What's Been Happening
Give2Asia features the Project
Our friends Matthew Grager and Kalsang Tashi at Give2Asia made a short film about how the Lan Cun Education Project came to be and what we're continuing to do.
Stay tuned until the end if you want to hear the song my dad came up with on his last visit to the village. He sang it with all the kids at the school.
Ken visits Lan Cun
With the cafeteria open and in daily use, my dad was fortunate to get a chance to visit in person in August 2012. Principal Lei told him that someone is using the cafeteria at any given hour. The students are there for breakfast, lunch, and study time, and the teachers use it for meetings and all their meals. Principal Lei said that school attendance has been much improved. Before the cafeteria, when bad weather washed out the paths and rivers, more than half the kids missed school. Now they have a place to dry off and eat a warm meal.
Here he is with some of the kids from the village in our family's ancestral temple. We met some of these kids back in 2008. They've grown so much!
And here's a glimpse at how life goes on as it always has in the village. After this visit, dad came back determined to try to help girls like the ones working in these rice fields. If the Lan Cun Education Project can help them cover their school fees, their parents won't automatically pull them out of school when they turn 12 and put them to work. School isn't free after sixth grade in China so parents triage and send their sons to school when they can. We're making helping girls stay in school another mission of our Project. Please help us make this happen by donating!
Happy Holidays from Lan Cun! THE CAFETERIA IS NOW OPEN!
This year, thanks to your help, we raised enough money to build a cafeteria at the Lan Cun Primary School. The space was so badly needed that students and teachers started using it for lunch and study time even before it had any tables or chairs. The cafeteria opened last week and is already making a big difference for many people in the village.
HELP US NOW KICK OFF THE HOT-LUNCH PROGRAM.
We've made amazing progress, but our work is not done. The next phase of the Project is to make sure that all the students using it have something to eat at lunch. Many come from families surviving on less than a dollar a day and simply cannot afford food for lunch. We need to raise funds to pay for a new stove and supplies, so that the school can provide hot meals for the kids who need the most help.
November 2011: AN UPDATE FROM THE SCHOOL
Principal Lei tells us that even though construction on the cafeteria space has just begun and there's not yet any furniture, students and others from the community have already started using it as a quiet place to sit during lunchtime and as a meeting place after school. He says that now that it is clear that the cafeteria is actually on its way, students' families have opened up about how much the cafeteria will help.
The great response from students' parents and relatives really reminded us how important it is that we raise this next $5,000, so that the school can make the cafeteria and hot lunches a reality.
Here are some photos the Principal sent us:
The classroom that is being converted into the cafeteria needs a new foundation and floor, among other repairs.
Here are some of the teachers pitching in.
And some students too! Principal Lei says, everyone has been asking when the cafeteria will be ready to use.
Until then, some of the students who can't make it home are fortunate enough to have grandparents bring them a meal at lunch.
They sit by the road to have their lunch.
This day, the Lan Cun Primary School had an awards ceremony for the top students of the term.
September 2011: SOME YOUNG FRIENDS FIND A WAY TO HELP
My nieces, ages 5 and 7, asked how they could help the kids in Lan Cun. They had a lot of ideas, including a lemonade stand (they decided there were too few people walking by that day) and a school supply sale (but school had just started so everyone was stocked up). Finally, they came up with the plan to make bracelets and then head to a crowded park to sell them. "Even if people don't buy anything, we'll talk to a lot of them," the eldest reasoned, "so more people will know about the Project." It took all day and a lot of explaining and shaking hands, but the two raised more than $45 for the Project. Thank you girls for putting such thought, effort, and creativity into helping!
August 2011: THE PROJECT MAKES FIRST DONATION TO THE LAN CUN SCHOOL!
We've made great progress over the last few months thanks to all of your support. We just transferred an initial US$10,000 to the Lan Cun Primary School, and it is now kicking off construction on the new cafeteria. Principal Lei promises to send everyone an update on the progress, so check back here for news!
Despite the less favorable exchange rate for the dollar these days, we are still optimistic that our initial US$15,000 plan can build, supply, and staff the cafeteria--with some resourcefulness and ingenuity. To save on costs, the School has found a way to repair an old, unused classroom space rather than building a new structure from the ground up. Everyone continues to look for other ways to stretch the Project funds as far as possible.
In the meantime, we are continuing our efforts to raise another US$5,000. Please help us reach this goal and click on the Donate button, and spread the word about the Lan Cun Education Project. Thanks again for all your support.
March 2011: RUNNING FOR THE KIDS
The Project's good friend Tracey is taking on the Seoul Marathon! Many of the Lan Cun kids spend as much time getting to and from school every day as it takes to finish this race. Tracey is showing her support by donating to the kids of Lan Cun for every minute she'll be running.
Here's her amazing story and why she's supporting the Project:
I am running the Seoul Marathon on Sunday, March 20, and I'm incredibly excited. Several months ago I decided to donate one dollar for every minute it takes me to cross the finish line to a great organization, the Lan Cun Education Project. It will make a significant, meaningful impact in this community, and it is entirely feasible.
There are many regions in the world where children surmount extraordinary obstacles to pursue education. People often wonder how they can make a difference, and I'm really happy that I can help these children, who travel long distances on foot every day, achieve their goals. As a former foster child in Asia, I owe a great deal to the kindness of strangers (including people in the U.S.) who helped set me on the right path, and it makes me especially happy to reach out to this group of determined kids in China.
Please consider donating to the Lan Cun Education Project. Even a modest donation will make a difference. -Tracey
Thanks Tracey! Here's to a fantastic race!
Update: Tracey ran a great race and finished in crazy good time--well under the three hour mark. Congratulations and wow!
January 2011: UPDATE FROM PRINCIPAL LEI
Ken called Principal Lei to let him know about our fundraising progress. Principal Lei was really excited to hear things have been moving forward and wanted to personally send his thanks to everyone who has donated so far. Ken explained we still have a ways to go but we hope to have enough to get things rolling in the coming months. The Principal is grateful to all of you for making this Project happen.