A tapestry of achievement: education illuminating the valley of the sun

Editor's note: The Sichuan-Tibet Plateau, a beautiful region that reaches toward the heavens, is a place showered with blue skies, covered in white clouds, and dotted with snow-covered mountains, but recently, something truly remarkable has been materializing among the households that call this place home. A groundbreaking historic change has been reshaping the land and its people. From today on, we will publish a series of stories to tell you those changes. 

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau stretches for thousands of kilometers, and the water of the Jinsha River flows down toward the east. The geographical location of Derong County within Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is at the very junction between the same plateau and river at the ridge of the vast snow-covered mountains. Restricted by its particular natural and economic conditions, however, there has been a lag in the relative quality of education, and the number of teachers is few and far between among agricultural and pastoral areas.

After Chengdu's Qianyang district government started to provide assistance to Derong County, education was desirable to bring the people out of poverty, and vigorous attempts were made to shine the sparkling light of knowledge in the sleeping Valley of the Sun. When looking closely at the stories telling how people of Tibetan-inhabited areas are receiving proper education for the first time, one calls to mind blooming flowers with beautiful fragrances stretching far and wide to every corner they can reach.

A Good Start for Children Living in Mountainous Areas

Bunsum Centralized School is located within the Bunsum county seat, 38 kilometers (23.6 miles) away from Derong. Here, machines are roaring, dust is blowing and a number of teaching facilities, dormitories, libraries, and gymnasiums are rising straight from the ground. Upon entering the school, which in and of itself is like an otherworldly blessing, people are immersed from head to toe with a sense of love, no matter if they are among the classrooms, modern track and field, or even the beautifully arranged student dormitories. This truly lovely campus is bursting with palpable hope and desire.

"Our family was too poor to send our daughter to the county seat for kindergarten, and my heart was wrought with sorrow for her. Never in a thousand years would we ever have thought that Qianyang would come here to build such a magnificent facility. Now, my baby girl can finally get an education and even get a free lunch out of the deal! Today, whenever my wife and I go out to work at a construction site, our minds can be at ease for her, and we can focus on paying off our debts without the burden of a guilty conscience!" says an ecstatic Tashi Norbu, a member of one of the area's poorer households.

When lunch arrives, the fragrance pervades the entire campus of Moding Village Elementary in Xulong County. Braised ribs with carrots and sliced pork with black mushrooms are the choices today. When asked if they like it, kids shout to be the first to respond, "It's the best!"

Third grader Tashi Drolma wipes his mouth carefully before he cheerfully says, "There's something different every day! I love lunch!”

Parents can rest assured knowing that their children are happy and have full bellies. "Not only is it really good quality food, but we don't have to pay a dime for it!”

"With such great food, children will be motivated to come to school every day!”

At an altitude of 2,700 meters (8,858 feet), Moding Village is a remote location with a poor living environment, difficult communication capabilities, and lack of access to information. Poverty caused by diseases and poor education is a serious problem here. Although the State Council has started its Plan of Nutritional Improvement for Students in Compulsory Education in Rural Areas and provides meal allowances for over 26 million school children in China, students here are unable to enjoy nutritious food due to inconvenient transportation routes and lack of kitchen equipment. The government of Qingyang District, therefore, has begun to provide funding to the school to build and purchase facilities and equipment, including a refrigerated truck for the transportation of students' nutritious food. It also gives a one-yuan subsidy to every boarding student each day and benefits 872 verified and registered impoverished students.

The Chinese version of this story is written by  Gaoyan, Xia Zuxian,& Weng Zeyu and translated into English by Huang Wenjuan. And the story is sourced from the United Front Work Deparment of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Sichuan Provincial Committee