Work in Mainland China
Stairway to Education - Support Schooling in Mountainous Areas
Hua (alias), a primary 5 boarding student, goes home biweekly. She has to tramp over mountains and long steep roads one after another in every journey back to her humble home. For this impoverished girl, the mountainous roads can’t deter her. Her greatest worry is the continuation of her studies. How can I keep moving up on the “education ladder” and change my future through the acquisition of knowledge? These are the questions she ponders upon.
On this day, Hua led The Salvation Army home visit officers and set off from Puladi Primary School, Gongshan County, Yunnan Province. After a bus ride of 10 minutes or so, we walked along a trail on the mountain side, rounded the bend, and climbed a steep slope for over 20 minutes. Then we tramped over another slope before reaching the little home on a remote mountain.
A Double Whammy
The little home was built with tree trunks, wooden planks and asbestos tiles, the fence gate was made with bamboo. Hua gave it a little push and it fell right over. Stepping into the hut, we felt the breeze entering through the walls and floor. The rain could probably leak in too. The hut was divided into two parts: the bigger area was a sitting room cum bedroom, while the other area was a small bedroom. There were just a few electrical appliances: a small TV set, an old rice cooker, and two dim lights. Hua’s mother was sitting on the sitting room floor barefooted when we arrived.
“We couldn’t even save a penny,” her mother exclaimed. Hua’s father suffered a spinal fracture five years ago and was very weak. They owed a debt of over 500 yuan (Renminbi) for his medication. All the housework and farming duties were laid on her mother’s shoulders. Last year, two of their four pigs died. The dozen hens they kept were sold only for a little more than 500 yuan. Hua’s younger brother attended primary school starting from this September, adding to the family’s financial burden. The major income for the family of four came from a monthly “Rural Minimum Living Security Funds” of less than 450 yuan.
When Schooling Becomes a Luxury
Going to school is a luxury for poverty-stricken families. Fortunately, Hua has been receiving subsidy from The Salvation Army donors since primary 1. She was given the items necessary for her studies, such as stationery, schoolbags, exercise books, etc., and it enabled her to buy daily necessities such as clothing and shoes. With continuous financial support, her parents were no longer worried about Hua’s tuition and miscellaneous fees, and Hua could concentrate on her studies.
“I love learning, though my results are so-so,” Hua said. The school principal sitting beside her added at once, “Hua is one of the top two students in class!” Her parents beamed on hearing the principal’s praises for their daughter. When asked about her plans after graduating from the primary school, Hua said, “I want to study in junior and senior high school, and join the People’s Liberation Army.” She aimed to complete her high school studies instead of attending the university because contributing to the family was her priority.
Like Hua, many students in the mountainous areas have a thirst for knowledge. But alas, the only choice for some of these children is to sacrifice their studies in order to make a living. To help them realise their dreams of education, “The Salvation Army Education Programme for Children and Youth in China” subsidised 662 students of Gongshan County in the year of 2013-2014, among whom 539 studied in primary schools, 93 in junior high, and 30 senior high. Students who achieved excellent results are awarded scholarships for further studies in the university, opening a brand-new bright future for themselves.
The road ahead may be beset with challenges, but these children are persistent in seizing the chance to change their destiny. With financial support, Hua can march forward with courage towards her dreams.

Support Students, Teachers and Schools
Children in poverty have a hard time in their pursuit of education. In addition to the difficulties of their families financial situation, living in remote areas, and inferior school facilities, their teachers also lack training. These factors all restrict their growth and development.
Your generous donations have helped “The Salvation Army Education Programme for Children and Youth in China” provide study grants to 1,923 primary and junior high school students in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Henan and Shandong. Donations have been used to purchase stationery, extra readers, and clothing. The Programme has provided scholarships to 410 high school and university students with excellent academic performance to support children from poor families to pursue a higher education and a brighter future.
The Salvation Army also helps support the reconstruction of schools; installation of teaching equipment; improvement of meals, nutrition, living and hygiene at school; in conjunction with teacher training and development. With an all-encompassing improvement of the teaching environment, children from poor families can have opportunities for better development.


Living in a remote mountain...
Hua’s family lives in a hum...
Hua’s academic performance ...
Support Students, Teachers ...