February 1998

Back to School for the Spring Semester

FebruaryThe spring semester has just begun at the village schools in Hanyuan. This semester DORS are assisting 100 children to go to school by paying their fees. Eighty-nine of these children are now at primary, and 11 at middle school. These children are from the poorest families in villages where DORS have other projects, and without DORS assistance they would not be able to attend school. Village teachers, leaders, and Township officials helped us to select the children according to our criteria favouring girls (63 of the 100 this semester are girls), the poorest and minorities.

Left. Two brothers in Sugu Village attending school with DORS assistance.

The drop out rate in primary school is high, with many children leaving before completing the six years schooling, especially girls.

Although China is promoting nine years basic education, the chance to attend middle school for children in Hanyuan's poor villages is remote. The standards of teaching and facilities in the village school cannot match those of the towns. Some classrooms are mud brick buildings in danger of collapse, with no heating or electricity. The teacher often has to teach two grades simultaneously. Teaching materials consist of a blackboard and chalk, along with the standard text books, and there are often not enough desks and stools for all the children to sit comfortably.

At exam time the children from the mountain villages get lower grades than the town children, only a few get the grades needed to go to middle school. Of these, fewer still can afford the fees and living expenses which often exceeds the yearly average per person income in the village.

New Quick Response Micro Projects

We are now designing some new small projects at village group (hamlet) level, with total cost of under £1000. This is in response to requests for assisitance directly from the village group leaders in Hanyuan, and in particular from villages where we have other projects and are familiar with the conditions. So far we have three projects - two drinking and one irrigation water supply, all in Yi minority villages.

Ongoing Project NewsConstruction has started again on the irrigation water pits in Zhushan, the Chenhe drinking water supply is nearing completion, and in Wansheng the drinking water supply is now connected for most of the residents.





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