Huaibei Nutrition Program Update

We have wonderful news about the progress being made at Huaibei and the changes to come! Firstly, the children are all moved in to the new facility. With more space, there is now an onsite medical clinic, physical therapy facility, recreation center, better equipment, and advanced supplies. Senior citizens share the neighboring complexes and in the open area between the buildings there is a garden, children’s playground, and a cement walkway for residents of all ages to enjoy. The new facility offers the children happier and healthier lives.

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Another major change in this program is the shift from providing formula to vitamins. In the past few years the Chinese government has increased the allowances that the institute receives and there has been an overwhelming amount of local contributions throughout major national holidays (Children’s Day, The National Day, and the Chinese New Year) from both individuals and businesses. These changes has allowed the orphanage to be able to consistently provide the children with formula. We are so thrilled to see such a change in local support and lack of dependency by the orphanage over the years. However, even though this program has been a huge success, we have identified additional nutritional needs and for this reason we will now be supplying the children with daily doses of children’s vitamins after having such high success and lab results from the previous vitamin fundraiser. Be on the lookout for photos of the first shipment delivery!

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If you would like to help us provide these amazing children with ongoing nutritional support, we welcome you to become a sponsor. http://www.angelcovers.org/our-programs/nutrition/huaibei/

Hank and Ava update

Hank and AvaKids 1 are now on summer break from school but not slowing down! They spend their days together at home and in the evenings they have been enjoying time with other children by visiting the orphanage. They are anxiously awaiting their travel date (hopefully in latKids 4e August) and looking forward to joining their family soon. The continue to grow and are developmentally on track.  At four years of age, they are keenly aware of We are all very happy for these two children and hope to bring two more out of the orphanage and into a loving home as soon as Hank and Ava join their family. If you would like to help make a difference in the lives of children like Hank and Ava please consider donating to the Angel Covers program. Learn more at www.angelcovers.org!

 

 

More Yaks

Today we visited a village school in a remote area of Qinghai Province. 238 students from kindergarten through primary school attend this boarding school, and the school has fourteen formal teachers and five temporary teachers. The students all come from nomadic families, so they stay at the school fophoto 10r fourteen days in a row and then go home for four days. The school doesn’t own any yaks, but it does own a lot of grassland. They rent the land to a family with yaks who also have two children attending the school. We were able to buy a total of eleven yaks for this school from two different families who have children at the school, and now all of the school children will have fresh milk tea every morning. photo 15They will also get to have butter, cheese, and yogurt. It’s great knowing that we will be helping local families in addition to the school. The two schools we visited and bought yaks for this year have other needs as well; they’ve both asked for winter coats, shoes, and sleeping mats for some of the children whose families can’t afford to pay for them. We hope to be able to help both of these schools in the future with their other needs.

Angela

 

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Yaks in Xibosha town

Today we visited a school in Xiboshphoto 1a town in Zeku County. This is a boarding school for students from kindergarten through primary school. Approximately 400 students live and study at the school. The school is in a very poor area of Zeku, where there is less land available to share among more people. Because of this, there are fewer yaks and sheep for the nomads to own. Additionally, no caterpillar fungus can grow in this area, so the families don’t have this option to supplement their income. Besides Tibetan, math, science, and reading, the school begins teaching Mandarin at Grade 1 and English at Grade 3. We visited the family of two of the students who own yaks, and we bought a total of 16 yaks from them (8 mature yaks, 3 young yaks, and five babies). In the future, the school and the the person who will be caring for the yaks will each keep half of the babies.

Because the school is filled with children from nomadic families, their school schedule is for the students to spend twenty days at the school, photo 5learning each day, and then go home for ten days. It’s too far for the children to commute to school every day, particularly when their families travel in the region with the yaks that they own. During the twenty days that the children at school, they will be able to have yak milk tea every day. While they are away for ten days, the milk will be turned into cheese, butter, and yogurt for them to have once they return. It’s a great way for the children to be able to have several different foods from the yaks.

It’s great to know that another school will benefit from our Yak nutrition program, and we love watching the project expand with each trip we make to the region.

Angela photo 2

Introducing Zhaxi Cuo

Zhaxi is currently attending Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing. A graduate of the Tongren School in Qinghai, Zhaxi did well enough on her college entrance exams to be accepted to this international school far away from her home village. Zhaxi is studying business administration management, but she really wants to become an English teacher at a middle school in Tongren once she graduates. She came to SISU because it is a school known for having excellent teachers for foreign languages, and she wantephotod to study English from the best university possible to help her become a great English teacher one day. Zhaxi just finished her first year at the university, and after taking a four-day English intensive course in early July, she will return home to Tongren for the summer.

We were fortunate to have a one-day layover in Chongqing between visits to our Kangding School and the Mama’s Wish students in Qinghai, so we were happy to meet Zhaxi and take her to lunch earlier today. Zhaxi is already a very good English speaker, and needed very little translation help from Jixian, our China education director. She told me that the first year of college was very difficult for her, because she speaks the Amdo dialect of Tibetan and most of the Tibetan students at this university speak the Kham dialect. It was also difficult for her to make friends, and she was quite lonely during the first few months. I suspect culture shock also contributed to her unease; Chongqing is such a huge city by comparison to her tiny village outside of Tongren. She told me that she prefers living at home, because at home she can look up and see the big blue sky whenever she wants, she can see the grasslands all around her, and she can be with her younger sister and help take care of her.

After a few months, she was able to make friends, and classes became easier for her as she adjusted to the academic rigor of attending such a great university. Now she is happy to be at college, but also looks forward to going home for the summer. Zhaxi is such a brave young woman to move so far away from home, all alone, with no friends or family around her to provide support, yet she has found a way to make it work for her and is happy to be here. I’m so glad that I was able to meet Zhaxi during this trip, and I hope to see her again on my next trip.

Angela

Mama’s Wish Visit

Our high school students from the Jianzha School met us for lunch at a local restaurant. They had just come from school, where they had received their scores on college entrance exam. They had also filled out their college applications, and each student chose two universities for possible consideration. Some were happy with their scores and eager to find out if their top choice university would accept them, and others were disappointed and not as hopeful that they would make it into their first choice university. It was a photo 1lunch filled with mixed emotions from the students, but they all seemed glad to be in a supportive environment with their friends who were going through the same thing. After lunch some of the students sang traditional songs, and they were all so happy to receive letters of encouragement from their sponsors and/or handmade cards. After reading each letter and card, they passed the cards back and forth so that everyone could read the cards that had been made for them. It’s so nice to see how these girls have grown over the years and knowing that they have completed their high school education. Even those who choose not to continue to college will have a much better chance of getting a good job in town or in their home village, now that they have a high school diploma.

photo 30The next day we met with students from the Tongren area. Dozens of senior two and senior three students came to enjoy lunch, which had been set up in a large tent at an outdoor restaurant in town. The senior two students are in the middle of final exams this week, so we did not keep them long. After having lunch, receiving their cards and letters, and having their photos taken, we asked that they be allowed to go back to school because they had more exams to take the following day, and we didn’t want to interfere with their studies. The senior three students stayed longer, and had fun singing and dancing after lunch. Like the students at the Jianzha School, these senior three students had also just received their Gaokao scores and had applied for college. Most will find out if and where they will be going to college sometime in August. We wish the best for our senior two students who are taking final exams, and for our senior three students as they wait to find out what their future holds.photo 21

Angela

Attention friends of Humble Hearts! Worldreader, the organization supplying the new ereaders for Humble Hearts (with the financing of wonderful sponsors!) is having a sale.   For every African storybook that is ordered,Ereader 1 at $1 US dollar each, they will donate one International book to the school free.

 

The ordering deadline is July 31, so we will need a quick response from friends of Humble Hearts. At that price, though, we can underwrite the purchase of many many books to be added to the new readers!   Please use the Colorado Gives donation site below and put EREADER BOOK DRIVE in the special instructions. Even just 5 or ten dollar donations will add up quickly and not take funds away from other school expenses, in order for Humble Hearts to take advantage of this sale. Can you help? SEreader 3pread the word and share this on your own, if you feel led to do so. Thank you!!

 

https://www.coloradogivEreader 2es.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=27239

http://www.angelcovers.org/2014/07/3421/

Introducing the Sambhota Primary School and Orphanage

DSC_0118One of my favorite projects at Angel Covers is our Yak Project. Since its inception we’ve been able to purchase hundreds of yaks for thousands of Tibe tan students in Qinghai and Sichuan. A few weeks ago we learned about the Sambhota Primary School and Orphanage, which is located at an altitude of 13,000 feet on the Tibetan high plateau, in Dzogchen, Ganzi County, Sichuan Province.

It is the only school in the region, and it is often out of reach for children whose families are often one or two days distant. Also, most nomad and farmer families simply cannot afford an education for their children. Girls are at an even greater disadvantage.

The school was set up in August 2002 for a group of 25 children, boys and girls ages 5 to 16. Pupils were selected according to the family situation, with priority being given to orphans, half orphans and children from the poorest families. Almost all pupils live in the school, being either orphans or coming from nomad families. There are 37 students living in the school-orphanage at the moment. Two Tibetan teachers teach Tibetan, Chinese, calligraphy, math, dancing, physical education and drama.2010

The school does not haveIMG_1336 good access for yaks, and they asked if we could buy cows for them instead. The school needed three cows to provide for all the children, which produce more milk than yaks and would be easier for them to keep at their school.

During our last day in Sichuan province we were able to make arrangements to provide cows to the school, and we are looking forward to receiving updated photos of the children as their health improves with better nutrition.

Angela

Introducing Angel Covers’ new education program in Sichuan, China

June 28, 2014

Today we flew into the Kangding airport, which at just over 14,000 feet is the third highest airport in the world. The lush green mophoto 57untains greeted us as we drove from the airport to Xinduqiao to meet our students attending the Kangding Middle School. It’s easy to see why the area around Xinduqiao is known as a “photographer’s paradise” because the landscape is filled with snow-capped mountains dotted with grazing yaks and traditional Tibetan-style homes. Xinduqiao is a small town, where the yaks, horses, pigs, and dogs roam freely in the streets and children greet strangers with shrieks of laughter and joy – particularly when that stranger also happens to be a foreigner with a camera. While this area has stunning natural beauty, it is also remote and quite poor. Children come from far away to attend the boarding school. Most of their families are farmers or nomadic herdsmen. We spent a few minutes in the town shopping for school supplies to add to the book bags that we had brought for them, then went to the hotel and assembled all of the gifts.

We took the students to lunch at our hotel, and got to know them as we feasted on some of the best food I’ve had in a long time (whphoto 56y is the food in China always so much better than the food at home?). They were a bit shy at first, but not as shy as most students when I meet them  for the first time. Their physics teacher works for Angel Covers, mentoring them throughout the year and providing reports for us on their progress in school. I think they enjoyed sharing a meal with him, and he made them feel more comfortable around us. Purple crushed velvet seems to be a recurring theme on this trip, and the dining room chairs were covered in it. Large, open windows allowed us to see that we were surrounded on all sides by the nearby mountains.

After lunch we went outside and had fun singing and dancing for a few hours. We played a game of musical chairs, and the person who didn’t reach a chair on time was the person chosen to sing. Each student and teacher sang a traditional song, and afterwards we all joined in to learn a couple of Tibetan dances together. We were all having so much fun that we didn’t mind when the sunny blue skies began to turn gray and thunder rumbled in the distance. They seemed so happy to receive their new book photo 32bags, and even happier when they opened them to find notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, and candy inside. One of their most cherished items was a card for each student that had been hand-made by a group of caring high school students from California. They poured over the letters, sounding out each word and practicing their English reading skills. A special bonus was the photo of the student who wrote the card attached to each one. We took the girls’ photos (over 600, plus some video clips) and then drove them back to school. What a treat – to be served a lunch with as much food as they could eat, a celebration of singing and dancing, gifts of book bags and hand-made cards and photos, and, to top it off, a ride back to school! For these girls who have had so little and such a hard life (most are orphans; a few come from nomadic families), this day meant the world to them.

The school is average size for a high school in this area; about 1000 students attend. Most children stay here during the school year and only go home for summer and winter breaks. It is an older school and is definitely showing its age, but fortunately it is under construction now and within a year they will have new classrooms, and the current classrooms will be converted into dormitories. The dormitories that the students live in now are in really bad shape, so they are all looking forward to better accommodations and the sooner the better. The classrooms are sparsely furnished with basic desks and chairs, and two chalkboards (remember those?). There is no heat at the school, and I photo 58can only imagine how cold it must get during the winter months at this altitude (11,000 feet). However, just outside the classroom windows is the most beautiful view of the mountains. I would be a very poor student at this school, because I would spend all of my time staring out the windows and daydreaming about hiking to the summit of one of those peaks.

After saying goodbye to the students, we then met with the teachers to find out how the program is doing, what the current needs are, determine how many new students should be added to the program this year, and where we see the program going from here. I am so pleased with this new education program, and I’m looking forward to watching it grow. Final exams are next week, and everyone will begin their summer vacation in just a few days. Our students are now ready to be matched with sponsors, so if you’re interested in helping a bright young lady attend high school, let us know!  www.angelcovers.org

 

Angela  photo 40photo 51

The best foster care news!

FANTASTIC NEWS!!! We can officially announce not only that Hank and Ava each have been approved for adoption, but that the family approved for each of them is the same family!!!! Hank and Ava have grown to love each other so much, and now they will have each other forever! We are thrilled for them and for their new family! They will remain in foster care until this summer when the adoption happens and they come home to the US. Join us in wishing them the best! Their new family is thrilled and so are we!  Just look at the great progress these beautiful children have made since arriving in foster care.  It’s such a joy to know they will have each other and a family FOREVER!

4-10 Hank (1)

Hank April 2010

Hank January 2012

Hank January 2012

 

 

 

 

Zhao Chun Yan 1 (3)

Ava August 2013

 

Ava September 2011

Ava September 2011