[For more stories check Student Successes]
Here are some brief extracts from the stories of three of our young people to warm your heart in the new year.
Alpha Communities has supported Gaji's family in educating a family member since 2005. The family lives in Maixi and has an annual income is about RMB 2000 (US$300). They have sold yaks periodically to help meet the costs of education and health (by far the biggest drains on the resources of the poor in China). It is Gali's fourth year’s study in Northwest University for Nationalities where she majors in physics, studying in both Chinese and Tibetan languages. She is a hard working student who achieves good results. However this year she has suffered from heart disease and has had a major operation. Even so she has returned to her studies and works hard.
Ba is from Donglie. His family has 5 mu (less than one acre) of land on which to subsist and they are burdened with the repayment of a loan of RMB 15,000 for medical bills (for a brother who had a serious disease). However Ba's father now has work as a driver which has helped greatly, though the family must pay off the vehicle. Ba is studying at Southwest University for Science and Technology, majoring in English and has been supported by Alpha Communities since 2007. At the end of this semester, he began an internship with a company selling Tibetan handicrafts. He has been to Hong Kong, Italy and Germany with his work team, doing marketing and sales. He is a capable scholar who received an offer of master's study from a university in Australia, but he decided not to go there as he was not eligible to apply for a full scholarship this year and this is beyond Alpha's scope. Perhaps next year.
Wang is from AbaPrefecture and is in Grade 1 at Lower Middle School. Her family is amongst the poorest we work with, having an annual income of around 1000RMB (US$1600) a year. We hope that our involvement in the life of this student will help her family to break out of the cycle of poverty and, in the future, provide opportunities for her to improve the situation of her family and her village. Alpha started sponsoring Wang in 2007. Her father is disabled so he cannot work. Her mother has rheumatism. Despite these hardships the wider family was able to pay her education costs last semester and did not require support from Alpha communities for the semester. This cooperation to meet actual needs is encouraging for us. There is not generally the entitlement mindset amongst the people we work with which is sometimes seen in the West.
Connecting with local friends!
From the Office (spring 2013)
Spring is the time of year for thankfulness and gratitude, for family, friends, recreation and recharging. It offers the chance for reflection, for considering our place in the world and our contribution to it. It also gives us an opportunity to plan for the future, however tentatively. So we are grateful to all who continue to stand and work with us, for your ongoing thoughts and support, for your selfless consideration of others and your willingness to "put legs" to this.
As I reflect on this period of consolidation, I feel blessed. We have been able to continue to support all the 90+ individual students and their families to whom Alpha Communities has made sponsorship commitments, and also to make contributions regarding some extraordinary needs these children and young people have had along the way. We even found a few who had "disappeared" during the disruptions in the North and have also maintained local contact networks. We have tidied up the legal and administrative position of the Hong Kong company out of which Alpha Sichuan is based. We successfully concluded three projects which had begun before my arrival - a yak bank in Tangke, hot water reticulation systems in Santai and sports equipment in Chaping - and signed off the final earthquake-related expenditures and report. In the past year we have also managed to maintain a balanced budget. This has been accomplished with financial and prayer support from all the home boards in Holland, USA, the UK and Germany, and supporters in Switzerland and New Zealand. You have all contributed. Thank you!
CDIS Event A big thank you to our friends at Chengdu International School https://cdischina.com/en/ for their continuing support. We spend another enjoyable day visiting with them recently, enjoying their students and having some fun with balloon races and quizzes while feeding back on their sponsored students and hopefully challenging and inspiring one another. They certainly blessed us. But we forgot the camera! Thanks again CDIS!
It's a very special event when one of "our" students completes their educational life. We feel privileged to have been able to participate in this process. Congratulations to Ta'ermu!
A number of us from Alpha Communities Sichuan, visited the Chengdu International School (CDIS) early in 2012, to raise awareness of student sponsorship undertaken by Alpha in Sichaun and to participate in a fundraising venture run by the school.
Student sponsorship is a long term commitment to children in poor families (with an annual income of under $US300) in poor rural areas of Sichuan province. Alpha Communities sponsors students from such families (one student per family), funding all their education and associated costs from Primary School to the end of university. In this way the poverty cycle is well and truly broken in the poorest households in poor areas.
However, education is expensive in China and also inevitably involves children boarding at schools from quite an early age. Thus our comprehensive commitment is an expensive long term investment for Alpha Communities. CDIS is one of the organisations which partners with us in this endeavour, sponsoring four students.
On this occasion at CDIS two Alpha sponsored students, one studying mechanical science and the other studying to be a legal secretary in Chengdu, helped us. They told their stories and from their success promoted sponsorship for other, younger Alpha Communities students.
We also ran a tsampa making and eating competition.
Tsampa is a traditional Tibetan convenience food made from roasted barley flour mixed with tea (normally yak butter tea). It tastes nothing like McDonalds! And that’s where we took our girls for dinner after the event – so you can see what my taste buds prefer!
Nevertheless, it was great fun, as can be seen from the photographs, and CDIS was later able to raise 10,354.5 RMB towards their sponsored students.
If you would like to be involved in student sponsorship or find out more, contact us using the Sichuan link below (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also get me directly via email@example.com.
Peter Dobbs, Company Director
I often find in Christmas a strange sense of dissonance, of contradictory juxtapositions: the joy of being with family, yet the inevitable pain of being separated from others we love; a sense of gratitude for tasks completed and worthwhile things accomplished, but a daunting awareness of what is yet to be done; the satisfaction of rich food and friendly fellowship and an awareness of those in want.
Alpha Communities has enjoyed a year of some successes but continues to have challenges. Thank you for your support and for sharing the contradictions of simultaneous success and challenge with us. In particular, I have been impressed with the value of student sponsorship - but it is our biggest burden and liability as well. Education continues to give the highest return on investment for impact on lives and families, but the cost of that investment increases every year as the students succeed and graduate to higher levels of learning - with higher costs.
The gift of an education is not as fast or as easy as gifting a yak or library books or a solar shower, but the effect on the lives of the students and their families lasts a lifetime. So if you are moved to share the challenge of student sponsorship with us in particular, or generally to contribute financially, you know what to do. Contact details
Best wishes to you and yours,
Peter Dobbs, Company Director