Hello, my name is Marcus and I am a senior at BASIS San Antonio Shavano. For the past three summers, I have taken the opportunity to visit one of the most poverty-stricken areas of China in its Henan Province. I visited the schools there and met many talented and intelligent peers of mine that just did not have the resources that we have here every day at school and most of us take for granted. The poverty line there is 3000 Chinese Yuan a YEAR which is around 440 Dollars. The money it costs for a student to go to high school for an entire year (including tuition, rooms, meals, textbooks, and school supplies) is 990 Dollars, which for those at or under the poverty line, is more than double their yearly income. To make it even worse, there are only three public high schools in the area, and it costs significantly more money to attend the private schools in the area. The result of this is that many children do not attend a high school, thus leading to them working underpaid jobs for the rest of their lives.
As I am a student myself and do not have much money to give, I have sent postcards, visited individual families, presented about life in the United States, and encouraged the students to work hard on their education so they can have a brighter future. But, I feel that I can do more. With this money I plan on paying for scholarships for students in need so they can have a chance to graduate from high school, go to college, and improve the lives of their families through working a higher paid job.
In July 2019, I was able to raise $1300 USD (9022 Yuan) to help pay for six separate scholarships as well as an application fee for a vocational high school for one of the students I had met with previously. After the scholarships were delivered, I was left with 2022 yuan that I plan to use on more scholarships in the winter. The students' stories and thank you's are posted on my website: connectionwithhenan.org.
Since the summer of 2017, I have visited three families in poverty, each with a student that is around my age. The first student is 16 years old, and she was born on the streets of Beijing. Her dad works very hard to support her grandma and mom who both have mental disabilities, as well as her little brother and sister. In 2019, I was able to deliver this student a full scholarship to vocational high school. The second student is also 16 years old, and he really likes nature. His sister had to go out into the city to work without going to college in order to help support their family. Both of these student are going to be applying for high schools next year, and I hope to be able to help them out. The third student is 17 years old and attends one of the best high schools in the area. His family made a big sacrifice in order for him to attend school. His mom was blinded in a car accident and lost both of her eyes, and his dad raises pigs as their only source of income. His parents both greatly encourage education as his sister is also attending a university in Zhengzhou, China. In 2019, I was able to deliver a scholarship of 1000 Yuan to help him with his studies.
This is a picture of the first student and her family. She is the one wearing the white T-shirt. Her grandma and mother are sitting in the front. Her siblings and father are to her left, and the principal of the high school and my friend and I are to her right.
This is a photo with the second student. He prefers to spend most of his time exploring the outdoors. He will be applying for high school next year.
This is a picture with the third student. He has already tested into the best high school in the area, and is currently in his first year of studies there. This picture was taken inside one of the offices of the school.
This picture was taken on a neighborhood road. The buildings in the background littered with advertisements are all homes. The elderly in the same village sit outside together to socialize.
This is how the students start their day at 6 in the morning. They stand up in the classroom and read their textbooks out loud in the same manner a coach would give a pre-game pep talk before an important game.
This is the cafeteria of the school. They do not have chairs so the students eat standing up. Plus, their lunch is only 10 minutes long, so who needs to sit?
The importance of education is deeply embedded into Chinese Culture. Parents are willing to give up anything in order for their children to go to school. Inside the house of the third student, his parents have translated and written down Harvard's motto and posted it on the wall of his bedroom to encourage his studies.