Scott, our Asia Project Operations Director, gives insight into our work among the Nosu of China. Along with the support, wisdom and input of a variety of partners and individuals, IDEAS has seen transformational impact among these communities. Read Meeting Educational Needs in the Villages of China below.
For more than 15 years IDEAS has worked together with the Nosu people of southern Sichuan Province, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, to address the needs of communities and villages. While the majority of the people in China live in cities, most Nosu people are farmers living in small mountain villages, making a meager living off their small plots of land growing mostly potatoes, corn, and buckwheat. Through working in cooperation with village leaders, school teachers, and farmers, the IDEAS project leaders were able to learn what problems the villagers faced, and what projects the local people believed would help transform their lives.
Education was the biggest felt need among the Nosu. In the villages there were only small, dark, one room school houses for the children. The IDEAS project director was able to design a larger school room, with natural light and modern construction materials. IDEAS provided the construction materials and the villagers provided the labor to build the new schools. Also included with the new school was an improved pit toilet, usually the first one in the village.
These one room schools were able to provide their students with text books, but they had no school libraries to encourage the children to read outside of school. IDEAS was able to sponsor a project to provide village schools with a small library made up of colorful children’s books to stimulate reading.
The villages’ one room schools only provided education through third grade. If the village children were to continue their education they would need to go school in a larger town or city far from their village. For poor village families this was an expense that difficult to meet. Through discussion with school officials, IDEAS began a student sponsorship program that provides a small scholarship to enable village children to continue their education. In this way village students may attend middle school, high school, and many go on to college. One student wrote last year how his life was changed through the student sponsorship program. She writes:
“Hello everyone. My name is JiLa WuGe and I’m from a village home. I have a younger sister and 2 younger brothers. When I was still in elementary school my father started taking drugs and began to change. Yet, he’s a hard worker and continued to work in a local iron ore mine and earned money to pay for our schooling. My mother is also at home working the family farm and earning money from raising pigs. This money also went to help the 4 children attend school. However, a few years ago my mother was hit by a car and received serious injuries. Now she’s not able to do heavy work.
In order to change our living standard, my parents worked very hard to provide an education for me and my brothers and sisters. This year I graduated from college, my younger sister also graduated from high school and has been accepted to attend college. The older of my two brothers is still in high school, while the youngest brother is in elementary school. Our family income is too little to pay for all four of our tuition and living expenses. I’m very grateful that since 2007 when my sister and I were still in elementary school, we were continuously supported by the IDEAS Student Sponsorship. Even though the sponsorship didn’t meet all our needs, it was enough to cover some of our financial problems. So I persisted in living simply and eating very little until I was through college. Now that I have a job I can help my younger brothers and sister. Furthermore, I want to be a person who is concerned for others and return to care for students in remote, impoverished areas.”
Through these cooperative educational projects, many Nosu people are beginning to see their lives transformed and they are being equipped to live a more abundant life.
If you would like to learn more about our sponsorship program for Nosu students, please contact the IDEAS office at 720-283-9100.