My Trip to Bo Ai

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My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  Admin on Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:51 pm

Dear Team,

As you already know, from Thursday April 5 to 7, I visited Bo Ai Elementary School in Shanxi province. The school is located in Feng Cun village, Qinyuan county. Christine, from Hong Kong but who lived many years in America, opened Bo Ai's doors in 2005 after four years of planning and fundraising. You can read more about the values and and how it started on http://tlocanada.org/aboutboai.php.

The school facilities
After 1o hours of driving, I was still very excited to meet the children. When I arrived to the premises of the school, I was surprised at how nice it looked. Compared to the surroundings, it looked like a Beijing school. There is a big courtyard, the cafeteria is spacious with a big kitchen, the whole facility is very clean, no stincky bathrooms, beautiful library, etc. If you compare how the school looked before (it was located right in the village, a few meters away, you would never think that one day those students could attend such a nice school. Christine and her helpers did a very good job and are providing an amazing opportunity for the poor kids.

Bo Ai Values
When you go to Bo Ai, you can feel love flowing all around. Teachers and students welcomed us with warmth. One of the core values of the school is to teach the students how to love and respect others. You could see that everywhere: children holding the doors for you, waving and smiling at you when the see you and they say hi every time. They are also thought to care about each other and character and moral education is thought to them. I had never seen children washing the dishes after lunch and dinner, and wiping them out as well. The sweep the playground in the morning and they are neat in their rooms. It was so nice to see the community effort that they had. Something a lot of people should learn from.

The middle school
So the big project now is to build a middle school that will be able to welcome about 400 + students. Currently, when kids are done with school, they can't further their education and simply return home on the farms. Bo Ai wants to further their education so they can have a complete basic one. As you can see from the pictures of my email, the school is about 70% built. It needed 20 million to be constructed and 10 million was collected. So there is the other half left to raise. They are hoping to open the doors of the school for the next term in fall. So they would need to get all the money they need by July.

As Peace for Humanity is quite small, I don't think we can raise millions of dollars at this stage, especially in such a short period of time. But I believe that God will make it happen for them one way or the other. Since money is not something that Peace for Humanity could provide with, there are many other things that we could do to help those children in the future. So here is my brainstorming. I still need to ask Christine many questions so I can know if some of my ideas are doable.

How can Peace for Humanity help?
1. Summer Camp
We could develop a program that would last maybe a month or less and provide all kinds of learning activities.

• Basketball, soccer, etc: bring good trainers to teach them. Hopefully they can be super tall and look like Michael Jordan! hehe.

• Teach them drama with Dreamaker, the drama school I am working for. We can teach them how to express themselves in other fun ways, help them develop personal and social skills, etc, and all this in English.

• There could be dancing as well: break-dancing, hip hop, classical, etc..By the way, there was a talent show the last day we were there; they were AMAZING!!! You should have seen those kids dancing and acting. They were soooo good and they wrote the play themselves. They looked so professional. I was impressed! With the summer camp, we could organize an annual Talent Show. Who knows, they might be recognized!

2. Scholarships
We could provide scholarships to good students and help them further their education in top universities in China or even study abroad.

3. Student Exchange
In China, the concept of charity is still a bit foreign. People are not prompted to give to one another as quickly as we would in other countries. I think it would be a good life lesson and experience to teach the more fortunate kids of Beijing to bring them to Bo Ai and participate in the summer camp or let them discover about the poor children in remote areas. I haven't really thought about what they would do there but it would be a learning experience. It would also be interesting for foreign kids to go. So they could talk about their culture and language differences, customs, food, ...

4. Sponsorship Program
Bo Ai ha already a sponsorship program in place. It costs only 3,800 RMB for a year education for one child! We could help them promote their program.

5. Vocational skills

Since that they might not be able to go to college or university once they finish middle school, I thought that learning something specific could better their chance to find a good job. They could learn plumbing, electricity, construction, nurse, hairdresser, sowing, cooking, etc..They are still young after middle school so maybe we could sponsor them to go lean in the appropriate school...We could connect them with internships in god organizations with whom we would have develop partnerships.

6. Advance English
For those that have good grades, we could provide them with advance English classes so they can have higher skills than the average. I remember having that kind of classes in school for math or science. I could never attend! :(hehe. but anyways, that would be a good opportunity for them and increase their chance to attend a good university.

My Thoughts
I would like to make those kids exceptional because of the skills they would acquire at Bo Ai. Show people that we shouldn't neglect the poor kids and that we have to encourage them in their education and push them to be good people. This way, we have a better a stronger China!! I believe that they can be powerful for their country if only they would have the opportunity to do something.

I am still in the process of thinking if we should seriously involve ourselves in this project or of we should find another project that is not so advanced. But as a small foundation, I think that Bo Ai might be a good place for us to start and learn. We could do it for a couple years and then move on to another project.

I am really attracted to the fact that only poor kids can attend this school. A government official tried to send his child there because of the high ranking of the school. But they refused him. Bo Ai is totally committed to the disadvantaged kids. Also, the character and moral education is a big plus for me to, as I think that this is something the whole society should learn again. Finally, I always want to encourage Christian people in their ministry. As Crhistine is a Christian, the values she teaches the students come from God's teaching. But of course undercover as we are in China. But whether you are Christian or not, they are basic and simple values that can change an individual and the society.

How to help

Bazaar
There will be a bazar at the International School of Beijing located in Shunyi on May 12, from 9am-5pm. My friend who volunteers for the school has rented a booth to sell some stuff made by the kids and other articles so we can raise money for the middle school. I would like Peace for Humanity to participate in the following ways.

Articles to sell
We were still not sure about what to sell at the bazaar. They wanted to collect articles from individuals but I think that it's too much to take care of, as we would probable receive all kinds of stuff. I think that we should focus on selling things made by the children and things to promote Bo Ai. Because the main thing for this event is also to promote the school, as not so many people know about it.

I thought that we could sell some mugs with prints of the children's drawing. But that will cost the printing of the mugs, which is not very expensive. I thought that we could do the same things but with wish cards. We wouldn't print that many mugs and cards so it wouldn't be too expensive.

What you can do:
1. give a monetary donation to buy mugs, print mugs and cards. 400rmb total for 100 mugs and about 100 rmb to print the cards and envelop.

2. The cards and envelopes will be hand-made by us! We will need help to do that. I am thinking of hosting a Pizza Night and we could all do this while having fun!

3. Be present at the booth to help attract people, talk about Bo Ai and sell items. We need energetic people with a nice smile. We need about 3 persons in the afternoon from 1-5pm.

4. We were thinking about getting kids and their family to dress up and take a picture that they will have to pay for. But I am not sure if they have prepared the background to take the picture. Anyway, we would need some wigs and any kind of costumes that we can borrow from you.

I believe that is it for now. Please let me know if you can contribute in any of those 4 areas as soon as possible, as there is little time to plan this event.

Thank you so much for your reading!!!

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Re: My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  smaile on Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:01 am

Jennifer, the mug and card ideas are such great ideas! Count me in for chipping in a little and the card assembly if it's not while I'm in India. It sounds like a wonderful school and I think it's great how it's teaching children the value of hard work and respecting others. How great would it be if the children of more privileged families got to see first hand how much some people have to do with so little.

If Bo Ai is a registered charity, perhaps they can apply for funding from Beijing's International Newcomer's Network (www.innbeijing.org). They sponsor three charities each year and currently they sponsor a school for the blind.
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Re: My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  Cynda.Schneider on Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:56 am

Let's go ahead and set up a date for the pizza party/envelope making! Maybe next Wednesday evening?
A summer camp sounds great: the only trouble would be finding a time for people to take off of work.
We could get the Beijing kids to just talk to them about the differences between their schools and their cities. I'm sure a lot of them won't be able to visit Beijing, so it would be a good learning experience for them.
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Re: My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  Admin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:53 am

Girls, thank you for your contribution. Maile, thanks for your monetary contribution. Cynda, I won't have time next week for making the envelopes and I asked to receive the children's drawing by Aoril 23rd. So maybe we can do the cards and envelopes that week. Will keep you posted! Smile
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Re: My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  Cynda.Schneider on Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:37 am

Sounds good, we will still have plenty of time to meet up before May 12th. Sometimes I just get excited and want to do stuff right away. ; )
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Re: My Trip to Bo Ai

Post  Admin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:31 pm

hehe, I totally feel you! I am the same. Thank you for your enthusiasm!! Very Happy
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