-year-old son are one of the families being served by CWEF’s HEAL (Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy) project, which is providing Water Wells and BioSand Water Filters in addition to HEAL community health education training, in which local health advocates are identified and trained through a series of in-depth Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions.

Mrs. Hun’s family

Many families, like that of Mrs. Hun, face a myriad of challenges. Her husband of 28 years is disabled, adding difficulty for eking out a living in the countryside. Sadly, their son has also suffered from the after-effects of meningitis, which he contracted at the age of nine. Lack of clean water compounded the health problems for Mrs. Hun and her family.

The HEAL community health training seeks to provide both a growth mindset around community needs and opportunities, and specifically a deeper awareness of healthy habits related to basic health, sanitation, and hygiene. CWEF staff must find creative ways to provide the training to ensure understanding and encourage a change in behavior. In the case of this HEAL health education training, roughly a third of the participants are illiterate. The effectiveness of BioSand Water Filters and new water wells can only be sustained through health education and the integration of new healthy habits.

HEAL TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum

For this work, CWEF’s Cambodia team uses the mindsets and resources from the Global CHE (Community Health Evangelism) Network. In Tboung Khmum, we are partnering with Pastor Chea Sareun, Deaconess Kim Ly, members of the local church, and others from the surrounding villages who want to work toward positive change in their own communities.

CWEF projects provide a platform for encouraging sustainable change, aiming for long-term improvements in people’s lives. Project recipients are treated as partners as they receive awareness and training to enhance their livelihoods. Projects like HEAL provide both needed infrastructure, such as water filters and/or water wells, and deeper health and hygiene education for the whole community.

CWEF’S Kanhchana Thoy, with local church partners

Gifts like yours provide life-changing BioSand Water Filters to families like that of Mrs. Hun. Her husband and son will have an improved quality of life as they are spared from additional water-related illnesses. Daily life for Mrs. Hun is positively changed as her access to clean, reliable water is given through your generous support.

Meili’s Meaningful Service and Promising Future

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand,” is a well-known Chinese proverb attributed to Confucius. Active involvement in community health education is a hallmark of the HEAL program, through the training of adult and children health advocates.  

CWEF’s Senior Programs Director, Jenny Chu, shares:

“There is a great advantage to training young health advocates since they easily learn and can change their behavior. Once they have new health knowledge—like the importance of hand washing or brushing their teeth—kids can develop good habits and improve their wellness.”

Nineteen-year-old Meili is a high school senior in Lufeng County, Yunnan Province. She is from the Miao people group, which has its own unique language and culture. Meili was trained as a local health advocate and played a key role in the HEAL training activity in her home village of Beiyinqing during December 2020.

“Most older adults and younger children [in Beiyinqing] do not understand Mandarin Chinese. Meili, who is bi-lingual, explained the health lessons in the Miao language and combined the information with her own personal experience.”

Jenny Chu

Made possible by your generosity, a total of 18 children and 20 adults participated in the December training session, which covered personal hygiene, coronavirus prevention, and safe use of pesticides for the adults. Proper handwashing has always been a cornerstone of the HEAL curriculum, but “now school teachers value this part of the project even more. What happened in 2020 has drawn more attention to the importance of health education and good hygiene habits.”

Because of your generous gifts to the HEAL project, Beiyinqing village will complete construction of four new water cisterns in time for the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) holiday. The new facilities will improve access to drinking water for the villagers, increase water access for domestic and livestock use, and increase irrigation reservoirs, improving farming and animal husbandry for the farmers in Beiyinqing. All of these improvements will improve the personal health and environmental sanitation for the whole community.

Parents in the village value their children’s education and support the training of youth health advocates and the subsequent education of their peers. The water and hygiene projects for the community can help to raise the quality of life and income for the families in the village.

A common path for those who are educated is to later leave Beiyinqing in search of better paying work, to help support their family members back in the village. The adults hope to raise the standard of living at home, so that their talented youth don’t need to leave for work, but can remain an integral part of community life. 

Meili shares this outlook of internal motivation to solve problems and find solutions without waiting for outside help. Her mother has admired Meili’s persistence and enthusiasm for learning. She hopes Meili will be able to go to a good school and have a bright future.

Meili is an exemplar of a peer leader, having already volunteered in other public welfare activities in the summer of 2020. She brought valuable skills, ideas, and language ability to the CWEF health education training for younger students in her village. Students who participated in the health education training will serve as health advocates for their fellow students—teaching them important health knowledge and modeling good habits.

As she looks to her own future, Meili hopes to study theology at a university in Yunnan, so that she can continue to teach and serve her Miao people in their own language and culture.

Thank you for your partnership in making our shared vision become a reality—where villages like Beiyinqing filled with people like Meili can grow into thriving communities, serving and inspiring hope in others.

Clean Water with Clear Impact for Chanthy

Chanthy, 38, raises her two children with her husband who is a farmer in Samrith village in Kompong Thom province. Their day begins early, with her husband going to fish with a hand-held net around 5 AM. On a good day, he will catch several big fish, which he can sell at the market. Smaller fish are cooked for the family’s meal along with rice and vegetables that they grow for themselves. Chanthy tends to the chickens, ducks, and vegetable farming while their children are at school. 

While their diet was well-balanced, the family often suffered from a variety of illnesses like abdominal pain and headaches. “My husband had typhoid and my children were weak from diarrhea,” shared Chanthy. Since other families in her village suffered similar sicknesses, she considered it normal and didn’t wonder about the root cause of their health problems.

“One day, the village chief come to invite me to join health training from CWEF. I already heard about this organization a few years ago, and that they provide bio-sand filters to families in our area. So, I went to listen to the training. I increased my knowledge of health issues, especially the negative effects of unclean water. After finishing the training, I really wanted to get the bio-sand filter soon because it`s very beneficial for my family.”



In 2019, Chanthy received a bio-sand filter from CWEF. She and her family immediately noticed the improvement to the quality of their water. The water was more transparent and the family’s food tasted better. “Nowadays, I don’t need much time for boiling water for my family, and they can drink whenever they want to.”

The bio-sand filter has positively impacted Chanthy’s family in measurable ways. “Our family is not rich, but at least we don’t get sick often like before. I have been saving some money with my husband to expand our animal raising. Right now, we have 30 ducks and 20 chickens, both big and small together.”

She concludes, “Thank you so much to CWEF for bio-sand filter projects that come to help my community and make us more aware about health and provide us with safe water!”


Yanmaidi project complete!

by Jenny Chu, Jesus Arroyo & Josh Lange

The cistern is now complete, the pipes are laid, and each family in Yanmaidi has renewed access to reliable, clean drinking water! Because of your generous giving, our friends in rural Yunnan province have received the beautiful New Year’s gift of renewed health, hope and vitality after years of frustrations and limitations.

CWEF staff traveled to Yanmaidi on January 10 to celebrate the completion of the project with the village’s families and local government leaders.



Prior to the completion of the new water system, Yanmaidi’s drinking water had been delivered using a series of old, low-quality plastic pipes that looped around the village. These pipes were degrading and fragile. The pipes would burst during the rainy season due to an overload of water and would freeze during the winter causing similar problems. During droughts, the water system was unable to deliver water effectively, causing many residents to hike 800 meters to a nearby reservoir to collect water, several times per day. The outdated system required constant maintenance and left families with no water when things went wrong. Even when water was available, the quality of the water was not good because of contamination in the system due to constant pipe breakages.



100% of the village households made contributions to bring the project to a successful completion. Each family contributed a small amount of their own money and a considerable amount of their own physical labor to complete the project.

During her recent visit to help celebrate the project’s completion, CWEF’s Jenny Chu also facilitated a health training session focused on drinking water safety, personal hygiene, prevention of common illnesses, safe use of pesticides, and women’s health care.


Jenny Chu meets with women in Yanmaidi to discuss women’s health care

Zhang Zhenghua has resumed his role as the water system manager (in a previous story, we highlighted Zhang’s wife Yicun). Zhenghua and Yicun expressed their delight with the completed project. Zhenghua no longer worries about being woken up at midnight to fix a broken pipe. Pipe repair will no longer be a daily struggle for the Zhang family, which will give them more time to focus on their crops and other work. With his newfound time, Zhenghua hopes to be able to improve his family’s life by raising more livestock of their own.



Here are a few additional notes about the project’s ongoing maintenance, which all residents agreed upon and committed to at a recent village meeting:

  • The water system fee will increase from 5 to 10 yuan per person per year. Zhenghua’s salary will stay the same, and the additional 5 yuan per person will go to a fund to be used for maintenance and repair costs.
  • Every six months, a team of three will work together to clean the main cistern.
  • CWEF plans to conduct a comprehensive follow-up evaluation of the project at Yanmaidi in 2022, two years after the project’s completion.

Yanmaidi’s village leader, Zhang Linzhong, expressed his deep gratitude to everyone who has made this project possible. He shared that in the future they hope to improve on the water system by expanding it to reach more of their fields. He also shared his dream of installing street lights throughout the community, and in the future plans to expand sales of their organic produce to nearby cities where they will sell for a better price.

In closing, Mr. Zhang shared with us that he plans to live in Yanmaidi with his family for the rest of his life, continuing to help the village that raised him as a child to grow and thrive.



hu-family

Goodbye Broken Pipes, Hello Renewed Lives

by Jenny Chu, CWEF Yunnan Health Programs Director

When I first visited Yanmaidi village in September of 2018, it didn’t look much different from other villages in this part of Yunnan province. Most of the buildings are made of mud bricks and concrete, along with a few modern-style buildings. However, when I entered my host Mr. Hu’s house, he had a surprise for me. He picked up a wooden board from the ground to reveal a small pit underneath, and he showed me the buried water pipe under his home that had cracked due to wear and tear over time. He had dug up his floor in order to repair it. He told me this was typical throughout Yanmaidi, and that many of the families in the village had the same experience.

Mr. Hu has played a key role in the drinking water project in Yanmaidi. He sought out CWEF’s local partner in Lufeng county through his own contacts, assisted in the pre-project baseline survey, and hosted visitors from a CWEF service learning team for meals at his home in Spring 2019.

Mr. Hu is 37 years old. He was born in Yanmaidi and, together with his parents and grandfather, continues to live and work here as a farmer. The family grows wheat, corn, chili peppers, and yams. They also cultivate chestnut, walnut, and bayberry trees, as well as collecting wild mushrooms in the forest areas surrounding their village. Previously, Mr. Hu had moved away from Yanmaidi to work as a seasonal migrant laborer for two years.

In recent years, life has been getting better in Yanmaidi. A paved road was recently built all the way into the village, and cash crops are increasingly replacing traditional crops, slowly creating higher incomes for village families. In 2018, the average annual income per person was 3,500 yuan (about US$500).

One exception to the positive trends in Yanmaidi has been the village’s drinking water system. The system’s pipes have been wearing out and breaking down for years, and many families’ water frequently stops flowing, mainly due to water pipes constantly rupturing and needing repair. When the water supply gets cut off, Mr. Hu and other families need to walk about one kilometer to go collect water. Going back and forth multiple times every day to carry water consumes valuable time and energy, which they could be using to attend to their farming and other labor work. As you can imagine, the deteriorating water system has created many frustrations and limitations for the families here.

Each family in Yanmaidi is participating in the drinking water project supported by CWEF by contributing a portion of the required funds from their own meager incomes, along with the physical labor needed to dig trenches and lay all of the new pipes and cisterns that will make up the renewed system.

When the project is completed, Mr. Hu and everyone in Yanmaidi will feel a strong sense of satisfaction and ownership in their village’s drinking water system. After years of frustration and limitations, they will be grateful to say goodbye to hours of wasted time carrying water and hello to renewed health, hope and vitality.

Through the end of December, generous friends of CWEF have pledged a 100% match for all gifts up to a total of US$20,000. Give clean water to one family in Yanmaidi, and a second family will also be blessed with the beautiful gift of a reliable, convenient source of clean water!

Ounpich is Cheerful, Resilient and Healthy

Fifty-year-old Ounpich is a gregarious person. She laughs throughout conversations and gestures confidently with her hands. Ounpich beams as she talks about her 27-year-old son. He studied management at a university in Phnom Penh and is now working for World Vision, the global Christian non-profit organization. She is extremely proud of him.

Ounpich mainly grows rice and raises chickens for her daily needs. Her cheerful exterior alone might never reveal the issues she encounters as a farmer in Cambodia during extreme seasons. She showed us how far the floodwater reaches by pointing to a spot on the stilts supporting her house — sometimes up to eight feet. When it floods, she cannot work in her fields. Consequently, Ounpich can go without an income for up to two months each year.

The harsh contrast to the flooding season is the drought that comes during the summer. Ounpich says the ground has been especially dry this year, and she must water the plants three times a day in order to keep them healthy. Besides working in the rice fields, she tends a personal garden behind her home, where she grows many more vegetables. She eats some of these herself, gives some to neighbors, and sells the rest, which earns her about 20,000 riels (about $5 USD) per day.

Ounpich has benefitted significantly from the BioSand Water Filter that CWEF provided to her. She uses the filtered clean water for daily drinking, cooking, cleaning, and brushing teeth. Ounpich’s health has improved greatly as she no longer gets ill from drinking unclean water. Using the BioSand Filter also frees up the time she used to spend each day collecting firewood to boil water from a nearby well so that it can be safely consumed. With overall improved health, Ounpich is better prepared to face the challenges of a farmer’s life.

Your generous contributions to this project make it possible for CWEF to renew health and hope for people like Ounpich who are facing the challenges of rural poverty.

In addition to the gift of Biosand Water Filters, CWEF trains families in proper maintenance of their filter, along with education on proper sanitation and hygiene, and its effect on disease prevention and overall health. With proper care and maintenance, each water filter can provide a family with clean water for more than 20 years.

In 2020, we hope to reach even more families in Ounpich’s community with the precious and transformative gift of clean water. A gift of just $25 provides clean water for one child, and $100 provides clean water for an entire family.

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Yufeng’s Smile

Behind Yufeng’s smile is a story of rare hardships and also precious optimism. She is the eldest of four children, born to farmers in rural Yunnan province. Yufeng’s mother was injured in a traffic accident and cannot perform much manual labor. Additionally, her parents provide care for Yufeng’s grandparents.

At the age of eight, Yufeng began suffering from a rare and serious bone infection in her leg. Doctors recommended amputation, but her parents refused the advice and spent most of their scarce income on medical treatment to spare her leg. Yufeng’s medical challenges continued when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2011.

Yufeng shares, “Although my foot is disabled, I think my mind is important and I have a thankful heart.” She began High School in 2016, with the support of a CWEF scholarship, at the age of 23.

“My family is poor so I study harder than others. I want to change it. When I’m in trouble, I always face it bravely.”

Her strong spirit was tested again in 2018, when she underwent surgery on her leg to treat varicose veins, which caused her to repeat her second year of high school. Tragically, Yufeng underwent another surgery in 2019 to remove a portion of her lung, following a pulmonary infection.

In spite of everything she has been through, Yufeng has developed a wonderfully positive outlook on life.

“My life is full of sun. I will smile at everything. I think attitude is everything. I will never give up on my dream….in the future I want to become an English teacher.”

Yufeng wants to “change her frustration into wealth” and use the pain and difficulty she has experienced in the first part of her life to enrich her adult years.

Yufeng is grateful for the love and care that she received from CWEF, her teachers, classmates and others, many of whom fundraised online to help pay for her surgeries. She plans to graduate from High School in June 2020, at the age of 27. Without a doubt, her smile will continue to radiate hope and joy as she takes the next steps into pursuing her dream of becoming an English teacher.

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