Hope never ends

This year, I took the chance to witness the projects funded by the IKEA Foundation’s Soft Toys for Education campaign in Mojiang Country, Yunnan, and find out what local people need.

We visited the Early Childhood Development Centre of the Long Bin Village Primary School on the third day. Established in 2010, the centre is one of the projects supported by the IKEA Foundation, aiming to provide pre-school education for children aged between 0 and 6 and help ethnic minority children adapt to school life. Open during weekends, the centre offers a free venue and facilities for children to enjoy singing, dancing or painting classes taught by local parents voluntarily. These volunteers have also received training in teaching from Save the Children with the support of the IKEA Foundation.

This is the centre we visited today.
This is the centre we visited today.

“My kid is smarter and happier now,” said a volunteer. I could feel their happiness and excitement when I watched their spirited performances. They thanked us for our support, which helps get their children into school. They also hoped that their children could enroll in schools in the city in the future and walk out of poverty.

Shelves full of books.
Shelves full of books.
Drawings and handmade wind chimes created by the children decorate the walls and ceilings.
Drawings and handmade wind chimes created by the children decorate the walls and ceilings.
Sunflowers made from paper cups line the window sills.
Sunflowers made from paper cups line the window sills.
The playing area for those aged between 3 to 6.
The playing area for those aged between 3 to 6.

Despite the long distance and rugged mountain roads, parents bring their children here every week. Well-trained volunteers living in different villages take turns to manage the centre and share duties like handling registration, teaching and safety. These benevolent mothers have spared no effort to learn the teaching skills and conceive dances and games to inspire the children. They had never thought that they would become a teacher and felt grateful to their families for sharing the farming duties and giving them the freedom to help the kids. I was touched by their commitment and passion.

Flowers and maracas made from plastic bottles by a 70-something-year-old man.
Flowers and maracas made from plastic bottles by a 70-something-year-old man.

With our support, children not only get essential stationery, desks and a nice campus, but also find the confidence to build their future, bringing hope to their families.

Volunteers, who are also mothers, taught the children to draw, sing and dance.
Volunteers, who are also mothers, taught the children to draw, sing and dance.
The children learn to paint.
The children learn to paint.
What was that?
What was that?
A big tree! It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
A big tree! It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

I sincerely hope that this meaningful campaign can continue and share the joy with more people.

The villagers sang, and danced out of gratitude.
The villagers sang, and danced out of gratitude.
Brilliant performance by the children!
Brilliant performance by the children!
The parent-child dance.
The parent-child dance.
Kiss~
Kiss~
You are the best!
You are the best!
When volunteers talked about the difficulties in teaching, they could not hold back the tears of gratitude for the support of their families.
When volunteers talked about the difficulties in teaching, they could not hold back the tears of gratitude for the support of their families.
English
    Elaine Chan