The Hope Elementary School in Xuwan Village in Henan Province, China was established 10 years ago as a place for the most underpriviliged children to get an education. The Principal is a local who received a college degree and decided to give back to her community by starting the school for right after graduation with an initial enrollment of 20 children. Even now, she is fully dedicated to school operations and the welfare of the children; having made incredible personal sacrifices.
The school now has 586 students enrolled from kindergarten to fifth grade and has only 18 teachers including cooks, custodians, etc. School infrastructure is lacking with no running water, sewage, and very little electricity. The school’s monthly electricity bills are limited to around USD10 per month.
The students in the village come from various economic backgrounds. Most have parents who work and live in the cities as factory laborers who are able to send their wages home. Almost all of the children in the village are cared for by their grandparents due to the exodus of middle-aged labor to neighboring cities.
However, there are a large number of children who are either complete orphans, do not have parents and live with their grandparents, or come from very poor families. Many children go home to do their homework by candle light, and some wear sandals to school during the cold winter due to lack of sufficient clothing.
Due to both economic and educational constraints, the children do not practice proper health or hygiene habits. On average, the kids bathe 1-2 times per year; and do not know how to brush their teeth. They do not have proper vaccinations, and get to eat meat around 5 times per year during the holidays.
By nationwide statistics, only 5% percent of these children will step into the halls of a college or university. Maybe we can do something to change that.