USTC a leader in education assistance, poverty alleviation
By Wang Jinhui | China Daily Global | 2019-06-28
University has sent 135 volunteer teachers to Haiyuan county since 1999
Over the past two decades, the University of Science and Technology of China has played an active role in implementing China's young volunteers poverty alleviation plan and strived to support education in the nation's poverty-stricken areas.
To date, USTC has sent 135 volunteers to China's western region, among whom 131 worked as teachers in the Haiyuan county of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, a county-level poor area.
Since 1999, USTC volunteers have devoted themselves to the cause of education and social development of Haiyuan regardless of homesickness, harsh living conditions and other difficulties.
In the new era, we will remain true to our original aspirations and keep our mission firmly in mind, said Shu Gequn, Party secretary of USTC.
We encourage more students to go to the western region, the grassroots units and places in need by taking immediate actions and making a difference.
Located in the arid zone in the central area of Ningxia, Haiyuan county has a harsh natural environment that suffers critical weather and dry conditions, shortage of water resources, sandstorms and infertile soil.
Several years ago, volunteers went far away to get water from wells. They were even unable to take showers during some weeks over the summer.
While the hard living conditions didn't bother them at all, the most vital task was to improve children's education.
The population of Haiyuan county is 470,000, and 78 percent of residents live in rural areas. Hui ethnic people account for 70 percent of the total population.
The natural environment and living conditions in Haiyuan are getting better under the policy of converting farmland to woodland and the nation's poverty alleviation plan. The school facilities and infrastructure are also developing very rapidly.
However, parents' backward concept of education has not changed. That is the reason why home visits have become the most necessary lesson for volunteer teachers.
Zhang Xudong, a volunteer teacher from the 10th education aid team at USTC, has walked more than 2,000 kilometers and visited numerous homes in more than 10 villages and towns in Haiyuan. He wrote 30,000-word notes on home visits.
In addition to visiting homes, volunteers tried hard to seek financial support from all walks of life, find ways to enrich life in and outside of schools and improve the efficiency and pleasure of education.
Over the past 20 years, USTC volunteers have helped local schools install water purifiers, subsidize the education costs of 6,500 students and set up football classes. They also held other activities such as the science and technology innovation space and study trips. We have learned to be self-reliant in an unfamiliar environment, communicate with others and adapt into the team, said Fu Lei, a volunteer teacher from the ninth education aid team at USTC.
We will always bear in mind the unforgettable experience and knowledge gained during the voluntary life in the western region, which encourage us to keep moving forward.
Yang Fan contributed to this story.
The University of Science and Technology of China invites students from the poverty-stricken areas to participate in a study trip at the university. Photos provided to China Daily
From left: Students are attracted by a product at a tech show held by USTC's voluntary teaching group in a local school in Haiyuan county, Ningxia Hui autonomous region. Students sign their names at an activity to learn from the Lei Feng spirit. USTC's voluntary teaching group visits students' homes in Haiyuan.
(China Daily Global 06/28/2019 page10)