A letter from Lan Tian Hong
The Bangwai Primary School project is initiated by StayInShanghai team, but this time, it is not about relocation, housing or me.
Back in 2015, my father was participating in a project in Shuangjiang County. During his 2 years stay there, he would often tell me how shocked he is by the poor living condition in Shuangjiang, especially in some villages that are further away. Bangwai well represents the situations in those villages. With insufficient natural resources and underdeveloped public transportation, some residents in Bangwai are still struggling with the basic needs for survival- clean water, electricity supply, and even food. Facing so many challenges, although China’s 9-years mandatory education scheme waives all tuition fees, sending kids to school has still been a burden on most families in Bangwai, because that means less help at home and extra expenses for study.
One time, my father sent me a photo of a pair of shoes: the surface is covered with holes, and both shoe-soles are completely worn out and nearly come off. He told me the shoes belong to a child he met on the mountain trek, and the child was on the way home after school. “You won’t believe this little child has to walk nearly 2 hours every day to the school”, my dad says, and I could sense his upset over this side of the phone. That pair of shoes has been stuck in my mind ever since.
This is the story behind Bangwai Primary School project. Year 2020 has taught us so much- to cherish what we took for granted before, to be kind to other people, and most importantly, to give back whilst we can.