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To develop their minds, students need healthy bodies -- Project Stethoscope

 

“When I first visited and saw the hostel building from the outside, I thought it looked really nice, very different from what I imagined it to be. But once inside, I saw that the beds and chairs were broken; there were no water tanks, toilets or bathrooms. The government did not lack resources, but the funds were not channelled to where they were needed. I thought at the time it would be great if the money could be used to improve basic hygiene. The key thing was to change people’s mindsets,” said Leung Yue-kong, a project officer at the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong. To develop their minds, students must have good health. It was with this goal in mind that Project Stethoscope was launched in 40 schools in rural China, to raise public health awareness among students and improve the school environment.

 

Since its founding 10 years ago, the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong has focused on supporting the students of the impoverished rural communities in Hunan province’s Baojing county, through its Blackboard School Sponsorship Programme in the early years and Project Stethoscope today.

 

“At first, the Institute focused on providing scholarships and teacher training, but we later found that many students stopped going to school in part because of hefty health care costs, and because local hygiene was poor and people had little knowledge about preventing diseases,” said Leung Yue-kong, a project officer at the Institute.

 

Providing rural health care is a challenge: misconceptions about diseases are common in the village, hygiene is poor and people have little trust in the medical system.

 

“Some private clinics peddle their services at the villages. But, under the pretext of a ‘free health check’, they end up fleecing the villagers,” said Leung. Such experiences have made the villagers wary of seeking health care. This is why many who fall ill will go to the doctor only when their condition becomes serious and treatment is expensive. This often lands the patient’s family – sometimes even the extended family – in debt. They then take their children out of school because they can no longer pay the fees.

 

The Institute’s Project Stethoscope aims to address these concerns. First, it set up family health clinics in the communities to provide free health screening for women. Those who need medical attention are encouraged to seek help sooner rather than later. Next, the Institute set out to improve student health by setting up health centres in school hostels.

 

“Under China’s education policy, most students go to boarding schools and they spend five-and-a-half days there every week. Yet most schools practise poor hygiene and the environment is really unhealthy.”

 

 

Establishing good health habits for a child

 

Focus on both software and hardware

This was what Leung Yue-kong saw when he first visited the village schools:
The hostels were badly run and there was rubbish everywhere. Any trash overflow was taken to the outskirts and burnt. Water supply was limited. In some schools, four taps were shared among three to four hundred students; some schools didn’t even have tap water, and the teachers had to walk half an hour to a mountain stream to fetch water. Toilets and bathrooms were regarded as a luxury.

 

“These were very real problems: we ask the students to nurture good habits for personal hygiene, such as washing their hands before they eat, but how can they do that if there’s no water?”

 

As a result, many students suffer from preventable diseases such as dermatitis and other skin problems, gastrointestinal problems, cavities, head lice and malnutrition.

 

In 2010, the institute rolled out the first phase of Project Stethoscope with funds provided by the Fu Tak Iam Foundation. Nine schools were picked for a pilot programme that saw the building of reservoirs, water pipes, toilets and bathrooms. A more systematic way of managing cleanliness and hygiene was introduced, and schools were guided to evaluate their own progress, provide health information, conduct regular health checks and organise talks. The focus was on improving both the hardware and software.


Healthy food need not cost a lot

The project also aims to improve the students’ diet. In the past, Leung said, his colleagues at the Institute found the school canteens serving mainly noodle dishes laden with chilies and pickled vegetables.

 

“The schools were understandably concerned about cost and convenience, but growing children need nutrition,” he said.

 

So the institute hired a Hong Kong dietician to create a more nutritious menu while keeping within the budget. Considering the local produce available, the dietician recommended adding pig’s blood and seaweed to the menu, among other items of food.

 

Change is never easy, especially when it involves breaking long-time habits in daily life.

 

“At first the canteen workers found it a hassle. Besides, they were so used to food that is spicy and oily. And it was not just the menu that needed change; staff members were asked to change the way they prepared the meals and clean up their working environment. There were forms to fill, and hygiene inspection tests to pass,” Leung said.

 

The Institute was paying for an upgrade of the water facilities at the schools, so this became an incentive for school employees to try and adapt to the new hygiene standards. In addition, doctors who were affiliated with the Institute organised talks for the teachers and canteen staff to broadcast the importance of nutrition. Parents of the students were also invited to attend, since healthy eating habits begin at home.

 

Doctors who were affiliated with the Institute organised talks for the teachers and canteen staff to broadcast the importance of nutrition.

 

The project has had one surprising outcome: it introduced modern management practices to the schools. “Our finances are handled according to very strict standards, but this was very different from how the mainland schools operated,” Leung said. “They could not understand why receipts needed to be stamped and signed, and why we asked vendors to tender for the job. They think, ‘But the new bathroom is right there, for all to see, how can we cheat you?’ But this isn’t good enough for the Institute. Money matters must be handled with proper care.”

 

The Institute’s mainland officers soon learned to apply these standards. Later, so did the schools. “It was simple – no stamp, no money. Soon, the school’s financial management became more transparent.”


Using IT to improve management

The second phase of Project Stethoscope is ongoing. The number of schools it serves has increased to 40, all spread across Baojing county. This means that at any one time, the institute is overseeing dozens of improvement projects and handling thousands of forms. “If we were to rely on only email and QQ chat as before, there would have been no way we could handle this amount of work,” Leung Yue-kong said.

 

With funds from Fu Tak Iam Foundation, the Institute installed an IT system that facilitated communication between the Institute and their school partners. “In this way, our colleagues on the mainland and the schools can update their progress in the system easily and clearly. This saves us a great deal of time and administrative hassle, and increases our capacity to handle more complex projects.”

 

Now in its fourth year, Project Stethoscope is making some strides. Data from annual health checks show that student health has generally improved. The percentage of students suffering from various ailments has dropped over the four years: by 38 percentage for dermatitis or other skin problems; by 24 percentage for respiratory illnesses; and by 58 percentage for gastrointestinal problems. Of course, the improvement in health should also be attributed to the rising standard of living in the county, but there can be no doubt Project Stethoscope has helped to provide a more hygienic environment for the students. When the new infrastructure under construction is ready, Leung believes, the numbers will come down even more.


From Baojing county to other impoverished areas

“The name ‘Project Stethoscope’ makes one think of medicine and health, but at the same time the stethoscope is also meant to signal a willingness to listen. Very often, we can’t tell what the problem is from the outside. We need to dig deep to find out what the real needs are,” said Alan Sze Yuk-hiu, a co-founder of the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong. “We learned this the hard way.”

 

The Institute’s work belies its size: it has only two full-time Hong Kong employees, who work out of two desks at an education centre. All of the Institute’s projects begin in this tiny borrowed space.

 

Interestingly, the core of the Institute’s founders comprises a group of old friends who attended the same university and shared a passion for raising education standards on the mainland. After graduation, the friends – who called themselves “Friends of Chinese Education” – organised annual trips to the mainland to provide help. In 2004, they set up the Institute to extend the scale of their work and ensure it’s more sustainable.

 

Technically, the Institute has been working with the communities in Baojing county for 10 years. But for Sze and his fellow co-founders, their ties to this dirt-poor part of the country go back much further. “It’s been 20 years since we first went in 1995. We were young then, and were just happy to visit and play with the children. We never thought at the time about the children we didn’t see, who likely didn’t go to school because of health issues. It was not until we set up an office on the mainland that we slowly understood how things were.”

 

The Institute is small, but punches above its weight. “What we can do is limited. But our advantage is, since we’ve been working in the same place all these years, we understand the situation in Baojing. We know the issues concerning rural development, and the real needs of the villagers. We’ve also developed good relationships with the local officials and residents, which makes it easier for us to roll out a new initiative.”

 

Project Stethoscope was built on such a foundation. “As a small organisation, we can’t manage projects that focus on major illnesses that cost a lot of money to treat. Project Stethoscope is more of a public health initiative. The aim is to help children develop good hygiene habits, as disease prevention.”

 

Sze said the project’s biggest challenge is motivating the teachers. This has much to do with the self-image of many village teachers. “Many of them feel it’s a terrible fate being stuck in the village, so although they are capable of doing their job, they are not in the best frame of mind to do it,” Sze said. “So whenever we come across a teacher who is enthusiastic and proactive, we’re pleasantly surprised and do our best to support him or her.”

 

Health promotion is extra work for the teachers, so they need some encouragement to take it on. Apart from offering a small sum of subsidy, Sze said, the institute also organises school exchanges, whereby teachers from different schools get to see for themselves what the others are doing. This kind of peer pressure creates an incentive to do well. “This works much better than criticism,” Sze said.

 

Since Project Stethoscope straddles both education and health care issues, the Institute must work with different government departments to keep it running. Government officials are invited to go along on the Institute’s monthly visits to the schools, so they can see for themselves the impact of such work and would become more willing to support it with cash or in kind. If this became a government priority, the schools and students would still receive needed support even after the Institute has left.

 

“We hope this project can be usefully replicated in other areas, so we’re keeping detailed records of what we do, and will soon share this information with others and invite feedback.” This is the next step of the Institute’s work: to organise the programme for public sharing. This means publicising all aspects of the project, not just its conceptual framework, including the forms that allow it to track progress, the school canteen menus, the health promotion materials and the guidelines for basic first aid.

 

One Stethoscope can do only so much. The Institute hopes its experience can inspire others to do more.

 

What people at the Institute say

Shi Yuanhua, the Institute’s China Office Manager:

 “Walk into any of the schools now and you will find a very different place than before. There isn’t as much rubbish lying around the school grounds as before, and you even see students picking up rubbish to throw into the bin. In the past, many students did not have the habit of brushing their teeth in the morning, but visit the hostels today and you’ll see rows of toothbrushes and rinsing mugs lined up, as if in greeting. These are just small things, of course, but all great change starts small. You might say this is where the true value of the work lies. This has the potential to affect many generations to come.”

 

  

This program funded schools to improve dormitory facilities, such as replacement of bed frame, in order to provide a better living environment for students.

 

“This project is based on a good understanding of the issues facing impoverished communities in mountainous areas, which it tries to address in a systematic way. For the children, the project has given a boost to their healthy development. On the whole, the project has improved the school environment, raised awareness of the importance of hygiene and nutrition, and instilled in the students good hygiene habits, all of which will aid the schools’ balanced development and raise their standard of education.”

 

“All that I have seen and experienced on this job has deeply touched me. There were some happy moments but some were sad. When I first decided to join the Institute, I had no great ambition or ideals. My only wish was to do something for my hometown and to offer some love and warmth to these poor children. I didn’t expect to be still doing this work after these years. But I’ve no regrets. In fact, I’m determined to continue following my passion.”


Dr Liu Yunsheng, China Office Medical Project Coordinator:

 “Through its promotion of health education over the past few years, Project Stethoscope’s most meaningful success is in raising the quality of our students (in terms of health, and cultural and human development). This is why health education must start in the primary schools. This work is hugely important to China, because it concerns our nation’s future development.”


Ms Xiang Gonglian, the mother of a Form 2 student at Huaqiao Secondary School:

“I didn’t pay much attention to my child’s personal hygiene before. At home, I made sure she brushed her teeth once in the morning. She likes candy, and developed a few cavities. As for our meals at home, I didn’t know much about nutrition. One day I saw a school flyer about the different combinations of vegetable consumption, and I was reminded that I occasionally suffered cramps in my legs. The doctor at the school said this could be because I lacked calcium, and advised me to eat more food that are rich in calcium, such as milk, eggs, fish, prawns and fresh fruit.”

 

“Now my daughter brushes her teeth twice a day, and even makes sure her father and I also do the same. She takes care to shower and put on clean clothes – she’s giving us basic hygiene lessons. Now we clean the house regularly, wash our hands before we eat, make sure the dishes and cutlery are washed before use, and we eat two different vegetables every meal, in various combinations. My husband teases me, telling me, ‘Now that you’ve been going to the school, you’ve become a nutritionist’.”


Mr Song Minghua, the father of a Primary 6 student in Qingshui Primary School:

 “In the past, our child liked to eat sour and spicy food and ate very little vegetables. He often had gastrointestinal infection, and the medicine didn’t seem to help much. But after the school started catering more nutritious food, with different combinations of fresh vegetables featuring on its menu, my son’s tastes began to change. At home now he even tells me not to eat only meat. Slowly, his stomach grew stronger and he no longer has the runs…

 

“And, before, he had no habit of brushing his teeth and rarely showered. He had a fungus infection that was later treated at the school. Now he showers once every day and changes his clothes, and brushes his teeth twice a day. With him taking the lead, the whole family now brush our teeth twice a day. My wife has toothaches less frequently now. Dr Liu’s talks on hygiene have really benefited us.”

 

Fu Tak Iam Foundation Ltd. has sponsored Project Stethoscope since January 2010. The project now serves 40 schools spread across Baojing county in Hunan province.


Text by : So Mei Chi          Translated by : Chen Zhijun

 

 

To develop their minds, students need healthy bodies -- Project Stethoscope

 

“When I first visited and saw the hostel building from the outside, I thought it looked really nice, very different from what I imagined it to be. But once inside, I saw that the beds and chairs were broken; there were no water tanks, toilets or bathrooms. The government did not lack resources, but the funds were not channelled to where they were needed. I thought at the time it would be great if the money could be used to improve basic hygiene. The key thing was to change people’s mindsets,” said Leung Yue-kong, a project officer at the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong. To develop their minds, students must have good health. It was with this goal in mind that Project Stethoscope was launched in 40 schools in rural China, to raise public health awareness among students and improve the school environment.

 

Since its founding 10 years ago, the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong has focused on supporting the students of the impoverished rural communities in Hunan province’s Baojing county, through its Blackboard School Sponsorship Programme in the early years and Project Stethoscope today.

 

“At first, the Institute focused on providing scholarships and teacher training, but we later found that many students stopped going to school in part because of hefty health care costs, and because local hygiene was poor and people had little knowledge about preventing diseases,” said Leung Yue-kong, a project officer at the Institute.

 

Providing rural health care is a challenge: misconceptions about diseases are common in the village, hygiene is poor and people have little trust in the medical system.

 

“Some private clinics peddle their services at the villages. But, under the pretext of a ‘free health check’, they end up fleecing the villagers,” said Leung. Such experiences have made the villagers wary of seeking health care. This is why many who fall ill will go to the doctor only when their condition becomes serious and treatment is expensive. This often lands the patient’s family – sometimes even the extended family – in debt. They then take their children out of school because they can no longer pay the fees.

 

The Institute’s Project Stethoscope aims to address these concerns. First, it set up family health clinics in the communities to provide free health screening for women. Those who need medical attention are encouraged to seek help sooner rather than later. Next, the Institute set out to improve student health by setting up health centres in school hostels.

 

“Under China’s education policy, most students go to boarding schools and they spend five-and-a-half days there every week. Yet most schools practise poor hygiene and the environment is really unhealthy.”

 

 

Establishing good health habits for a child

 

Focus on both software and hardware

This was what Leung Yue-kong saw when he first visited the village schools:
The hostels were badly run and there was rubbish everywhere. Any trash overflow was taken to the outskirts and burnt. Water supply was limited. In some schools, four taps were shared among three to four hundred students; some schools didn’t even have tap water, and the teachers had to walk half an hour to a mountain stream to fetch water. Toilets and bathrooms were regarded as a luxury.

 

“These were very real problems: we ask the students to nurture good habits for personal hygiene, such as washing their hands before they eat, but how can they do that if there’s no water?”

 

As a result, many students suffer from preventable diseases such as dermatitis and other skin problems, gastrointestinal problems, cavities, head lice and malnutrition.

 

In 2010, the institute rolled out the first phase of Project Stethoscope with funds provided by the Fu Tak Iam Foundation. Nine schools were picked for a pilot programme that saw the building of reservoirs, water pipes, toilets and bathrooms. A more systematic way of managing cleanliness and hygiene was introduced, and schools were guided to evaluate their own progress, provide health information, conduct regular health checks and organise talks. The focus was on improving both the hardware and software.


Healthy food need not cost a lot

The project also aims to improve the students’ diet. In the past, Leung said, his colleagues at the Institute found the school canteens serving mainly noodle dishes laden with chilies and pickled vegetables.

 

“The schools were understandably concerned about cost and convenience, but growing children need nutrition,” he said.

 

So the institute hired a Hong Kong dietician to create a more nutritious menu while keeping within the budget. Considering the local produce available, the dietician recommended adding pig’s blood and seaweed to the menu, among other items of food.

 

Change is never easy, especially when it involves breaking long-time habits in daily life.

 

“At first the canteen workers found it a hassle. Besides, they were so used to food that is spicy and oily. And it was not just the menu that needed change; staff members were asked to change the way they prepared the meals and clean up their working environment. There were forms to fill, and hygiene inspection tests to pass,” Leung said.

 

The Institute was paying for an upgrade of the water facilities at the schools, so this became an incentive for school employees to try and adapt to the new hygiene standards. In addition, doctors who were affiliated with the Institute organised talks for the teachers and canteen staff to broadcast the importance of nutrition. Parents of the students were also invited to attend, since healthy eating habits begin at home.

 

Doctors who were affiliated with the Institute organised talks for the teachers and canteen staff to broadcast the importance of nutrition.

 

The project has had one surprising outcome: it introduced modern management practices to the schools. “Our finances are handled according to very strict standards, but this was very different from how the mainland schools operated,” Leung said. “They could not understand why receipts needed to be stamped and signed, and why we asked vendors to tender for the job. They think, ‘But the new bathroom is right there, for all to see, how can we cheat you?’ But this isn’t good enough for the Institute. Money matters must be handled with proper care.”

 

The Institute’s mainland officers soon learned to apply these standards. Later, so did the schools. “It was simple – no stamp, no money. Soon, the school’s financial management became more transparent.”


Using IT to improve management

The second phase of Project Stethoscope is ongoing. The number of schools it serves has increased to 40, all spread across Baojing county. This means that at any one time, the institute is overseeing dozens of improvement projects and handling thousands of forms. “If we were to rely on only email and QQ chat as before, there would have been no way we could handle this amount of work,” Leung Yue-kong said.

 

With funds from Fu Tak Iam Foundation, the Institute installed an IT system that facilitated communication between the Institute and their school partners. “In this way, our colleagues on the mainland and the schools can update their progress in the system easily and clearly. This saves us a great deal of time and administrative hassle, and increases our capacity to handle more complex projects.”

 

Now in its fourth year, Project Stethoscope is making some strides. Data from annual health checks show that student health has generally improved. The percentage of students suffering from various ailments has dropped over the four years: by 38 percentage for dermatitis or other skin problems; by 24 percentage for respiratory illnesses; and by 58 percentage for gastrointestinal problems. Of course, the improvement in health should also be attributed to the rising standard of living in the county, but there can be no doubt Project Stethoscope has helped to provide a more hygienic environment for the students. When the new infrastructure under construction is ready, Leung believes, the numbers will come down even more.


From Baojing county to other impoverished areas

“The name ‘Project Stethoscope’ makes one think of medicine and health, but at the same time the stethoscope is also meant to signal a willingness to listen. Very often, we can’t tell what the problem is from the outside. We need to dig deep to find out what the real needs are,” said Alan Sze Yuk-hiu, a co-founder of the Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong. “We learned this the hard way.”

 

The Institute’s work belies its size: it has only two full-time Hong Kong employees, who work out of two desks at an education centre. All of the Institute’s projects begin in this tiny borrowed space.

 

Interestingly, the core of the Institute’s founders comprises a group of old friends who attended the same university and shared a passion for raising education standards on the mainland. After graduation, the friends – who called themselves “Friends of Chinese Education” – organised annual trips to the mainland to provide help. In 2004, they set up the Institute to extend the scale of their work and ensure it’s more sustainable.

 

Technically, the Institute has been working with the communities in Baojing county for 10 years. But for Sze and his fellow co-founders, their ties to this dirt-poor part of the country go back much further. “It’s been 20 years since we first went in 1995. We were young then, and were just happy to visit and play with the children. We never thought at the time about the children we didn’t see, who likely didn’t go to school because of health issues. It was not until we set up an office on the mainland that we slowly understood how things were.”

 

The Institute is small, but punches above its weight. “What we can do is limited. But our advantage is, since we’ve been working in the same place all these years, we understand the situation in Baojing. We know the issues concerning rural development, and the real needs of the villagers. We’ve also developed good relationships with the local officials and residents, which makes it easier for us to roll out a new initiative.”

 

Project Stethoscope was built on such a foundation. “As a small organisation, we can’t manage projects that focus on major illnesses that cost a lot of money to treat. Project Stethoscope is more of a public health initiative. The aim is to help children develop good hygiene habits, as disease prevention.”

 

Sze said the project’s biggest challenge is motivating the teachers. This has much to do with the self-image of many village teachers. “Many of them feel it’s a terrible fate being stuck in the village, so although they are capable of doing their job, they are not in the best frame of mind to do it,” Sze said. “So whenever we come across a teacher who is enthusiastic and proactive, we’re pleasantly surprised and do our best to support him or her.”

 

Health promotion is extra work for the teachers, so they need some encouragement to take it on. Apart from offering a small sum of subsidy, Sze said, the institute also organises school exchanges, whereby teachers from different schools get to see for themselves what the others are doing. This kind of peer pressure creates an incentive to do well. “This works much better than criticism,” Sze said.

 

Since Project Stethoscope straddles both education and health care issues, the Institute must work with different government departments to keep it running. Government officials are invited to go along on the Institute’s monthly visits to the schools, so they can see for themselves the impact of such work and would become more willing to support it with cash or in kind. If this became a government priority, the schools and students would still receive needed support even after the Institute has left.

 

“We hope this project can be usefully replicated in other areas, so we’re keeping detailed records of what we do, and will soon share this information with others and invite feedback.” This is the next step of the Institute’s work: to organise the programme for public sharing. This means publicising all aspects of the project, not just its conceptual framework, including the forms that allow it to track progress, the school canteen menus, the health promotion materials and the guidelines for basic first aid.

 

One Stethoscope can do only so much. The Institute hopes its experience can inspire others to do more.

 

What people at the Institute say

Shi Yuanhua, the Institute’s China Office Manager:

 “Walk into any of the schools now and you will find a very different place than before. There isn’t as much rubbish lying around the school grounds as before, and you even see students picking up rubbish to throw into the bin. In the past, many students did not have the habit of brushing their teeth in the morning, but visit the hostels today and you’ll see rows of toothbrushes and rinsing mugs lined up, as if in greeting. These are just small things, of course, but all great change starts small. You might say this is where the true value of the work lies. This has the potential to affect many generations to come.”

 

This program funded schools to improve dormitory facilities, such as replacement of bed frame, in order to provide a better living environment for students.

 

“This project is based on a good understanding of the issues facing impoverished communities in mountainous areas, which it tries to address in a systematic way. For the children, the project has given a boost to their healthy development. On the whole, the project has improved the school environment, raised awareness of the importance of hygiene and nutrition, and instilled in the students good hygiene habits, all of which will aid the schools’ balanced development and raise their standard of education.”

 

“All that I have seen and experienced on this job has deeply touched me. There were some happy moments but some were sad. When I first decided to join the Institute, I had no great ambition or ideals. My only wish was to do something for my hometown and to offer some love and warmth to these poor children. I didn’t expect to be still doing this work after these years. But I’ve no regrets. In fact, I’m determined to continue following my passion.”


Dr Liu Yunsheng, China Office Medical Project Coordinator:

 “Through its promotion of health education over the past few years, Project Stethoscope’s most meaningful success is in raising the quality of our students (in terms of health, and cultural and human development). This is why health education must start in the primary schools. This work is hugely important to China, because it concerns our nation’s future development.”


Ms Xiang Gonglian, the mother of a Form 2 student at Huaqiao Secondary School:

“I didn’t pay much attention to my child’s personal hygiene before. At home, I made sure she brushed her teeth once in the morning. She likes candy, and developed a few cavities. As for our meals at home, I didn’t know much about nutrition. One day I saw a school flyer about the different combinations of vegetable consumption, and I was reminded that I occasionally suffered cramps in my legs. The doctor at the school said this could be because I lacked calcium, and advised me to eat more food that are rich in calcium, such as milk, eggs, fish, prawns and fresh fruit.”

 

“Now my daughter brushes her teeth twice a day, and even makes sure her father and I also do the same. She takes care to shower and put on clean clothes – she’s giving us basic hygiene lessons. Now we clean the house regularly, wash our hands before we eat, make sure the dishes and cutlery are washed before use, and we eat two different vegetables every meal, in various combinations. My husband teases me, telling me, ‘Now that you’ve been going to the school, you’ve become a nutritionist’.”


Mr Song Minghua, the father of a Primary 6 student in Qingshui Primary School:

 “In the past, our child liked to eat sour and spicy food and ate very little vegetables. He often had gastrointestinal infection, and the medicine didn’t seem to help much. But after the school started catering more nutritious food, with different combinations of fresh vegetables featuring on its menu, my son’s tastes began to change. At home now he even tells me not to eat only meat. Slowly, his stomach grew stronger and he no longer has the runs…

 

“And, before, he had no habit of brushing his teeth and rarely showered. He had a fungus infection that was later treated at the school. Now he showers once every day and changes his clothes, and brushes his teeth twice a day. With him taking the lead, the whole family now brush our teeth twice a day. My wife has toothaches less frequently now. Dr Liu’s talks on hygiene have really benefited us.”

 

Fu Tak Iam Foundation Ltd. has sponsored Project Stethoscope since January 2010. The project now serves 40 schools spread across Baojing county in Hunan province.


Text by : So Mei Chi          Translated by : Chen Zhijun