Our team's recent trip to China was unlike any other trip in the past. Our chief purpose was to register Blessing Hands as a Foreign Non-Governmental Organization (FNGO). We were very successful in applying, but it will still be perhaps a month or two before the seal and approval is granted as our application makes it way to the highest levels. We had been working on this since January 2017 when the new law concerning all foreign NGOs was implemented.
Mr. Wu of the Security Department interviewed us. Anna Liu interpreted and Matthew Liu brought the official sealed papers from Beijing, arriving at just the right time for our official interview.
Mr. Wu met with our team and answered many questions. He told us that Blessing Hands has a very good reputation in Guangxi, especially in Yangshuo where Blessing Hands began during a Sister Cities Summer English Camp in 2005. He said we should ask the Department of Public Security for help if we had any problems.
We generated 16 different documents to show that we are a legally incorporated organization in the United States that has been helping students in China for eleven years. Our proof of the number of students we have helped (1,500) and our financial health needed to be given online and in person to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Department of Education and finally to the Department of Public Security.
Official US State Department seals were needed on 8 documents that finally were certified by the Chinese Embassy.
Because we were still in the process of registration, we could not legally visit our students or their schools. We also had to cancel a summer camp planned in Anlong, Guizhou, when the registration went slower than we expected. Later flooding in Guilin Prefecture cancelled a second camp we had planned with the invitation of the Tourism Bureau in Ziyuan.
With the permission of the Guangxi Provincial Education Department, we were able to interview four of our Qinzhou graduates for college scholarships. This video is of He Wenjiao who wants to study Chemistry at Suzhou University. You can sponsor her for $650 or give any amount.
We ask for $650 (4420 RMB) for our scholarship students. or give any amount at this link.
Eric Zhang, one of our board members, visited our Miao students in Yunnan in July.
A mountain Miao Village - Click to see more pictures.
We have been getting our papers ready for four months to become an official foreign NGO in China. Soon we will be recognized and able to continue helping Chinese students.
Blessing Hands is nearly Official In China
People's Security Department
Administration Office of Overseas NGOs
We are becoming a Foreign Non Government Organization in China
7 official papers have to be sealed by the US Department of State before they go to the Chinese Embassy.
You have not heard from Blessing Hands in a while. We have been so busy applying for status within China as a Foreign NGO and getting ready to go to China on June 12th, that we have not had time to write Newsletters. We are submitting files to show what we have done in China for 11 years and getting all of our official papers notarized and sealed by three levels of our government before they are submitted to the Chinese Embassy for the final official seal there. We are complying with a new law in China that makes all foreign charities and their activities illegal unless they register with the government.
UPS lost some papers for a while and our required official metal seal twice came in the mail with mistakes. We just barely received it in time for one of our board members, Xiaomin Mai Oney, to take it to China to seal necessary documents. Our printer broke at a key time and had to be replaced quickly. We have used more than two reams of paper on the project. Copies have to be submitted with originals at three different offices.
We are one of the first 3 foreign NGOs to register with the Education Department in Guangxi Province. We have to expect birth pains. The other two are from France and Hong Kong. They plan to have a special ceremony for us three and make a media event out of it. I just might get to Nanning in time to participate personally, if all of our paperwork gets sealed and filed. We have been through all the prechecks and only need to submit the real sealed papers from the Chinese Embassy.
Ms. Liu at the Public Security Department in Nanning
The Education Department and People's Security personnel have been so helpful. They have responded to questions quickly and explained what was lost in translation about the process. Both departments have to approve our application. Different papers have been sent back by the Chinese Embassy twice to be reworked, and three translations turned out to be wrong in small details and had to be reworked.
Nathan Davis, Rowan County Notary
I have personally gone to Frankfort for Kentucky State Department seals four times. Nathan Davis, the Rowan County Notary, and Mrs. Ballinger of the Kentucky Department of State have given me great encouragement and have helped us all they can.
We have had some great heros along the way. Xiaomin Mai, one of our board members who is visiting her family in Nanning, has been to talk to both departments and will be putting the finishing touches on the papers before they are finally presented in their final form. Matthew Liu, who is our Chief Representative in China, has redone his papers three times so far. It has been a long process. Eric Zhang and others helped to translate our official papers.
Notice the misprint in the Chinese on the seal.
You can have a part in this new milestone too. Help us pay for all these expenses. Volunteers have freely given their time, expertise, and advice, but it is going to be very expensive when it is all finished. The cost for each paper adds up to $78 for just the seals not counting the postage and paying an organization to walk them around from the State Department to the Embassy and then send them back to us to hand carry into China. Expenses are adding up.
Have a part in making Blessing Hands official in China. Give $78 for one paper or as much a you want to cover the whole cost that will come to over $1,500. Be a blessing hand to us and share in the accomplishments of our students. You can pay for our seal for $75.
$78 for one paper to be sealed Give $75 for the metal seal's cost.
For individuals or families, who cannot financially support Blessing Hands but want to help our students, it is now possible through your online shopping on Smile.Amazon!
How do I shop at Smile.Amazon?
To shop at Smile.Amazon simply go to smile.amazon.com using the web browser on your computer or mobile device.
Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on Smile.Amazon?
Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and Smile.Amazon. Your shopping cart, wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.
How do I select a charity to support when shopping on Smile.Amazon?
On your first visit to Smile.Amazon (smile.amazon.com), you need to select a charity to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. They will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to Blessing Hands. Just do a search for Blessing Hands and you will find our charity.
After nearly twelve years of service, we are applying for recognition as a foreign Non Governmental Organization in the People's Republic of China. We plan to comply with the new foreign NGO law that took effect in China January 1, 2017. There are many requirements including submitting a summary of our activities past and present to the proper government offices. We will be submitting our application to the Education Department of Guangxi Province.
Blessing Hands began in 2005 as a simple fund to help students in Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China. Our founder, Betty Cutts, was teaching in a Sister Cities Summer English Camp, when she decided to help poor rural students, who could not afford their school tuition. Her hometown, Morehead, KY, is a Sister City of Yangshuo, China.
With the help of the Yangshuo Educational Department, Blessing Hands began helping 259 young students in Yangshuo. Gloria Wei Shourong 韦守荣, the person in charge of the summer camp, was our first volunteer administrator. She also worked for the Yangshuo Educational Department as the administrator over all primary schools.
In June 2006, Blessing Hands was incorporated in the USA state of Kentucky and qualified to be a public charity under the name of Blessing Hands Inc. The name was taken from the name of Betty Cutts' family farm. Betty dedicated the rental income from her farm to support the charity. We are a registered 501(3)(c) public charity with the USA tax ID Number of 20-4794276. Our motto is "Helping people help themselves and others." Our US headquarters is located at 106 Timber Lane, Morehead, KY 40351.
During the last eleven years we have helped over 1,484 Chinese students in five provinces (Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Hubei, and Gansu) with their educational needs. We have enabled over one hundred of our students to graduate from colleges and universities. During this 2016-2017 school year, we are sponsoring 425 students (83 primary, 35 lower middle school, 227 high school students and 80 college or university students).
We now have 2 part-time administrators, Anna Yunna Liu 刘蕴娜 in Qinzhou, Guangxi and Yaya Huali Luo 罗华丽 from Guizhou Province. Anna is a volunteer while Huali is paid 1,000 yuan ($150 USD) a month. We also use a private Chinese contractor to enter our data online at 10 yuan ($1.50) an hour.
Our support comes from the public with some help from businesses and private foundations. None of our support comes from any government source. Our income was $130,850 from donations and interest in the last school year of 2015-2016. Since 2012, donors have given $567,888 to support our programs. Since August 6, 2005 we have received $976,026 in income from all sources counting non-cash gifts and including interest. Public cash jar donations provided $14,073, but student sponsorship is our main way of supporting students.
Money is also given by donors for special projects like 40 laptop computers for the Du'an Special Education School, 96 wheelchairs for handicapped people in Du'an, shoes for three small primary schools in Longfu County, library books for various schools and medical needs for our students. We also have summer English camps.
Besides supporting students in schools, we have also begun two cooperative programs with the Du'an Special Education School. One is with the Chinese NGO Renpin Charity for Visually Impaired Persons and the other is Netspring World, a business that refurbishes computers to give to
primary schools in China. Renpin has contracted with us to teach blind students computer skills with distance learning. Our goal is occupational therapy that will allow handicapped students to have job skills after they graduate.
Blessing Hands gave $113,159 to students and programs in the last school year. We have given a total of $848,239 to student and program expenses since 2005. In our most recent financial year, our expenses came to 6% for management contrasted with 94% being spent on programs. Our spending average for ten years is 92% spent on programs and 8% spent for management. We are able to have a low management expense because school personnel cooperate as volunteers with us for their students.
Our donors mostly give in US Dollars but the equivalent of $107,541 in US Dollars was given since 2012 in RMB (738,109 RMB). Hong Kong friends and our own alumni gave much of that amount. We also were chosen the charity of Shanghai United International School where their student fundraiser netted 60,000 RMB (about $9,000 USD) for our students in 2016. We do not attempt to raise any funds from the public in China.
From 2012 to February of 2017, one thousand six hundred and twelve distinct USD and RMB donations were given to Blessing Hands. We also have an endowment fund with Blue Grass Community Foundation that is worth $57,016 (387,709 RMB). We get the interest on it once a year.
We are governed by By-Laws under the supervision of a volunteer board of 7 directors. Four of our board members are Chinese with one, Matthew Liu, living in Beijing, China. The other board members live in the USA. All our board members are married with children of their own. Our board meets four times a year to approve budgets, confirm programs, and supervise financial decisions.
Our volunteer founder and director is Betty Cutts. She has worked as a volunteer with children since she got her Masters of Early Childhood Education Degree in 1970 from Morehead State University. She and her husband David Cutts, a retired college physics professor, have two sons and two grandchildren. She travels to China at least once a year to supervise summer programs and check on Blessing Hands projects. Blessing Hands volunteers usually travel with Betty or meet her in China to help with translation, travel, or projects.
Over the years we have blossomed to teach our students to become Blessing Hands to others. We encourage them to volunteer in their schools and communities and pass on the blessings they have received. Some of our former students have given back to help other students like they once were. Some volunteer or help us in other ways to fulfill our motto.
Scholarship students with Betty Cutts and Huali Luo (r)
We are looking for teachers and translators volunteers for our two coming summer English camps. One camp opportunity is from June 18th-24th in Anlong, Qianxinan, Guizhou. The other is in Ziyuan, Guilin, Guangxi from July 4th-10th. Contact us for details
I am a mother and housewife that loves China and children. The two interests
have come together in serving the children of China who need help with
educational needs. I started as a teacher in an English summer camp and got to
know the teachers first. When I toured their schools and met their precious
students, I could see many needs and decided to try to help. I first started a
fund to assist children with tuition, but it has expanded into a 501(c)(3)public
charity granting money for textbooks and school supplies for primary school and
lower middle school students and tuition for older students.