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Monday, January 14, 2008

Blessing Hands January Newsletter

Good News: It was in the news lately that the Chinese government is planning to help the children in the first nine grades with more school expenses such as textbooks and other expenses. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2008-01/07/content_6376070.htm. Poor boarding students in these grades will also have some subsidy increases. This is good news for our lower middle school students who were really pressed to pay for textbooks and room and board. We have been giving them $25 a semester in help for these expenses. As the government steps up to give more aid, we can step back and begin looking at other ways to help our students or increase support for higher middle school students who don’t receive any help from the government.

Bad News: I know that children are suffering in China both in the city and rural areas. The article below tells of the problems of the rural poor. Migrant worker’s children are especially having problems.

The World Bank’s estimate of the number of poor people in China was tripled to 300 million from 100 million last month, after a new survey of prices altered the picture of what a dollar can buy"

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/world/asia/13china.html?ex=1200891600&en=

28299bd0a3c1a97b&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Trip to China:
Carolyn Franzini from Sister Cities and I will be leaving for China
on the 17th of January. Carolyn will stay two weeks extra to study Chinese, but I will return on the 31st. While we are there I will be exploring the new subsidy changes and developing a proposal for future Blessing Hands assistance to our children. We may change some of our support based on new developments, and I will need to make a report to the Blessing Hands Board and donors on our possible future goals.

Visiting with Students: We will be visiting in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Province, with seven of our Blessing Hands scholarship students who attend various colleges there and renewing friendships with former visiting scholars who have come to Morehead State University.

In Qinzhou we have timed our trip to attend the gathering of the students as they receive their spring tuitions. I always enjoy meeting the students and matching personalities with pictures. We will have used books to give away that have generously been sent by a donor to arrive in time for the gathering. Anna Liu is trying to get them all T-shirts with the Blessing Hands logo.

In Yangshuo we will be visiting Sister Schools and Blessing Hands children in their homes and schools. We will also have a gathering there and hope to meet most of the college scholarship students from that area who will come home for Chinese New Year. Mrs. Wei has three days of touring the schools and viewing student needs arranged for us.

Water Purification: We hope to survey the Yangshuo rural schools for water needs while we are in Yangshuo this time. We have set aside a day to do that. I know that many schools do not have any water source and others have inadequate water. Sometimes there is a simple fix for these problems such as using pottery pots to filter the water. Other schools might need a well dug or pipes to bring water to the school. During a stop in Hong Kong we will be meeting with a man who often assists with water purification projects in China and is interested in the poor.

Scholarship Interviews: We will also be interviewing senior students for next year’s college scholarships. We don’t plan to go to China this coming summer because of the Olympics, so this trip will be the only opportunity to interview students in person.

New Look to the Blog: I was so busy this fall that I made very few blog entries. Lately I have been catching up and the blog has a new format. I encourage you to check it out. http://blessinghands.blogspot.com. It even has rotating pictures.

Website and Database Development: MSU students will be helping us again this spring with our web presence. I will be taking a borrowed GPS device with me to China in an effort to locate the schools more accurately on a Google Earth overlay. While the web build is going on, the home page is located at http://blessinghands.us.

Pen pals and sponsors: A new friend has sent Blessing Hands a pen pal matching program he developed that should make it easier to match pen pals. While I am in China, I will be emphasizing the importance of pen pals and encouraging students to have e-mail addresses. I attended a Chinese Christian conference after Christmas and found many new friends interested in Chinese children. Thanks to all of you new pen pals and sponsors who are writing to our students. During the conference, I always seemed to be sitting down by people I must have been ordained to meet.

Sponsors and donors needed: We sure do appreciate all of our donors, but we need more. Feel free to pass this newsletter on to people with soft hearts. Consider reaching deeper into your own pockets as I have done into mine. Checks should be made to Blessing Hands and mailed to 106 Timber Lane, Morehead, KY 40251, or you can donate by credit card with a button on our blog mentioned above. Support for a higher middle school student is now $80 a semester because of the drop in the value of the dollar against the yuan. The students need your help.

Donate with the button on this page or make checks to Blessing Hands, 106 Timber Lane, Morehead, KY. 40351

http://blessinghands.blogspot.com/ or blessinghands@gmail.com or http://www.blessinghands.us