A Village In China

This series of photographs that appear in the following have been spreading like wildfire on the Chinese BBS forums.  It is difficult to figure out what the original story was.  As far as I can tell, this is a photographic record made by a NGO group which visited a remote village in which they had made donations to enable children to attend schools.  This will make your heart bleed.

On one side, there is the grinding, heartbreaking poverty that affects large numbers of Chinese peasants.  On the other side, there are many overseas people who are deeply sympathetic and would like to help.  The amount of resources required to get this particular village is not much for someone who lives in North America or Europe.  The problem lies in the difficulty in connecting the two sides together.  

There is a Chinese government-sponsored Project Hope (希望工程) for this specific purpose, but it has the tainted reputation of being a nest of corruption.  Now that is the real tragedy.  This is not a uniquely Chinese problem, as I would recommend anyone who contributes to an American charity cause should look carefully at the percentage that 'administrative overhead' takes up or the salary of its CEO.  So how is an American going to find a random peasant village in China and see that the money gets there to do some good?

My sorrow was doubled when I read Conspicuous Consumption in China.  Or was that chagrin?

The standard route is more than 40 kilometers in distance, but the short cut is only 10 kilometers;
we took the shortcut carefully, but we still blew a car tire on a rock

The village of Miao homes

A school building and playground

Children line up for school

On the first day of school, the village leader noted that the little boy on the right did not have a name.
He was then given the name of Liu Mengbin.

The boy lives under this roof with his father, grandmother and four older brothers

The boy's father hauls coal back to the the hosue

8-year-old Luo Yuyao had never attended school before

Inisde the home of 7-year-old Lee Gui

8-year-old Wang Feijun stays home to help

6-year-old Yang Gui (on the left) hopes to attend school some day

"I love my home"

"I love my home"

A required lesson is how to do farming

The value of life

Liu Xiangli's household; father deceased, one younger brother

Five-year old boy with no given name, living with father and older brother in an earthern home

The uncle of the children returns with his load

Two girls have not money to attend school, so they stay home and work

13-year-old Luo Zimin hunches her back as if she is still carrying the basketload

12-year-old Luo Zijin has never been down from the mountains

14-year-old Yang Puijin and 13-year-old Ynag Puifei are happy to hear that they can attend school

The children's father is happy too

14-year-old Yang Puizi's father is dead and mother has re-married

7-year-old Li Hongyan has four elder sisters and two younger brothers;
she stays at home to take care of her brothers

A whole family stays in his one dimly lit house

The sweetness and bitterness of life in Dashui Village

7-year-old Yang Jiamei does whatever is possible around the household

She has one elder brother, three elder sisters and two younger sisters;
since her parents only make about 1,000 yuan per year, they cannot afford to let her attend school

8-year-old Wang Lixia carries her baby sister on her back

8-year-old Wang Lixia and 10-year-old Wang Yuxin are happy that they can go to school

The Wang' sisters' father is happy too

Yang Yinfu and his two partners must haul more than two tons of coal from the 100+ meter deep coal mine every day

The thank-you note to the visitors