Changes to our Angel Training Center

This week we are featuring a letter from our founder and President with regards to some shifts at our Beijing location, the Angel Training Center.  Please read and let us know in the comments if you have any questions!

To Our Donors,

Over the last ten years, Living Hope International has provided a brighter future to over a hundred Chinese children thanks to the generous support provided by people like you.  As we continue to develop and shift the functioning of our programs, we want to make sure you remain informed about all that is happening in China.

 

   As you know, we run our Angel Training Center out of Fangshan, a district of Beijing city.  We initially cared for children from the Beijing area, and then branched out to providing residential care to children from rural Shanxi province, a few hours west of the city.  Last year, new government policies were enacted to relax certain household registration policies as well as initiate population control in the capital.  Part of this policy involves registration for schools and the eligibility of out-of-province children for enrolling in Beijing’s public school system.

 

   At the time of this policy being enacted, all our children in the Angel Training Center were residents of Shanxi.  Our children were able to finish the semester in spring 2014, and returned in fall 2014 as we had hoped rolling out of the policy would still allow for us to find a solution for our children’s school enrollment.  While they were able to attend the first month of school in Beijing city, during National Week holiday in the beginning of October, the initialization had completed and our children, as orphans without Beijing residency, could no longer attend school in Beijing.

 

   During National Week, our children returned home to Shanxi to spend time with their living relatives, either grandparents, aunts and uncles, or foster families, while we investigated next steps.  I personally travelled to China and along with Li Chen, the Angel Training Center headmaster, pursued solutions.

 

Ultimately, our children have no possibility of becoming eligible for schooling in Beijing.  Because of this we began to look within Shanxi, and after finding the top-rated elementary and middle schools in the province met with the leaders of said schools and arranged for all our residential children to be enrolled there.  Following arranging enrollment, we found a location to rent, allowing for our children to again live together in large family units as previously modeled in the Fangshan Angel Training Center.

 

   Mr. Chu, a long-term advisor of Living Hope International in China, will be joining as the full-time headmaster of this new location while Li Chen remains in Beijing.  We will also maintain an office in Beijing, with a small staff overseeing the Beijing residency-holding young adults who still live and work there.

 

   The transition out of Beijing has not been ideal, however we are happy with the end results.  None of the children in our care would have ever been considered for inclusion in these top Shanxi schools prior to us taking them in.  We can see the difference already made in their lives, and trust that being closer to their traditional homes while still being challenged academically will allow for them to reach an even higher plain of academic achievement, becoming the leaders we believe they can become.

 

   Again, thank you for your long-standing support of Living Hope International and all we do.  Without the love of people halfway across the world, our children would have never found a chance like this.  As we look forward to helping more children in the next decade of Living Hope International, we are grateful to have you walking alongside us.

 

Sincerely,

Samuel Fang

Founder and President, Living Hope International

The neighborhood surrounding our new facility.

The neighborhood surrounding our new facility.

 

The building we are now located in.

The building we are now located in.

One of the bedrooms within our location.

One of the bedrooms within our location.

A classroom in our new location.

A classroom in our new location.

All This Teen Wants is to Go to School.

As we prepare a program to reach out into rural areas, Project Hope, details of which will soon be available online and off, we wanted to take a moment to introduce a child who will benefit from rural outreach.

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Rural orphans are a class of child overlooked by government programs and the vast majority of international aid work.  Since these children often live in difficult-to-reach areas and even more often have a confused background, referring to uncles and aunts or parents’ friends as ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’, they are hard to identify and hard to establish firm relationships with.  Near our Fuzhou home, in the rural area of Shunchang (where the arrow is pointing in the map above), we have identified a group of children who are orphaned or living in single-parent homes where a parent cannot care for them (due to disability).  These children are often high-achieving and intelligent, but unable to reliably attend school or even be able to consider attending high school due to the cost related to China’s compulsory public education.

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One such child is Hu Qiuying – her last name is Hu, pronounced “who”, and her first name is Qiuying, pronounced “ch-yo ing”.  Now seventeen years old, Qiuying has long lived with a foster father whose name she took when she was taken in shortly after birth after her biological mother died.  This man, Hu Dalong, is a mute farmer who earns about 300 yuan per month, depending on the season, which equates to around 50 USD.  Their spending is all focused on two things – Hu Dalong’s bedridden father and Qiuying’s school expenses.  However since there is no definitive amount of money the family can rely on, often they have to either forego buying textbooks, school supplies, or the grandfather’s medicine in favor of purchasing food or other necessities.

Qiuying is currently the seventh-highest ranked student in her entire grade, of several hundred students, placing her in the top 1% of high school students in her county.  The burden of attending high school is far higher than when she was in middle school, and even this upcoming semester is uncertain if she will be able to continue attending.  Qiuying works very hard in school, and explained tearfully to a Living Hope representative that she just wanted to be able to reach her goals and not have to drop out of school and become a farmer with her foster father.  One of our staff members stayed with Qiuying for several hours to discuss her future and what she hoped for and what we could assist her with.  The girl continually went back to the same sentence, poignant to hear from a teenager: “I just want to go to school.”

During National Week this year, a holiday we discussed earlier this month, Qiuying traveled from her hometown to our home in Fuzhou.  She received some special tutoring from college professors who have relationships with our home, and spent time living in a full family unit, with Mr. and Mrs. Yang, our director, and their three children.  She was overjoyed to be able to focus on doing school and having some fun in a city, very different from her rural home, and her grades benefited greatly, already, from the tutoring.  Now back in her hometown, Qiuying has regular contact with our staff and volunteers, and looks forward to coming back one day.

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You are the difference between Qiuying finishing high school and Qiuying dropping out to become a farmer.

We have dozens of other children, in Fujian and Shanxi province, who we’ve also vetted for Project Hope, and we will soon be unveiling further information about how you can assist children like Qiuying who are currently without hope.