New Look of Village, Happy Growth of Children

Xiao Qiong is 15 years old. She is a ninth-grade student. She lives with her 7-year-old younger brother and her parents in a village about 10 kilometres from the county seat of Mashan. The village is in karst landscape, with mountains and rocks everywhere and little arable land, so 70% of the parents choose to go out for work. The arable land in the village mainly grows corn and rice.

Usually Xiao Qiong lives at school and goes home on weekends and holidays. There are three rooms of Xiao Qiong’s house, one is the kitchen, one has not been plastered and the rest is the bedroom for the whole family. Father is the main breadwinner in the family. He does some odd jobs nearby and works about 20 days a month, earning 80 yuan to 100 yuan per day. Mother is not very healthy and mainly cultivates some vegetables in the field and raises three cows and some chickens and ducks. Mother doesn’t know how to ride a motorcycle, so father has to pick up her younger brother from school. Since her father stops work earlier than other workers, certainly his income is also less.

With the poor lighting condition, Xiao Qiong had to open the desk lamp when she did her homework at the bedroom during the day.

To alleviate the economic difficulties of the villagers and meet the needs of production water in the community, World Vision cooperated with the Village Committee in 2007 to implement the Farm Irrigation Project in Xiao Qiong’s village. The project was completed in 2008 with a free investment more than RMB 1500,000 yuan by World Vision, and the villagers raised the supporting funds and volunteered to build an irrigation channel of 3,545 meters. In addition, World Vision donated a set of electrical farm irrigation equipment to the community. The project has solved the demand for irrigation water of more than 880 mu farmland in the village, thus ensuring a good harvest in agricultural production.

World Vision also helped the village to harden the village road and build the tractor road to facilitate going out and delivery of the agricultural products for the villagers. Xiao Qiong said: “I think the biggest change in our village is the road. Because it was used to be the dirt roads, they were very slippery when it rained and there was a lot of dust in dry days. Now cement road is everywhere in the village, and it’s convenient to get around.” World Vision has built 687 meters of cement road and 620 meters of tractor road in Xiao Qiong’s village.

Due to the natural features, Xiao Qiong’s village once encountered extreme difficulties in domestic water supply. So World Vision implemented a drinking water project in the village, laying water pipes from the hills to the farmer’s house. In the past, Xiao Qiong’s family needs to carry water from the water source 1000 to 2000 meters away. And six to eight buckets of water need to be carried for domestic use every day. Xiao Qiong’s father said: “now we don’t need to carry water anymore and we can use clean drinking water at home. It gives us more time and energy to work for money and spend time with children.”

In cooperation with the drinking water project, World Vision instructed the children and their caregivers the correct steps for washing hands and let them know the four critical moments (before eating and after toilet, before processing food, after handling the children’s butt, before feeding food) for washing hands and forming a good habit, so as to keep the children away from the invasion of the common infectious diseases (dysentery, etc.) and grow up healthy and strong.

In the bedroom, Xiao Qiong shown the poster with the correct steps of handwashing.

Xiao Qiong became a registered child when she was a fifth-grade primary school student. She said: “At that time, World Vision has built a canteen for our primary school. Before there was no canteen in the school, we all ate in our classroom. When the canteen was built, we had new tables and chairs and didn’t have to eat in the classroom anymore.” Now, Xiao Qiong is a middle school student. World Vision also launched the “May Fourth Youth Day” activities and “New Year” celebrations in her school to enrich the campus cultural life for the students.

In addition, World Vision has set up a Children’s Activity Centre in the village where Xiao Qiong lives and purchased the sports equipment such as basketball, skipping rope, shuttlecock, gobang, hula hoop, table tennis table and badminton racket, so that the children in the village have a safe activity place in their spare time. World Vision has also equipped the children's centre with books for the village children to read. Xiao Qiong said: “I like to come to the centre and read the books helpful for my study, such as the books on improving my writing skills, how to study effectively and the storybooks”. Before there was a children’s centre, Xiao Qiong and other children in the village had to stay at home.

On weekends, Xiao Qiong will take care of her younger brother and play with him.

Xiao Qiong (second left) played with her friends at the the Children’s Activity Centre.

In cooperation with LNGO, World Vision took the Children’s Activity Centre as a platform for safety and protection and carried out various kinds of activities to enrich the after-school life for the children in the village. Xiao Qiong is a big fan of the centre. She will come to the centre and participates in the activities on weekends and holidays when she is free. By participating in the safety education activities of the centre, Xiao Qiong mastered some safety knowledge such as do not swim alone in summer vacation; do not share a tricycle with several people; children under 16 shall not ride a motorcycle; do not go to a strange place and do not eat from strangers, etc.

“I learned how to deal with the negative emotions and found my own ways to deal with them. In the past, when I was in a bad mood, I would fall asleep. Now, if I’m not happy, I will talk to my friends. After sharing with my friends, I feel relaxed. Sometimes, I would go to the centre to play badminton or listen to some music to distract attention.” said Xiao Qiong. World Vision carried out life skills activity in the Children’s Activity Centre. Through the life skills education, Xiao Qiong learned how to get along better with herself.

Xiao Qiong (first left) participated in the safety education activity held at the centre.

To promote the parent-child relationship, World Vision organized some Parent-child activities at the centre. Xiao Qiong and her father took part in such activities for three times. They competed together, played three-legged game and cooperated to complete various game tasks. Her father said: “I take her and her brother to the centre for activities, so that they have the opportunity to exercise themselves and learn how to participate and organize activities and improve their abilities.”

Xiao Qiong’s father actively participated in the family education and training organized by World Vision in the centre. Through training, he learned how to communicate better with children. “I used to go home on weekends and had a quarrel with my brother, I would be scolded by my parents and requested to humour my brother. Now, if I quarrelled with my brother, my parents will say don’t quarrel, both of you have grown up. My communication with my parents is also better. Every time I go home, I will tell them something and share what happened at school.” said Xiao Qiong happily.

Xiao Qiong and her father participated in the parent-child activity.

In the eyes of her parents, Xiao Qiong is a sensible and clever child. Her mother shared a thing that touched her so much. On the New Year’s Eve of 2019, Xiao Qiong surprised the whole family. She took out the new shoes and clothes for her brother and she also prepared a pair of new shoes for her parents. Before that, her parents gave her 20 yuan pocket money every week, she was not willing to spend and quietly save them to buy the New Year gifts for her family. Her parents were very touched when they received the gift and her mother could not help but tear, feeling that the child is really warm-hearted.

Xiao Qiong will take the entrance examination for high school next June. “I hope I can go to the high school successfully and then enter college.” Xiao Qiong has set a clear direction for her future. (Written by Liao Haizhen from World Vision China)