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Ting Ting's Story
This is Ting Ting, a student in third grade LOVES to read. We met her during EFA’s 2019 trip to DaGouYan village. However, we realized that the severely underfunded education system in rural China is unable to provide quality education, as the local school lacks a curriculum beyond Chinese and Math. By surviving on subsistence farming, Ting Ting’s family is also unable to support her academic goals. After Ting Ting graduates in grade 6, she would not be able to attend high school and would have to stay home to help her family on the farm. Dedicated to promoting educational equity, EFA provides English lessons that allow Ting Ting and her peers to communicate and interact with the world outside of her local village. With our funds, EFA also provides students like Ting Ting with STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS to continue their education beyond elementary school. We will greatly appreciate your support in our mission to help children like Ting Ting. Please spread the word of our operations or donate to our cause and help us educate more children.
Ye Baolong — Yesterday’s struggles, tomorrow’s hope
Fourteen years ago, nestled in the mountainous south eastern region of rural China, in a small, quiet village, the wailing of a newborn girl could be heard. Her name is Ye Baolong (叶宝龙). It was that same year that Ye’s mother left and never returned home. In the crumbling building Baolong and her family have been calling home, sit her elderly grandmother, three sisters and father with medication in hand. Her father suffers from the same illness that took her grandfather’s life only years prior, thrombosis; a condition that creates blood clots in blood vessels and veins disrupting regular blood circulation. Totalling over 200,000 yuan in operation fees for Ye’s father’s Thrombosis — in addition to the constant fee for medication — her family still relies on him and Ye’s elderly grandmother to tend to the fields all-year-round for a living. Recently, in hopes of creating an easier life for themselves, the family borrowed thousands of yuan in order to operate a lottery shop. Growing up watching her ill father and elderly grandmother tend to fields day after day, Baolong became a determined and hardworking student with high hopes to pursue her education and one day pull her family out of poverty. Those hopes would begin to flourish on a regular school day when a change came into Ye’s life ーthe Education For All Foundation’s English Education Program would be partnering with her school, Yanglin Primary School in Pengzhai Village. As an opportunity arose to build English skills to better her future, Baolong was excited. Replacing the heavily accented teacher who lectured on about out-dated terms are our bilingual North American volunteer teachers. Our English Education program is designed to develop reading, writing, speaking and listening skillsーthe four branches of language learningーin order for us to help prepare Baolong for her future in the ever changing urban job market. Take a look at one of our lessons at Yanglin Primary School for yourself! Despite the hardships Baolong and her family have faced, she still smiles and laughs with every intention of making her future her own. Especially on June 1st, Children’s Day, the once quiet village erupts with the sound of childhood laughter with Baolong and her three sisters enjoying their childhood, while their grandmother takes the time that day to prepare vegetables the children dislike into various shapes. Soon Baolong will be leaving EFA’s partner school and will be heading off to bigger places. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of EFA and Ye’s relationship, with your help we can continue to support Baolong on her journey to success! Figure 1: A class of students at Yanglin Ai Xin Primary School who EFA's teachers see every week for English lessons. If you want to help Baolong build her future and achieve her full potential, donate today to improve internet connections in her school and help provide the shipment of educational resources from technology to textbooks. All donations will go towards providing our partner schools and students with supplies to improve education quality and funding years of tuition for impoverished students. Students like Baolong would not be able to achieve their full potential and build their best future without your help. Donate today via our Global Giving page and join us in our mission to provide Education For All. You can also join us in our operations to achieve Education For All as a volunteer by applying for our open positions at https://www.efaglobal.org/apply-now.
Why Education is Crucial to Alleviating Poverty
Thanks for reading! This is part 1 of 3 infographics of our first series, which will tackle the relationship between education and poverty. We are posting these to encourage you to question the way that we are educated and to send a message out to the world about the education system. Help us out by sharing this infographic!
May Volunteers of the Month
For the month of May, we have two Volunteers of the month, Jessie and Annabelle! Jessie has been volunteering with EFA for close to a year. She displayed outstanding enthusiasm and dedication as both a teacher and a curriculum maker. Her growing confidence in the classroom not only encouraged students to participate, but also made challenges such as wifi problems quicker and easier to overcome. Jessie's continued excellence in making lesson plans continued even when she was a part of both the curriculum and teaching team, making her an essential member of the EFA community and a much deserved Volunteer of the Month! Ever since Annabelle joined EFA over a year ago, she has shown remarkable dedication to her work as a member of both the marketing and teaching team. She is an eager learner, evident in her ability to quickly tackle a brand new design software (shoutout to @ryanhuangg for the crash course). As a natural team player, she is genuine and down to earth, often coming forward with her ideas for how the group can improve, while being open-minded and receptive to feedback from others. She is always willing to put in the time to perfect her designs, and has spent hours making small but impactful alterations to elements like background color and character spacing; no matter how seemingly tiny the detail is, she is on it. Thank you, Annabelle, for your patience, creativity, and unwavering commitment. You are undoubtedly a valuable part of the EFA community. We really appreciate all the hard work that all our volunteers invest into EFA, and our monthly spotlight is an opportunity for us to really recognize and appreciate a select few volunteers for the dedication and passion they show for us. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for next month!
Mengxin's Hidden Mangoes
Fan Mengxin and her family’s challenges can be seen in this scenario: having to hide mangoes from her siblings so she can have them. Like any other 9-year-old girl, Fan Mengxin from Jiangxi, China aspires to live a typical life with her parents and family: waking up to an appetizing meal, coming home from school to watch television, celebrating festivals with new clothes. However, the poverty of her village, situated in the rural agricultural domains of Jiangxi, leaves her father without work and unable to support Mengxin in how he might have wished. This led him to move to an entirely different city, away from Mengxin’s grandparents, siblings and herself, making them a few of the 70 million children in rural China who have been separated from their parents. Growing up without a father figure, Mengxin and her siblings have to teach themselves such values as discipline and integrity. Due to his work, he never had any time to visit home, though he often talked to them over the phone. This left Mengxin’s grandparents the ones to take care of her and her two older brothers. In Mengxin’s poverty-ridden village, Mengxin’s family struggles to afford sufficient food for all. One of the memories that Mengxin holds most dear to her is when her grandmother bought mangoes and hid it from her brothers so she could have them all, revealing just how precious food is to someone in rural China compared to people living in first-world-countries. With the lack of funds, her family is also unable to bear the expense of healthcare. As seniors, her grandparents become more frail and weak. Whereas a typical 9-year-old would be having fun with their friends, in contrast, Mengxin studies and studies, in hopes that she will one day be able to provide for her family. Mengxin currently studies at Yang Lin Ai Xin Primary School, a school in which our English Education team teaches at. Following EFA’s curriculum taught by our teachers, Mengxin is able to learn English by improving on her speaking, reading and listening skills. With these life-long language skills, she’ll be able to expand her horizon of careers and work more efficiently, striving towards achieving her goal of providing for her family in the future. To help support underprivileged students like Mengxin, consider donating to our financial support funding program or becoming part of our organization! These donations will go into providing classroom technology, resources and scholarships to underprivileged students in their journey to pursue higher education. Our team is also currently looking for volunteers to teach, mentor, and lead life-changing initiatives! Apply at www.efaglobal.org/apply-now!
Gender Disparity in Education and in the Workforce
Thanks for reading! This is part 3 of 3 infographics of our third series, which will be covering diversity in education. We are posting these to encourage you to question the way that we are educated and to send a message out to the world about the education system. Help us out by sharing this infographic!
Exploring the Solutions for Education Inequality
Thanks for reading! This is part 3 of 3 infographics of our first series, which will tackle the relationship between education and poverty. We are posting these to encourage you to question the way that we are educated and to send a message out to the world about the education system. Help us out by sharing this infographic!
July Volunteers of the Month
Read to learn about our two volunteers of this month, Eecho Yuan and Emily Ing! Although Eecho only joined the EFA team two months ago, she has quickly grown from her initial role as a graphic designer to becoming part of the teaching, promotional, wechat, website, and logistics teams. Her commitment is not only evident in the breadth of her involvement, but also in the remarkable effort she puts into each of her roles; she always gives her all. She is an incredibly talented designer, always thinks outside of the box when brainstorming and creating content, and never hesitates to contribute her ideas or lend a helping hand to her teammates. Eecho is an integral part of every team she is involved with, and truly someone who we are lucky to work with. Emily is also a volunteer who puts her heart into her work. She is able to channel her natural talent for writing into consistently creating impactful content that effectively conveys and forwards EFA’s mission. Over the past month, she has worked tirelessly as part of the website, promotional, and educational content team in writing and directing engaging materials pivotal to our operations. She excels as a collaborative and ever-reliable teammate––she is always on top of it. For these reasons, Emily is a well-deserved volunteer of the month, and we are so excited to see what she creates next!
Taking the First Step: Introducing EFA’s ESL Program
Almost 3 years since our founding, all of our programs have been directed towards alleviating poverty in rural communities. While poverty isn't unique to geographic locations, we have never targeted students outside of Asian farming villages. So we are excited to announce the planned launch of our ESL program (English as a Second Language) this September 2021-2022 school year, which will target foreign middle and high school students studying in the Greater Toronto Area. But this initiative cannot be credited to our executives or leads but rather from Teo Meng, a curriculum design volunteer and incoming Grade 11 student who brought us the idea in April. He was in the Ontario ESL system himself, being taught by teachers who have never learnt a second language themselves. While Teo has now entered the normal English stream of classes, many of his peers continue falling further behind native speakers. The shortcomings of North America's ESL programs are not a secret. There is a long history of discrimination and violence due to language differences, which has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic in issues such as Asian hate. In everyday life, immigrants must navigate unconscious biases and prejudices against their accents – assuming they were even taught the language. So back in April, Teo called for a meeting and urged several EFA executives to start creating a program that addresses the core issues facing his peers. Alex Hu, our Executive Director, told him, "Why don't you build it yourself?" Ever since then, Teo has been recruiting a team to build the program, which will utilize peer teachers who are currently learning second languages themselves - a cornerstone of EFA's operation. He has already gathered a focus group that will beta test the program throughout the summer, until the official launch next school year. We highly commend Teo for his will to create change. While success is never guaranteed, Teo has created an opportunity to try. Many students already know the ESL program needs adjustment, but Teo took the first step towards making a change by creating a plan and advocating for his ideas. He exemplifies that the only way that we, as students, can change the system is when more of us step up and take action towards the issues we are passionate about. All of EFA's leaders are incredibly proud of Teo's proactiveness, and we look forward to seeing the seeds he plants now bear fruit in September.
April Volunteer of the Month
The volunteer of April is Ryan Huang! Ryan has been a diligent and committed volunteer ever since he joined EFA. Even though he only heard about EFA at the start of the school year, he has since contributed greatly to our success. Ryan has been a valuable member of the Curriculum Team, helping us develop the curriculum in time for the start of our Chongqing branch.
For the last month, Ryan has also been patiently redesigning and revising our website! Ryan communicated effectively with the executives and fulfilled their requirements while maintaining EFA quality. As the anonymous writer of this article and the previous website designer, I can proudly say that our new website is a significant improvement over the old one. Ryan is now working in the Marketing Team on new exciting projects. We’re looking forward to seeing more of his creations in EFA!
Educational Disparity & Development in China
Thanks for reading! This is part 2 of 3 infographics of our first series, which will tackle the relationship between education and poverty. We are posting these to encourage you to question the way that we are educated and to send a message out to the world about the education system. Help us out by sharing this infographic!
The Progressive Approach to Education
Read the rest on this topic here! Thanks for reading! This is part 2 of 3 infographics of our second series, which will be covering different approaches to education. We are posting these to encourage you to question the way that we are educated and to send a message out to the world about the education system. Our next infographic will be put out next week. Help us out by sharing this infographic!