Welcome to our Blessing Hands Blog

Thanks for visiting our website and learning about our charity that helps children in China stay in school.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kids Giving to Kids

Vacation Bible School

June 2009

1st Baptist Church Kids Giving to Kids

They had such fun at Vacation Bible School. Children from 3 years old to 6th grade gathered every morning to learn Bible stories, sing songs, and have a great time during summer vacation. The first Baptist Church chose Blessing Hands kids as their fund raising project for the week.

Our kids need $2.75 to eat for one week at their boarding schools in China. For every $2.75 donated, a paper lunch bag was put at the front of the church. The kids got postcards of Yangshuo primary drawings when they made donations.

Sacks across the front of the church
At the end of the week $98 had been given by the kids. Parents added to that until it came to $139.21.

Bank teller counting the money

I took their gift to the bank were the teller counted it. Some kids signed up for pen pals and others wrote on their postcards to send a letter to China. We sure do thank you, First Baptist Church of Morehead, for being blessing hands to our kids.

Kids Wanted Yangshuo Paintings

Bible School kids could "buy" Yangshuo Paintings

Child holding a painting

Instead of getting toys or stickers, some kids saved up their earned points and "bought" Yangshuo Paintings at the Roman Market.

Parents who donated $6 also got paintings. We decorated the church with the paintings that will stay up through the Sunday service.

Paintings in windows
Families Came to the Program the Last Day

A Student with His Chinese Painting

This boy selected a painting of Moon Hill and the Big Banyan Tree in Yangshuo.

You can join the kids to give to our kids.

You can give any amount to feed our middle school kids. Use the orange link to go to our blog where you can donate through the Google Check Out Button at the top right.

Thank you,
Betty Cutts

Blessing Hands

106 Timber Lane
Morehead, Kentucky 40351
606 784 4785
One of the Older Classes
6th grade class
Peg Jones' Class.
Teachers Dressed like Romans
dressed as Romans
Singing Action Songs
Dusty Coyle, the School's Director, Dressed as Paul in Bible Times.
Dusty Coyle

Action Songs got Everyone Involved
children dancing

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

School Construction in China

I have a friend in China rebuilding a school destroyed in the earthquake. He is an expert in wood construction sent by the Canadian government to use their donated lumber to rebuild the school to be resistant to earthquakes.

He writes a newsletter when he has time that I find very interesting because he is answering some of my cultural questions even though he doesn't know it. For example, why are Chinese schools just bare concrete and poorly maintained compared to what I am used to as a school in America?

I am pasting his last newsletter here for your information:

I thought it might be interesting for you to hear about the difference in construction thinking here in China from the US. Just a few examples; The Armstrong Flooring Company donated enough tiles to do the 50,000 sf of floors here in this school with the hard vinyl tile used in schools throughout all of North America.

It is called VCT and is a tough resilient material that when damaged can be lifted out one at a time and another one inserted in its place. It does not shrink like the cheep tile squares you used in your rental house that after time shrink and leave dirt filled lines between the tiles. Its only draw back is it requires regular waxing and polishing.

The Chinese however do not have a budget for such extravagant maintenances schemes. So they are rejecting the donated tile and painting the floors instead. This will then make this school like all the rest of the schools throughout China. Only schools with big budgets in the construction phase have ceramic tile floors that only require sweeping. VCT or sheet goods are never used.
A German company wished to provide all the windows and doors for the buildings. That was rejected when the management company here found out the window sash was not designed to replace broken glass in. If glass is broken the whole sash and glass need to be removed from the building, taken apart and then reassembled with the new glass in it and reinstalled back into the building.

The doors came with a special hinge system and latch system that are not available here in China and very expensive to acquire if broken here in China. Thus another high maintenance item rejected.

The local school board has rejected and asked that the clock system designed for the school and its classrooms not be installed. It is an item not needed in a country school. They are used in city schools but this a country school, and it is thought to be a sign of extravagance. So no clocks will be installed. The wiring system and the controller is to be installed anyway. That will allow the clocks to be installed later if they should change their minds.

Sit-down toilets were also offered but rejected as unsanitary and high maintenance. The squatters are being used instead. (Chinese plumbing is usually of the Asian variety. You squat over a hole in the ground that also fushes just like a Western toliet.)

When I had a chance to chat with the former mayor of Shanghai he voiced his concern that the cost of keeping a wooden school up will be a significant burden to this small village. As I look at it, the school I have built here will need a new roof in 15 years, re-staining of the siding every 3-4 years, Termite spraying every spring outside and every summer inside the buildings. These are all costs not burdening Chinese school systems. All three of these items are never done in a typical rural Chinese concrete school.

Their concrete tile roofs last 40 years. The outsides are concrete or tile and never need paint, however, they look bad after just a few years, but there is no bug-food in a concrete structure. Floors are painted every other year. Sweeping is the biggest chore, and each teacher does their own room into the hall,l which is then swept by a student that is on detention. It is a simple system that has been used for 60 years. The procedures before then were even simpler.
So I can see the problems our Western school designs produce to the rural school district. And now you can see some of what I have to deal with here. It seems so generous of the different corporations and countries to donate items for schools here that just do not fit in this system of construction and maintenance cycles. Canada was lucky to get our wood structure accepted as an experiment in alternative and sustainable structural materials for public structures.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is There Life After Graduation?

Is There Life After Graduation?
Thanks to our family of sponsors, students are graduating and many will go to college. I want to tell you the story of Liang Guangyun who received a Blessing Hands college scholarship this year. There are many success stories but this one is his.

I have a special love of physics.

Liang Quanyun's words caught the eye of a physicist reading his scholarship essay last year.

When it comes to my dreams, I always said I wanted to be a scientist. I have a special love of physics. I think I will take up physics classes, and I want to make some contribution to society.
The college tuition expense is beyond my family's ability. There are two people studying in school, my little sister and I. My little sister is one year younger than me, and she is going to be a senior three student, which means spending a great deal of money. What is worse, my family can't afford any more for there are few incomes in our family. Besides, my father has a disease. As money is lacking, it cannot be cured. In a word, my family is short of money.

Poverty is a constant presence with our Blessing Hands students. They come from rural families without much land, resources, and sometimes health care. Because the physicist was touched by his dream, Liang got his scholarship and went to Nanchang University last fall.

I got a letter recently from Liang Quanyun describing his first year of college. He is studying computers, when he really wanted to study physics. College students in China don't always get to major in their first choice of subjects. It depends on the college that accepts them and what courses they have open. He is glad to be studying, however, and willing to suffer for the education he so desires.

As to free time, so much work fills it. Quantities of things need to be learned. When it comes to the challenge, study is the first. As the professor gives lectures too fast to follow, most of my lessons I learn by myself. Though I have the ability to learn, it will spend mountains of time. Meanwhile I need to do two or three part-time jobs to earn my living costs, which takes almost 40 hours per month. Time is beyond of my ability. In order to do it well.
I have to get up at 6:10, and then not go to bed until 23:10 (11:10 p.m.).
There are so many competitions in college, such as physics competition, math competition, and web design. I have applied for the math competition, which will be held next semester. In order to perform it well, in summer vacation, I will do some preparation. On the other hand, I need to study computers, and get through the state secondary examination of computers.

Liang's sponsor has already decided to sponsor him again next year. With his hard work, he is sure to succeed. All of our students are studying very hard. We hope that their sponsors will renew their sponsorships too. Three sponsors have already committed to renew their scholarship help. We hope you will also.

Send us an e-mail to blessinghands@gmail.com if you are willing to sponsor your college student a second year. Of course there are always new graduating high school students who need first year scholarships. Some of you might support one of them in the fall.

Students Graduating

Yu Yanying wrote recently. " I have finished senior high school with your help. Thank you very much. Wish you all the best."

Yanying will be applying for a Blessing Hands $500 scholarship for college soon. We will feature her in the summer after we have rated all the scholarship applications, essays, and test scores. We will tell her story later.

Every June Chinese middle school kids and high school students graduate into a new life. They have just finished very difficult tests that will place them in high schools or qualify them for college. Those that don't score high enough on the tests will go to vocational school or work.

I think these tests are similar to the tests the emperors gave once a year to select civil servants. The honor of families hangs on these tests as well as the future of the students. Without a good test score, the students will not go to a good high school or college, but with an education they can reach back and help their families. Our tuition program is a great poverty reduction program.

All of China holds its breath during these three day tests nationwide. Traffic is routed away and even helicopters are not allowed to fly near the testing centers. Parents are as stressed out as the students and teachers in the days before the tests when pretests are given daily to prepare them. Internet blackouts are enforced in schools to keep students from being distracted from their studies.

Now the tests are over and I am hearing from the students again. They are finally free of studies but still full of hope until the test scores come back and lives are ruined or lifted. Their letters can make me cry - just knowing that we have made a difference in their lives, and they have made it through high school finally after all their struggles.

Read more about the Chinese Obsession with the national test at this New York Times Link.


Someone has been sending us regular anonymous $10 contributions through "Just Give". We sure thank you. For your convenience we have researched a way for you to give through your bank automatically. It gives us the whole amount without any service charge withheld, and it is easy to set up a regular contribution through your bank. We have a form that you can download or print right from your browser. Just mail it to us along with a void check from your account. The form is located at this address.

I have used automatic bank deposits to support a child in Haiti for many years. It sure has been convenient for me. I don't have to remember to send a check, and I don't pay for a stamp every month. I recommend this method of giving to you.

Festival Results

The Clack Mountain Festival was very good.
We sold 17 student paintings and made some
new friends for our kids. One new sponsor
signed up to support a student.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Great News

Subject: 12 Student recently Sponsored
Blessing Hands

12 Primary Students now are Sponsored!

 We are thrilled to announce  that a local business man saw our primary kids needing sponsors and has sponsored 12 of them. I was so excited to have him tell me his good news.

For $360 a year he can help 12 of our kids have extra help like school supplies and extra for books . I warned him that they would be more expensive to sponsor as they grew, but that didn't seem to bother him.

We love sponsors who will be faithful to stay with a child until they no long need help.  It gives the students such security and hope to have a constant, regular, sponsor.

Betty Cutts

When knowledge is loved, the plum blossoms will open. When learning is despised, the plum blossoms will close.