School of homeless children receives social donation
On Nov. 29, students of the Love and Light School in Beijing were attending classes, when a delegation comprised of Yu Xiuying, of the Beijing Vehicle Rental Association, and staff from the Denghuo Charity Foundation arrived. Yu, on behalf of the association, donated a folded bookshelf and books worth 11,800 yuan (US$1,696).
Children at the Love and Light School stage a dance to extend their gratitude to Yu Xiuying and a delegation from the Denghuo Charity Foundation on Nov. 29 in Beijing. [Photo / Courtesy of Denghuo Charity Foundation]
"After reading the reports about Shi Qinghua [the school's headmaster] many years ago, I couldn't help but admire the man for his whole-hearted dedication to the children in this school," she said. "Once at retirement age, I hope I too can embark on such charitable activities."
Sitting in the heart of Beijing's suburban Shunyi District, the Love and Light School was established more than a decade ago to accommodate underprivileged children and provide them with a decent education, accommodation and psychological support. So far, the school has homed 1,756 young beneficiaries. Among their most successful alumni are Deng Dandan who was admitted to the University of Massachusetts and Shen Xiaodong, who is now an undergraduate of Tsinghua University. Shen plans to teach at Shi's other philanthropic school in the Dabie Mountains, Anhui Province. The headmaster recalls how Shen told him that, "he hopes disadvantaged kids like him can change their trajectories in life through the help of education."
Almost two decades ago, an explosion caused by Shi's neighbor disfigured his wife and son. To get an adequate treatment, Shi brought them to Beijing where he spent all his savings. Consequentially, the family became homeless and relied on several street children who spoke with them and shared food. When his story went viral, he received immense social help. As a result of this he decided to devote his life to accommodating the street children who had helped him.
Gradually, the number of children he homed grew fast, so he established the school.
"It was extremely difficult at the beginning, when we had nothing but Chinese cabbages to feed them. Several months later, the children started to call me Cabbage Dad," the headmaster recalled.
But now, from classrooms to dormitories, the school is able to thrive due to donations from many strangers. At the same time, many of the students receive subsidies from their elder successful brothers or sisters who used to study in the school.
"I stayed in the school 11 years ago and it was there I felt so happy," said Yong Shanghui, who is now a teacher at the school.
"Unlike other children, the students here are special and require more patience and time to communicate with," Yong said.
In Shi's school, the children have had to acquire independence at a young age, and can be trusted with a range of responsibilities: laying their beds, washing their food boxes, cleaning their clothes and more. Their wardrobes are tidy with neatly folded piles of donated clothes.
"As many of them are living with no families, they learn to do things themselves," Shi said. "We encourage them to help each other, especially asking the elder ones to take care of the younger. Many of our graduates stay here to help the younger students."
The School of Love and Light is continuing to make a difference to many children's lives.
(Source_title：School of homeless children receives social donation)