Mari Seto is an In-The-Field Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout China. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Ningxia, located Northwest of China:
In June, Enfants du Ningxia makes field trips to Ningxia, to interview applicants who applied for scholarships from their foundation. Out of 60 applicants who applied this year, 20 students will receive financial aid to help pay their tuition and living expenses. Ten scholarships will be awarded to those who pursue college education, and the other ten will be awarded to primary school students.
Charlene and I were fortunate to accompany Blandine and Heloise from Enfants du Ningxia, who were there to interview the applicants, and Bai Juhua, the local project coordinator who organized the interviews. We joined them in interviewing 15 students in small villages of Yuwang and Tongxin, located 3 hours from the capital of the prefecture. The first thing that struck us was how far apart the students' houses were: to go around the village, motorcycles were an absolute necessity, and when motorcycles weren't an option, we walked for miles. Blandine told us that some students walk two to three hours to go to school.
Once we arrived at applicants' houses, we were greeted warmly by the student and the family members. As the 30 minute interview progressed, we heard about many challenges that the families are facing: illness, heavy debt, family members moving away from home to work in factories, etc. At the same time, we were impressed by students' enthusiasm to continue studying. When asked what their aspirations for the future, many students answered teachers and doctors, although overwhelming majority of the boys answered policemen.
One of the students that we met greeted us with a "Hello!" which was a pleasant surprise for us. She applied for the scholarship to go to college to study English literature. Like many other students, her family also faces overwhelming challenges. A family member suffers from mental illness and her mother has a lung infection, so her father has to stay home to take care of the family. Her older sibling works in the city to send money home. I can't help but hope that despite her challenges, her dream of pursuing a career as an English translator will become true one day.
Now members of Enfants du Ningxia will go back to Beijing to make the difficult decision of who will receive financial aid. We wish them luck for the decision making process, and hope to visit again soon!
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