Enfants du Ningxia

When our organisation was first established, our aim was to enable girls who had been taken out of school to work in the fields and be married early to return to their studies. However, we now give scholarships to all children whose families can no longer afford to send them to school, enabling them to continue their education until graduation, thus giving them the possibility of a brighter future.
Aug 12, 2013

Children of Ningxia is discontinuing its activities

Twelve years ago, an “accident” occurred while I was on a reporting mission:  during an unexpected encounter in a remote village in China, three tattered notebooks and a letter were thrust into my hands, and Destiny took a spill without knowing what had hit her.

A few months later, a two-page spread I wrote for the French newspaper, Libération, brought a reaction of solidarity and generosity from a dozen or so readers, and the adventure we would call “Enfants du Ningxia” began.

After twelve years of actions for which we feel an sense of immense collective pride, the Board of the Association has decided – and it is heart-wrenching - to close Enfants du Ningxia.

Victories over fate

From the start, the Association could boast several strengths:  we never thought we were superhuman, never claimed we would save China or the world.  Our work was simply the fruit of a marvelous surge of solidarity; we acted without hesitating.  And the source of it all was the exemplary determination of one child, Ma Yan, who wanted to go to school.

Thanks to the donations of hundreds of generous donors, thanks to the royalties from sales of The Diary of Ma Yan, thanks also to the work of numerous volunteers, each child we were able to help is like a little “miracle” resulting from that surprising encounter in Zhang Jia Qiu.  Every child symbolizes a small victory over the fate that poverty makes practically inevitable.

And there are dozens, even hundreds of these little miracles.  The first one is Ma Yan herself who was able to follow her dream of studying – at the Sorbonne no less! – and also of offering a better life to her parents, one of her most profound wishes expressed over and over in her diary.

And there are so many others…  Like one of our scholarship students whose life was teetering on the edge of guaranteed illiteracy and who became the first girl ever from her village to graduate from university.

The countless stories gave us the force and the desire to pursue our actions and encouraged donors to renew their support.

The growth of China and the “weariness” of donors

During the last decade, however, China has changed.  It has become much richer, is now the second economic power of the world, has seen – and is still experiencing – a massive rural exodus.  Part of its population no longer lives in poverty, but the price paid is visible in the profound social and regional inequalities that our friends in Ningxia know only so well.

The work of the Association became more and more difficult.

-          Our presence in China was reduced when I came back to France.

-          The impact of The Diary of Ma Yan was a long time ago;

-          Our resources have diminished progressively because of the economic downturn, the weariness of donors, the increased demands on foundations and other sources of funds;

-          The sometimes ambivalent feelings of helping children in a country that has now become rich while poverty is more widespread closer to home discourage potential donors.

The reasons for our making our decision to end such an exceptional adventure are multiple.  While we encountered only positive experiences all along the way, we feel it is necessary to turn the page before we find ourselves in dire financial straits.  Thankfully, some of our direct sponsors have agreed to see their students through to the end of their study cycle.

Thanks to all!

We extend our thanks to all of the numerous people who were part of this surge of solidarity which was exceptional and efficient, and always discreet.

We thank the volunteers who, for over a decade, were the indispensible cogs in the wheel, who never counted the hours and the energy spent but did the job solely in the interest of human kindness and justice.

And we offer our congratulations to all of the children of Ningxia who we were able to help leave behind a destiny marked by misery and ignorance.  May they have not only the luck to lead the lives they have dreamt of living when they asked for our help, but also have the desire to help other children achieve fulfilling lives.

So we are turning the page in the history of Enfants du Ningxia with a feeling of having been useful.  Our actions were maybe a drop in the bucket on a global scale but a mountain for each human being in question.  The impact of Enfants du Ningxia will continue, we hope, beyond the Association’s lifetime, in the hearts of everyone who participated in its story:  donors, volunteers and… the children of Ningxia.

Thank you to all.

Apr 30, 2013

April Visit

As the Program Coordinator, I visited Ningxia from April 18 to April 25, as below please kindly the detail report.

Regular Visiting Report

Visiting Date: April 18 to April 25, 2013

Attendee: April Lai, Bai Juhua (Our local coordinator)

 1.    Objectives of the Visit

  • Visit beneficiaries, update their current situation
  • Visit the three primary schools that France Hong Kong school will donate in June, confirm the itinerary of their trip

 2.    Main activities:

  • Conducted interview for 44 beneficiaries or their family members
  • Checked the road for the HK school’s itinerary-they are going to visit Lianhua Mountain after the donation
  • Visited two primary schools in Haiyuan county, which are: Mawan Primary School and Longchi Primary School
  • Visited one primary school in Tongxin county, which is Shengou Primary School

 3.    Achievements:

  • Beneficiaries Visiting

-            Those 44 beneficiaries include those with direct sponsor, supported by earthpluse, the status is suspend in WXS’s report, other beneficiaries not be visited more than one year

-            No. of beneficiaries visited every day

2013/4/19, visited 4 beneficiaries

2013/4/20, visited 12 beneficiaries

2013/4/21, visited 12 beneficiaries

2013/4/22, visited 8 beneficiaries

2013/4/23, visited 8 beneficiaries

-            Suggestion after visiting (Among those 44 beneficiaries)

Continue supporting: 29

Suspend the supporting because of uncomplete information: 2

Have already graduated from college: 3

Stop due to better condition or fake information: 9

  • Primary Schools Visiting

-            This year the France HK school decides to donate school uniforms and schoolbags to 660 students in 3 primary schools

-            3 schools basic information (Please refer to attachment)

4.    Next Action Plan

  • Visit other beneficiaries in June to have an whole update of all the current beneficiaries
  • France HK school will visit and donate to 3 schools in June, will accompany them to achieve this goals

5.   Others

  • During this trip, I found out that many beneficiaries are lacking learning skills; they spent lots of time on studying with low efficiency. Therefore, besides funding, we will spend more energy or time on promoting accurate learning skills.
  • During talking with the leader who is in charge of the education work of Huayuan county of 13 primary schools, they are really lack of English teachers, so they would like to know whether we can help them connect some volunteers, who would like to stay there for one month to one year train their teachers or give class to children

Jan 30, 2013

Our New Status

Dear Friends,

Wish you all Happy New Year. We have several things to update for last season.

Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself. I am April Lai, EdN’s new Program Coordinator, and I will replace our familiar friend Blandine Ricouart effective from January 2013. I am very excited to be part of EdN’s team, and I felt I had a long history with Ningxia. It was my volunteer experience guided me to Ningxia the first time; I stayed a month at Gugou Village, Xiji County in Year 2005, engaging with relevant field work including teaching, farming and research, where I had the chance to better understand the poverty situation of the community in Ningixa. There was a child I used to chat with. He passed the Chinese college entrance examination and was admitted to Beijing to study in Central University for Nationalities; it was very rare because that village only had one college student when we were there. Then he told me that my conversation with him encouraged him a lot. I still remember the excitement when I heard from him, as I didn’t think I contributed any value to the children apart from disturbing their peaceful life despite of the poverty. It was exact that experience motivated me to continue my career at Non-Profit sector in China. During last 2 years, I was working in a social enterprise, aiming to assist rural microfinance institutions so as to help poor rural farmers to get out of poverty, where I traveled to Ningxia frequently, most of time to Yanchi and Tongxin County. It felt like that I am deeply connected to Ningxia because now I have the opportunity to work for EdN to help children in Ningxia.

Then, I would like to share EdN’s achievement in last season.

The students of the French International School from Hong Kong arrived at Ningxia on June 18, 2012 and allocated the school materials to Tuochang and Wangwan primary school. They also met the families, shared lunch with them and participated in the morning exercise with the students of Tuochang School. In addition, they got the chance to learn more about Chinese history and culture by visiting Mao’s fort, ruins of the Haiyun’s earthquake or Liumiao’s Taoist temple.

In the coming season, I am beginning to organize my first trip to Ningxia for EdN with the association in order to meet the scholarship students and their families, to evaluate the current needs of the community in terms of education. I will come back to your very soon.