PEACH Foundation

These are the two students in China that I'm sponsoring through 2011 via PEACH Foundation, whose mission is "To help children from the poorest parts of China with an opportunity to complete a college education. To help break the vicious cycle of poverty and to raise the educational standard of the regions in which the children live."

Both students have finished junior high school and, without the support of PEACH, would not be able to attend senior high school.

(Lu Hou, in blue) is friendly and speaks English fairly well.

(Cheng Hung D, in orange) is very shy. His grades were actually good enough for him to get into the best high school in town. However, that particular school does not work with the PEACH scholarship program.

These pictures were taken by my mother last year. She traveled to China (Yunnan Province) to visit the dozen or so children that she is sponsoring right now. The red sign they are standing by shows the names of the students that were accepted into that high school. They are each pointing to their names on the sign.

High school costs $250 USD per year, and PEACH sponsors children whose household income is less than $300 USD per year. Often, the families make much less than even $250 USD.

I haven't visited yet, but my mom says it breaks her heart to see how they live. Three generations living in a 15x15 foot shack with dirt floor. The "kitchen" is a pot in the middle of the room. The "beds" are old blankets that line the edges of the shack. There's no electricity and no running water. Because there is no electricity (and thus, no refrigerator to store meat, even if they could afford it, which they can't), the typical meal is a pickle out of a jar and a bowl of rice.

The foundation was started by a very dear friend of my mother, Ruth Jeng. Here's an excerpt from Ruth's journal:

"Guo's humble little dream of going 'outside' [to a big city] to play so haunted me that nine months later I invited 13 children for a one-week vacation in Chongqing (five hours away by bus). Guo got to realize his dream to play 'outside'; Hwa got to sample different food in the restaurants for a change; Dong got his first pair of eyeglasses so he can see better."

"Living in the rural villages, most of these children had never been to restaurants, let alone to a movie theater or a department store. Even sitting on a toilet seat was a new experience for them. I took them to ride elevators, surf the net, play in the arcades, eat at McDonald's, and drink Coca-Cola. The experience was enriching for me, too. When was the last time any of us was thrilled by the experience of taking a shower, making a phone call, sleeping on a mattress, or walking on carpet? But to them, all these experiences are like walking on the moon. It is my pleasure and honor to share many of their first-time thrills."

[Captions for photos of the home. First is the exterior of a student's home. The little boy is the student's cousin. The lady in orange is my Aunt Peggy. Second is this home's kitchen. Third is the student's grandmother, standing in front of a bed. Click on any photo for enlarged version.]

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