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Dec 2, 2019

Ounpich is Cheerful, Resilient and Healthy

Fifty-year-old Ounpich is a gregarious person. She laughs throughout conversations and gestures confidently with her hands. Ounpich beams as she talks about her 27-year-old son. He studied management at a university in Phnom Penh and is now working for World Vision, the global Christian non-profit organization. She is extremely proud of him.

Ounpich mainly grows rice and raises chickens for her daily needs. Her cheerful exterior alone might never reveal the issues she encounters as a farmer in Cambodia during extreme seasons. She showed us how far the floodwater reaches by pointing to a spot on the stilts supporting her house — sometimes up to eight feet. When it floods, she cannot work in her fields. Consequently, Ounpich can go without an income for up to two months each year.

The harsh contrast to the flooding season is the drought that comes during the summer. Ounpich says the ground has been especially dry this year, and she must water the plants three times a day in order to keep them healthy. Besides working in the rice fields, she tends a personal garden behind her home, where she grows many more vegetables. She eats some of these herself, gives some to neighbors, and sells the rest, which earns her about 20,000 riels (about $5 USD) per day.

Ounpich has benefitted significantly from the BioSand Water Filter that CWEF provided to her. She uses the filtered clean water for daily drinking, cooking, cleaning, and brushing teeth. Ounpich’s health has improved greatly as she no longer gets ill from drinking unclean water. Using the BioSand Filter also frees up the time she used to spend each day collecting firewood to boil water from a nearby well so that it can be safely consumed. With overall improved health, Ounpich is better prepared to face the challenges of a farmer’s life.

Your generous contributions to this project make it possible for CWEF to renew health and hope for people like Ounpich who are facing the challenges of rural poverty.

In addition to the gift of Biosand Water Filters, CWEF trains families in proper maintenance of their filter, along with education on proper sanitation and hygiene, and its effect on disease prevention and overall health. With proper care and maintenance, each water filter can provide a family with clean water for more than 20 years.

In 2020, we hope to reach even more families in Ounpich’s community with the precious and transformative gift of clean water. A gift of just $25 provides clean water for one child, and $100 provides clean water for an entire family.

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Dec 2, 2019

Yufeng's Smile

Behind Yufeng’s smile is a story of rare hardships and also precious optimism. She is the eldest of four children, born to farmers in rural Yunnan province. Yufeng’s mother was injured in a traffic accident and cannot perform much manual labor. Additionally, her parents provide care for Yufeng’s grandparents.

At the age of eight, Yufeng began suffering from a rare and serious bone infection in her leg. Doctors recommended amputation, but her parents refused the advice and spent most of their scarce income on medical treatment to spare her leg. Yufeng’s medical challenges continued when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2011.

Yufeng shares, “Although my foot is disabled, I think my mind is important and I have a thankful heart.” She began High School in 2016, with the support of a CWEF scholarship, at the age of 23.

“My family is poor so I study harder than others. I want to change it. When I’m in trouble, I always face it bravely.”

Her strong spirit was tested again in 2018, when she underwent surgery on her leg to treat varicose veins, which caused her to repeat her second year of high school. Tragically, Yufeng underwent another surgery in 2019 to remove a portion of her lung, following a pulmonary infection.

In spite of everything she has been through, Yufeng has developed a wonderfully positive outlook on life.

“My life is full of sun. I will smile at everything. I think attitude is everything. I will never give up on my dream….in the future I want to become an English teacher.”

Yufeng wants to “change her frustration into wealth” and use the pain and difficulty she has experienced in the first part of her life to enrich her adult years.

Yufeng is grateful for the love and care that she received from CWEF, her teachers, classmates and others, many of whom fundraised online to help pay for her surgeries. She plans to graduate from High School in June 2020, at the age of 27. Without a doubt, her smile will continue to radiate hope and joy as she takes the next steps into pursuing her dream of becoming an English teacher.

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Your generous contributions to this project make it possible for CWEF to continue to renew hope for young people like Yufeng who are facing the challenges of rural poverty. Thank you!

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Sep 6, 2019

Reflections from REACH teacher training

At the end of May 2019, CWEF worked with two seasoned trainers from Hong Kong Lutheran Social Services (HKLSS) to run a REACH training workshop for 30 teachers at Leju High School in Zhaotong, Yunnan province. These are the teachers who work on a day-to-day basis to educate and equip the young women who are supported by CWEF’s High School Scholarship program at their school.

During this 3-day workshop, the trainers from HKLSS focused on concepts and methods related to experiential education, teamwork, cooperation, and adolescent psychology. The trained teachers will be able to use these new concepts and skills to enhance their support of CWEF’s High School Scholarship recipients.

Thank you for your generous gifts! You are making it possible for these young women to not only continue their education, but also to have their education enhanced through special workshop experiences like this one.

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Below are some reflections about the REACH workshop written by Hui, one of the participating teachers from Leju.

 

In the summer, Zhaotong's weather is quite unpredictable. When Xiaohui and Bobo (the HKLSS trainers’ Mandarin Chinese nicknames) arrived in Zhaotong together with CWEF staff Maggie and Jenny, the weather was starting to get cold. The four teachers showed up wearing thin summer clothes and worked so hard to bring us the REACH training workshop about experiential teaching methods, which moved and inspired all of us teachers here in Zhaotong. Allow me to share more of our experience with you:

 

Our principal Mr. Zhou Jinshao began by introducing the trainers:

“Teacher Xiaohui has come from afar and has a new teaching method to share with us.There's a new philosophy...”

Honestly, at the beginning, we were skeptical. We have been through a lot of training workshops before, and many of these lectures have started the same way.

Then we learned that Xiaohui and Bobo’s salaries are actually very low, but they have both been doing social work for ten years. And then Maggie and Jenny from CWEF said they also have been working in the social sector in Yunnan for more than ten years, too.

The weather was cold but their hearts were warm, and we were moved by their persistence and dedication. 

 

As the training program began, Xiaohui and Bobo first gave us an introduction to experiential teaching.

“Let's forget our jobs for a moment and let go of those heavy burdens for a while.”

To be honest, it’s usually very hard for someone to touch your heart when you meet them for the first time. 

But Xiaohui started off with a series of interactive activities with fun, exaggerated behaviors and flamboyant expressions, and everyone was brought in quickly to this new world of experiential teaching methods.

At that moment, we put down the heavy burdens we carry with us all the time and realized:

Life is so beautiful. We can actually relax and enjoy it for a while.

 

During the workshop, Xiaohui and Bobo first led us to design our own team flag, team name, and slogan. Everyone came up with their own ideas and provided valuable input for the team. Before we knew it, the colleague you were just meeting has become a friend.

Throughout the activities, we feel bad for the team's failure, and we applaud the team's success.

When all the teammates stood in a circle and were walking laps together, all of us were united, all hands were afraid to let go. At that moment, all the heartbeats were quietly beating together.

We are united.

Only when a team is united can it go farther and see higher.

 

On the third morning of the workshop, Xiaohui and Bobo led the group together to design and organize games for each team.

There were disputes over design, conflicts of opinion, and corrections to the plan along the way...

There were team members' collaboration, persistence, and efforts ...

We learned how to design games for use in our teaching and what to consider when designing a game, and how these games can make our work with students more effective and engaging.

In the process of playing, Xiaohui and Bobo turned complex theoretical knowledge into a meaningful learning experience.

It's a great lesson for us and it will improve our ability to positively impact the students we work with.

 

When the trainers come to Zhaotong next time, I hope the clouds will part and the sun will shine for them.

 

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- Written by Hui, Leju High School teacher

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