From hunan.voc.com | translated by Jenny Jiang | edited by Key
“Free Lunch Program” started at Pingpo village Primary School of Xinhuang Dong Autonomous County, Hunan Province. Peng Xiaoyu, took her younger brother to school and fed him the free lunch. At noon of April 27th , 41 students from the school had a warm lunch for the first time.
“It tastes good! Do we have it tomorrow?” asked Peng Yi, shyly.
“We hope that this program would be sustainable and also growing instead of short-lived happiness” said a reporter from San Xiang City, urging more attention to the “Free Lunch Program”.
“When we go to some poor rural areas, we’d better ‘carry an extra kilogram’” A netizen wrote in his mini-blog.
Deep in the mountainous south-west Hunan province, a simple lunch for children has perplexed villagers who live there generation after generation.
Only in 13 days, from investigating the school to building a canteen, materials purchasing to cooking, everyone is busy for children’s free lunch. After lunch, we feel the heavy responsibility on our shoulders and difficulty ahead of us because of the students’ question whether they will have it tomorrow.
One child from Dapingpo Village enjoys the free lunch on 4/27
Salted vegetables, cabbages again for breakfast
10-year-old Yang Zizhou woke up as the rooster sang outside the window, stretching herself and washing her face with cold water. Under the dim light from the holes on the roof, she walked to the kitchen to prepare the meal.
After half an hour, her 5-year-old brother was awakened for breakfast. “Salted vegetables and cabbages again!!!” He blurted out. Though disappointed, he drank the fresh water prepared by his sister and began to relish the simple meal.
Most of the time, they are starving till noon, sometimes with pieces of sweet potatoes.
80% are left-behind children
There is a popular ballad in the village, singing “Never marry your daughter to Dapingpo village. Wheat gruel in the morning, common vetch at night.” Poverty and sadness expressed, it is the true image of the local condition.
“Many women married to this village, but left because of extreme poverty” said 55-year-old Peng Jisheng, pointing to a little boy nameed Peng Yi. “Look, this little boy is from a single parent family. His mother left due to unbearable life.”
This year Peng Yi is 5 years old. His father went to work in urban area. His only choice is to live with his grandparents.
Peng Yuxia, a teacher at the primary school, told the reporter that there are many similar cases in this village. According to her statistics, 80% of the children at school are left-behind, among which a quarter are from single parent families.
Peng Yuxia also indicated that the long way to school from their homes is another reason for no lunch. At least 20 students of the 41 have to walk on the mountain road for more than an hour to school. Their homes scatter around the mountains.
Love spreads the village
Students embraced the bell at 12 as usual. But today, instead of running out to the playground, they were waiting for an abundant meal led by the teachers. 41 children, handing the bowls they got just now, were lining up. Yang Zizhou stared at the free lunch with great surprise.
They got their meal not having waited for long. The children of preschool class sat in a line on the steps in front of the classroom, looking around while eating and those first second graders and were carrying their new bowls, chatting with each other, enjoying their special lunch in the sun. All of them were occupied by surprise and curiosity upon this free lunch.
4/27 menu: Pork Bamboo Shoots, Cabbage, Fried eggs, Salted vegetable soup
… number of people: 44 (including 3 teachers)
Average: 2.95 yuan per person
Total: 130 yuan
Preschool student Pu Mengjie drew a picture and gave to the staff of the free lunch program, “We have lunch now”.
Want to help?
If you want to participate in the “Free Lunch” program in Hunan Province, you can send donation to: China Everbright Bank, Chaoyang Branch, Beijing (Account number) 35060188000050322, Account name: China Social Welfare and Education Foundation. (中国社会福利教育基金会) Be sure to include “One more kilogram, Hunan Free Lunch ”(“多背一公斤湖南免费午餐”) or visit on the web the Foundation’s Education and Social Welfare in China’s "one kilogram of public funds by heart" project contributions (http://www.51give.org) leave message “Hunan Free Lunch” (“湖南免费午餐”). Voice of China Hotline: 0731-84329525 or Newspaper hotline: 0731-84326110