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How a good deed brought happiness to the Hope Primary School

ON May 14, my father, my sister, my father's friends and I left Shanghai to visit the Shandong Province Hope Primary School. Over the past term the student council of the British International School Shanghai has organized many events and as a result we managed to raise 10,000 yuan (US$1,463) for this school.

As Shandong Province is quite far away from Shanghai, it took six to seven hours by train to reach the Shandong train station.

Before I describe my journey to the students, parents and teachers in BISS, I want to say "Thank you and well done!" to all the students and staff who cooperated during the fund-raising events. If students hadn't donated 5 yuan or 10 yuan or kindly brought some homemade food, I would have never had the chance to help those unfortunate students. I hope you will be proud of yourselves and start to think more about charity work.

When our bus was about to arrive at the school, I took a deep breath because I was little bit nervous. What if the children didn't like me? What if some unexpected things were to happen? After trying to calm down, I told myself that nothing could possibly go wrong and to stop being a coward.

Instead of imagining disasters, I thought about how hard the student council had worked to raise this money and how valuable this donation was. Finally, the bus stopped and I got out and soon found myself surrounded by students who were expecting us and were glad to see us.

They thanked us for visiting their school (my father translated) and said that they were happy to see us again! I began to feel more excited after getting such a kind welcome.

We were offered a surprise snack of scorpion. My father tried the snack and exclaimed that it was really nice and not as bad as it looked (still, I didn't dare to put it in my mouth). To take my attention away from the food, I listened carefully to the principal explaining that the school will use our 10,000 yuan to build a library for the students.

He said: "Our school has always had a problem of too few text books. Also, the school has decided that we need a library to encourage children to read books because there are hardly any books in the village and it is such a shame that students don't have a chance to enjoy reading. Thankfully, we can now buy some more textbooks and wonderful novels to help children enjoy reading."

I felt proud when I realized how useful the donation had turned out to be.

After discussing the school library, we decided to have a look at the classrooms. I reminded myself to be brave, then followed the principal. Firstly, we went to the year-one classroom. The room was less crowded than usual so I asked the teacher: "I thought this class had more students than this!?" He simply replied: "Oh, now it is the farming season so half of the students are absent!" I was shocked. There were about 20 students here so if we double it, it means there are 40 students in the classroom! I asked, "If all the students attend school, how do you have a lesson?" He explained: "We divide the students into small groups and have different lessons. That way, the classroom doesn't get too crowded and students can focus on their work."

I said hello to the students and gave out some small presents (basically some stationary sets and books) to them. They were all excited but remembered to say "Thank you." I replied "You're welcome."

After talking to the students, we finally said goodbye and got on the bus. I was physically tired but in my mind, I felt proud of myself because I was helping students of my age and younger to have the right to an excellent education. Also, I found myself smiling, thinking about the friendly chats I had with the students. I was really happy and I understood that I was a really fortunate child who has had a wonderful education, a nice and cosy home and most importantly, who has learned a valuable lesson.

Sunny Kang, a year-7 student at BISS, recently traveled to Shandong Province to visit the Hope Primary School.


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