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“Teach Future China (“TFC”) helps rural kids educationally and emotionally by assigning volunteer teachers to their schools for two years and prepares the teachers to be future leaders.”

Rick Tang, Trustee of Fu Tak Iam Foundation Ltd.
 
Teach Future China (“TFC”) helps rural kids educationally and emotionally by assigning volunteer teachers to their schools for two years and prepares the teachers to be future leaders.

They ran a training program for 131 volunteer teachers in Beijing on July 19 to August 20. The volunteers were fresh graduates from all over the country. Some were trained as teachers and the rest in other disciplines. The training rundown was comprehensive and taught the volunteers solid educational and emotional skills to meet the challenges ahead.

On Aug 17, I heard the talks given by four former volunteer teachers who had completed their two year services in four rural villages. They vividly showed the new volunteers the real picture, shared good practices and mistakes, and encouraged the new volunteers.
 
One teacher showed slides of his house in Guaizhou. From his front window, he looked to his neighbour who was a pig in its sty and at the back window, a working horse. The pictures spoke louder than words.
 
A flushing toilet? Forget it. Use the hole in the ground outside the house. Carry a flash light with you if you have to go there in the middle of the night. A morning shower? No such thing. In winter, it is a once-a-month luxury in a public bath house in the closest town for 10 Yuan. In summer, it is limited to a bucket of precious underground water every fortnight. Despite the hard living conditions, the young man shared his experience with profound joy.
 
It was a humbling experience for me. The university graduates could have earned a much higher pay than the stipends. Yet their commitment was deliberate and their energy electrifying. What kept them going?
 
I then followed Zhang Jinyu, a 23 year old former volunteer, to Da Shi Ling (Big Stone Ridge) where she completed her assignment a year ago. She placed me with the principal of her school who was kind enough to be my host for three nights. His wife cooked fresh produce from their farm daily. No pesticides. Their warmth and generosity compensated me exceedingly for the challenges beyond my physical comfort level.
 
We went on home visits on foot as I wanted to trace the steps of the kids most of whom lived in villages at least two hours by foot from the school. Da Shi Ling is a beautiful place. The never-ending Qing Long River flows contently through the villages. Guarding the long river on both sides are tall green trees. Further in the distance is a majestic mountain range which runs for miles and as long as your eyes can see. It must be elegant in the fall with the changing colours of the leaves, and angelic in winter with its snowed-capped tops.
 
The air was divinely clean. The place was quiet broken only by the occasional summer breeze. It was heaven on earth.
 
“Her” kids rejoiced in seeing her again. She had promised them to return. They spread the news quickly from house to house. Soon thereafter, boys and girls seem to appear out of nowhere to walk with us through the unpaved country roads. They were now older at 15 and much taller. Zhang took turns to talk to each of them. Her love for the kids was reciprocated just as generously. Their laughter was contagious.
 
Our Teacher is back! The kids are thrilled!
 

But, there were sad moments. A 16 year old girl lost her father. The construction of her house was halted because they had run out of money. She was given the responsibility of raising her little brother. His unlimited energy exhausted her. She missed her Mom who had left for the city to earn extra income as the drought had destroyed their crops.
 
I felt her pain. Life was not supposed to be this hard for this innocent young girl, I prayed quietly.
 
After two days of home visits, we prepared ourselves to return to Beijing.
 
The principal’s wife prepared a most delicious free range chicken from her small farm, dipped in hot oil (very different from our Cantonese fried chicken), for our farewell dinner.
 
I was deeply touched. I knew that chicken was not a daily dish but a luxury saved for the major festivals and to honour their special guests.
 
The principal told me that all but only a few of the kids were “left-behind kids” raised by their grannies. The rest were raised by one parent because the men worked in the cities. The only hope for them to break the cycle of poverty is to get into university. To do so, they must finish senior high school and take the national exam (Gao Kao). But there are only 30 senior high school placements for every 100 students.
 
This village school starts its new 3rd year of junior high (9th grade) this fall. Those who cannot make senior high next year have no choice but to remain as farmers or, if their family could afford it, try to get into a senior high school in the town of Qing Long (Green Dragon). It is two hours by car away and charges a boarding fee.
 
Green Dragon town is smaller than our Tin Sui Wai. Only a limited number of manual jobs are available for the boys such as working as construction workers or delivery men. The girls will marry young at 18 and bear children. They will recycle their lives as poor peasants.
 
Back in Beijing, I had the pleasure of spending more time with the devoted staff and mentors who were former volunteer teachers as well as their vice-chairman. “China has more than 100 million poor rural. Isn’t your work only a drop in the bucket?” I asked. A young man in his twenties responded: “It makes a big difference to my kids”.
 
I knew then what kept them going. They tried to change the lives of rural children with love. Their fuel was their own unconditional love which recharged them over and over again.
 
Volunteer teachers tried to change the lives of rural children with unconditional love.
 
The former volunteers have formed an alumni association at their own initiative and with some guidance from the TFC staff. They create small cell groups to encourage one another and to strengthen their belief in changing society for the better. This alumni association expands as more people complete their assignment and join them. They leverage the synergy of the team in implementing new projects of their own.
 
The vice-chairman is a senior business executive and a graduate of Beijing University (Baida). He plans to organize a symposium with his alma mater towards the end of the year inviting senior executives of companies and Baida MBA students to attend.
 
The employers face an unhealthy turnover of employees. The young graduates seek instant gratification and possess an acute sense of entitlement. Some lack perseverance and have little respect for integrity. Others are unable to be team players. Their problem solving skills are weak. Obviously there are good graduates as well. The volunteer teachers have all the right DNA and are potential assets to employers. The vice-chairman wants to open this treasure trove for the employers.
 
Premier Li Keqiang has announced the State Council’s urbanization strategy to move 80 million rural people to existing and new cities in the next six years by 2020. This is a staggering number equivalent to the entire population of Germany! Monumental as the challenges may be, urbanization is the only way to reduce rural poverty.

In conclusion, TFC is doing a great job and creating positive impact on the rural children. They have trained a pool of more than 200 future leaders in the volunteer teachers and just assigned another 130 to the villages. They stay connected to one another through the alumni platform. It is an honour for our foundation to partner with these young people. We have made an excellent investment in these future leaders.
 
May God bless the kids, the local teachers, the former and current volunteers, the TFC leaders and staff.
 
 
 
 

 

Rick Tang, Trustee of Fu Tak Iam Foundation Ltd.
 
Teach Future China (“TFC”) helps rural kids educationally and emotionally by assigning volunteer teachers to their schools for two years and prepares the teachers to be future leaders.

They ran a training program for 131 volunteer teachers in Beijing on July 19 to August 20. The volunteers were fresh graduates from all over the country. Some were trained as teachers and the rest in other disciplines. The training rundown was comprehensive and taught the volunteers solid educational and emotional skills to meet the challenges ahead.

On Aug 17, I heard the talks given by four former volunteer teachers who had completed their two year services in four rural villages. They vividly showed the new volunteers the real picture, shared good practices and mistakes, and encouraged the new volunteers.
 
One teacher showed slides of his house in Guaizhou. From his front window, he looked to his neighbour who was a pig in its sty and at the back window, a working horse. The pictures spoke louder than words.
 
A flushing toilet? Forget it. Use the hole in the ground outside the house. Carry a flash light with you if you have to go there in the middle of the night. A morning shower? No such thing. In winter, it is a once-a-month luxury in a public bath house in the closest town for 10 Yuan. In summer, it is limited to a bucket of precious underground water every fortnight. Despite the hard living conditions, the young man shared his experience with profound joy.
 
It was a humbling experience for me. The university graduates could have earned a much higher pay than the stipends. Yet their commitment was deliberate and their energy electrifying. What kept them going?
 
I then followed Zhang Jinyu, a 23 year old former volunteer, to Da Shi Ling (Big Stone Ridge) where she completed her assignment a year ago. She placed me with the principal of her school who was kind enough to be my host for three nights. His wife cooked fresh produce from their farm daily. No pesticides. Their warmth and generosity compensated me exceedingly for the challenges beyond my physical comfort level.
 
We went on home visits on foot as I wanted to trace the steps of the kids most of whom lived in villages at least two hours by foot from the school. Da Shi Ling is a beautiful place. The never-ending Qing Long River flows contently through the villages. Guarding the long river on both sides are tall green trees. Further in the distance is a majestic mountain range which runs for miles and as long as your eyes can see. It must be elegant in the fall with the changing colours of the leaves, and angelic in winter with its snowed-capped tops.
 
The air was divinely clean. The place was quiet broken only by the occasional summer breeze. It was heaven on earth.
 
“Her” kids rejoiced in seeing her again. She had promised them to return. They spread the news quickly from house to house. Soon thereafter, boys and girls seem to appear out of nowhere to walk with us through the unpaved country roads. They were now older at 15 and much taller. Zhang took turns to talk to each of them. Her love for the kids was reciprocated just as generously. Their laughter was contagious.
 
Our Teacher is back! The kids are thrilled!
 

But, there were sad moments. A 16 year old girl lost her father. The construction of her house was halted because they had run out of money. She was given the responsibility of raising her little brother. His unlimited energy exhausted her. She missed her Mom who had left for the city to earn extra income as the drought had destroyed their crops.
 
I felt her pain. Life was not supposed to be this hard for this innocent young girl, I prayed quietly.
 
After two days of home visits, we prepared ourselves to return to Beijing.
 
The principal’s wife prepared a most delicious free range chicken from her small farm, dipped in hot oil (very different from our Cantonese fried chicken), for our farewell dinner.
 
I was deeply touched. I knew that chicken was not a daily dish but a luxury saved for the major festivals and to honour their special guests.
 
The principal told me that all but only a few of the kids were “left-behind kids” raised by their grannies. The rest were raised by one parent because the men worked in the cities. The only hope for them to break the cycle of poverty is to get into university. To do so, they must finish senior high school and take the national exam (Gao Kao). But there are only 30 senior high school placements for every 100 students.
 
This village school starts its new 3rd year of junior high (9th grade) this fall. Those who cannot make senior high next year have no choice but to remain as farmers or, if their family could afford it, try to get into a senior high school in the town of Qing Long (Green Dragon). It is two hours by car away and charges a boarding fee.
 
Green Dragon town is smaller than our Tin Sui Wai. Only a limited number of manual jobs are available for the boys such as working as construction workers or delivery men. The girls will marry young at 18 and bear children. They will recycle their lives as poor peasants.
 
Back in Beijing, I had the pleasure of spending more time with the devoted staff and mentors who were former volunteer teachers as well as their vice-chairman. “China has more than 100 million poor rural. Isn’t your work only a drop in the bucket?” I asked. A young man in his twenties responded: “It makes a big difference to my kids”.
 
I knew then what kept them going. They tried to change the lives of rural children with love. Their fuel was their own unconditional love which recharged them over and over again.
 
Volunteer teachers tried to change the lives of rural children with unconditional love.
 
The former volunteers have formed an alumni association at their own initiative and with some guidance from the TFC staff. They create small cell groups to encourage one another and to strengthen their belief in changing society for the better. This alumni association expands as more people complete their assignment and join them. They leverage the synergy of the team in implementing new projects of their own.
 
The vice-chairman is a senior business executive and a graduate of Beijing University (Baida). He plans to organize a symposium with his alma mater towards the end of the year inviting senior executives of companies and Baida MBA students to attend.
 
The employers face an unhealthy turnover of employees. The young graduates seek instant gratification and possess an acute sense of entitlement. Some lack perseverance and have little respect for integrity. Others are unable to be team players. Their problem solving skills are weak. Obviously there are good graduates as well. The volunteer teachers have all the right DNA and are potential assets to employers. The vice-chairman wants to open this treasure trove for the employers.
 
Premier Li Keqiang has announced the State Council’s urbanization strategy to move 80 million rural people to existing and new cities in the next six years by 2020. This is a staggering number equivalent to the entire population of Germany! Monumental as the challenges may be, urbanization is the only way to reduce rural poverty. 

In conclusion, TFC is doing a great job and creating positive impact on the rural children. They have trained a pool of more than 200 future leaders in the volunteer teachers and just assigned another 130 to the villages. They stay connected to one another through the alumni platform. It is an honour for our foundation to partner with these young people. We have made an excellent investment in these future leaders.
 
May God bless the kids, the local teachers, the former and current volunteers, the TFC leaders and staff.