Project Manager: Sonamtso (Lucille)
This project is to buy 745 books, 363 Tibetan books, 173 English books and 209 Chinese books. Niandu School already has Chinese books and some Tibetan books donated by Gesang Meiduo Organization. However, the Tibetan books and Chinese books they have do not fit the students’ level.The purpose of this project is to improve the students’ study level, promote gender equality by providing the same materials for both girls and boys, and create access to more information on a variety of educational topics.
The New Zealand Embassy funded this project
SonamTso is from Lhaka Village, Niandu Township, Rebgong County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. She graduated with an associate’s degree in English at the Qinghai Normal University Nationalities Department English Training Program. Recently she works at Children of Shambala Organization as a social worker.
Contact Group: Shem Women’s Group
Contact person: Kalwangjyid
Address: Qinghai Xining, Xining Shi You Zheng Ju, Xin Ning Lu You Ju, 20-5 Xin Xiang, 810008, P.R.C
Telephone: 0971-6302115(Shem office)
This project is for Niandu School. Niandu School is located in Lhaka Village, Niandu Township, Rebgong (Tong Ren) County, Rmalho (Huang Nan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. Niandu Township is about 2 kilometers from Rebgong County. Rebgong County is 178 kilometers from Xining (the capital city of the Qinghai Province).
Niandu school background
Niandu School is located in the center of Niandu Township, in the northern part of Rebgong Autonomous County, Qinghai Province and it was established in 1952. The school teaches grade one to grade nine (primary school). There are 246 students (116 girls, 130 boys) and 19 teachers in Niandu School. Their salary for their work is 3,500 rmb per month. The students in the school study mathematics, Chinese and Tibetan. Although the students need to study subjects like social studies, science and ideological education, schools in the countryside rarely teach these subjects. In rural areas like Niandu School, children cannot afford the necessary textbooks and the teachers often lack relative knowledge and skills to teach these subjects. Therefore, in Niandu School they only teach three core subjects (Chinese Language, Tibetan Language and Mathematics). These children have no access to information outside of their core textbooks. Niandu School teaches English only for the sixth grade. There is only one teacher who teaches English. Also, Niandu School sometimes hires temporary English teachers who only stay for about one semester or sometimes even one or two months.
Niandu School’s library was built in 2005 by Niandu School’s headmaster Sonam Tso. The local teachers and headmaster collected some money from Niandu Village and the local government established the library. After building the library, the school did not have any books in the library except textbooks, so the school got their first donation (Tibetan books) from Gesang Meiduo Organization in 2006. Secondly, the project manager herself did a small book project, which was funded with 3,000 RMB from an Australian private donor under Shem’s help in 2008. However, due to the small amount of money, the number of books bought was limited. So the school still needs more books to help students have more reading materials and give them a better chance to get higher scores on their entrance exams. It also helps the teachers have more access to teaching material to enrich their lessons to ensure more interesting classes.
Niandu Township is located in the east central part of Qinghai Province in the northwest part of China, west of the Rongbo River. There are 250 households in Lhaka Village; the total population is approximately 1,500 (740 men and 620 women).
In Lhaka Village if each family has two sons, one of them is typically sent to the local monastery to become a monk. Sons who go to the monastery begin to learn how to write and read Tibetan. Traditionally, girls are kept at home to help the family do house chores. In this village, only 10% of the young people are literate, and they have completed their nine years of compulsory education.
There are 198 school-aged children in the village. Among these, only 58 children are attending school (10 university students, 18 high school students, 20 middle school students and 10 primary students). The rest of the children stay at home to help their parents with household chores, farming and digging caterpillar fungus. Many villagers believe it is a waste of time and money to send their children to school. Some villagers believe that even if their children go to school they will not be able to get a good job.
All of the villagers in Niandu Township earn their living by farming. People usually earn money by selling their excess barley and earn about 300 rmb each year. However, most families only have two to four mu (one mu= 0.07 hectares) of land, which is not enough for their living expenses.
People also earn money by doing construction work. Adults do construction work in the county town. Men can earn 60 to 80 rmb per day, but women are only paid 60 to 70 per day. The workers can earn approximately 1,000 rmb in one month. Workers are not guaranteed this money because sometimes work group leaders abandon the workers without paying their owed wages.
People also can earn money by digging caterpillar fungus. Some villagers don’t let their children go to school and ask their children to dig caterpillar fungus to earn money. Each day they can dig 15 caterpillar fungi, and each fungus can be sold for 7 to 10 rmb. On average, a person can earn about 12,500 rmb from digging for caterpillar fungus for one month (people from Niandu often dig for caterpillar fungus in distant places such as Yushu and Golok because the caterpillar fungus there are worth more). They must pay a land fee of around 10,000 rmb for the privilege of digging on other people’s land. So they are only left with 2,500 rmb.
In total, the average family can make a little over 2,000 rmb in cash income per year. Families have to spend about 1,500 rmb per year for electricity fees and water fees. On average, each family keeps 500 rmb per year as saving. However, families who have university students must borrow money to pay for their tuition.
Niandu villagers grow wheat, potatoes, barley, rapeseed and beans. The villagers only have one productive harvest each year due to limited fertilizer, rainfall and weather conditions. The villagers cannot irrigate their lands often because they have to pay a fee to water their fields. Each household shares 5 mu of land with their family members (5 to 7 people on average in a family). One mu of agricultural land can produce around 500-600 jin (=1/2 kilogram)of barley if the weather is good. Some families have financial difficulties if their land is not productive and they cannot afford to buy fertilizer. These families are not able to harvest extra products to supplement their income. In some cases, households are not even able to harvest enough to feed their family.
In all of Lhaka Village, there are only about 10 livestock. Most villagers sold their livestock because there was not enough grass for the livestock to eat. 80% families do not have any livestock and the other 20% only have a few cows. The families who do have livestock are not able to sell dairy due to the poor grazing conditions.
The immediate goal of this project is to buy 745 books, 363 Tibetan books, 173 English books and 209 Chinese books. Niandu School already has Chinese books and some Tibetan books donated by Gesang Meiduo Organization, however, the Tibetan books and Chinese books they have do not fit the students’ level.
The overarching goal of this project is to improve the students’ study level, promote gender equality by providing the same materials for both girls and boys, and create access to more information on a variety of educational topics. Also, it can save some money and time because teachers do not need to collect money from students and do not need to go to the county town to copy or print the materials.
- Not enough books; no copy machines or printers: I did a small book project with Shem Women’s group for Niandu School a year ago which was funded by some private donors. At that time, we only bought Tibetan books and there were not enough for students to read because of the small amount of money (3,591.5 RMB). Also, the teachers suggested that it is better to buy Tibetan books than English books because it is very hard for Niandu School to find English teachers, and students do not have any English classes until grade six. Therefore, a lack of study material affects students’ results on important advancement exams, and without many books to read, students will not be able to improve their knowledge. In Niandu School, children just carry around their textbooks and do not have access to any other reading materials such as magazines, exercise books and books for free reading. Also, when they graduate from school or transfer to different schools, they are disadvantaged. Compared with others students, they have never had the opportunity to learn about subjects like social sciences and the environment. Niandu School does not teach these subjects because they do not have the appropriate teaching materials.
- Low literacy skills: The school cannot provide books for the students to read other than textbooks. The learning environment is very poor. Students just memorize things from their textbooks. This has a negative impact on their motivation to learn how to read and write.
- No money to buy books and no money to print or copy studying and teaching materials: For the poor families, they try their best to send their children to school, but they have do not have enough money to buy other study materials like reading books for their children. Even if they could afford one book, they could not afford to do this very often. Also, during the advanced exams, other schools always provide study materials and every student can get copied materials for studying, but not at Niandu School. At Niandu School, teachers always collect some money from students for copying and printing fees, so poor families cannot pay it and the family members are sometimes angry with the school because they ask the students for money. Therefore, it is very hard for teachers to provide students with printed or copied materials.
- Difficult to buy books: If students could afford to buy a book, they would need to walk to the county town, which is about 2 kilometers away from school. Also the road to the county town is in poor condition; there are many bumps and the cars or other vehicles pass by very fast. Students can easily become injured on the way.
- Lack of interest in teaching: In Niandu School, teachers’ motivation to teach is low because of the school’s poor conditions. Students constantly review the textbooks but show little improvement. Teachers do not have access to other educational material to enrich their teaching. Gradually the teachers lose their interest in teaching.
- Textbooks will not be the only books students have access to and they will have more books and materials to read. Thus students will have more interest in studying.
- Access to more reading materials will improve students’ literacy skills and give them a better chance to do well on their entrance exams. Also, if students have access to more reading material, they will have a better chance to learn more about other places and people, helping students have a better understanding of this world.
- Families will not need to worry about not being able to buy books for their children or paying for copying and printing fees. Students in the school can read books and study materials continuously.
- If the students have access to books, copy machine and printer in the school, then they will not need to walk to Rebgong county town to buy books and copy or print study materials which means it is very convenient for both teachers and students. Also, parents will not need to worry about their children’s safety.
- Teachers will have more access to teaching material to enrich their lessons. Teachers will also be more motivated to plan interesting lessons, which will lead to better teaching. Also, if students are more interested in going to school, this will make teachers more motivated to teach in Niandu School.
This book project will directly benefit 246 students and 19 teachers from the school and it will indirectly benefit about 1,500 people, including the people in Lhaka Village.
Generally, in this project area, the boys can study in a monastery during the holidays but girls cannot join the monastery to study. This project will balance this current gender inequality by providing books for both boys and girls.
Also, the project manager will encourage girls to study hard and serve as a good role model for girls. Villagers often look down on girls and they do not think girls are able to accomplish these kinds of projects. If this project is completed, then villagers’ opinions about girls might change, and this project might bring a new perspective on women in the village.
In July 2011, the project manager talked about this project with the village leader Dan Dai. Both of us had a meeting with a local government leader, Renchen. He gave me full permission to go forward with this project and encouraged me to do it.
The steps of the project
- Met the school principal, asked about the school’s problems, gave advice about what could be done to solve these problems. (Done)
- Asked both teachers and students what kinds of books they need. (Done)
- Found the books, copy and printing machine’s price. (Done)
- Figured out the transportation fee. (Done)
- Wrote a proposal. (Done)
- Funds received.
- Buy books from Xinhua bookstore and buy a copy and printing machine from Sheng Li Lu machine market. .
- Transport the books and copy machines.
- Distribute the books and copy machines to school.
- Hold a meeting in the school to discuss the sustainability of the book project.
- Take pictures of books and machines when project is completed.
- Write final report and send it to the donor with pictures.
This project will take around 8 days
2 days: buy the books from Xinhua bookstore and buy a copy machine from Shen Li Lu machine market in Xining city, Qinghai Province.
3 days: transport the books from Xining to Rebgong County and distribute the books and copy machine to Niandu School. Hold a meeting with villagers, teachers and students on how to protect the books and copy machine. Take photos of the book project.
3 days: write the final report and include some pictures
|Quantity||Donor Contributionin rmb||Local Contribution in rmb||Shem
Contribution in rmb
|Total cost in rmb|
|Desks and chairs||50/set||5||0||250||0||250|
|One big copy and printing machine||13,900||1||10,000||3,900||0||13,900|
|phone call, bus fare and
Donor Contribution: 22051.6 RMB
Local Contribution: 4910 RMB (One teacher and two students will volunteer to be a librarian. They will be responsible for managing the library and see that it is running successful.)
Detailed list of Tibetan books
|Book name||Unit price in rmb||Quantity||Total cost in rmb|
|Rabbit and lion||11||20||220|
|Wolf and sheep||15||15||225|
|The small aunt||13.5||10||135|
|The little Prince||19.8||20||396|
|The sheep herder||14.5||20||290|
|The mother and her son||16.8||15||252|
|The stupid boy||10.8||20||216|
|A greedy man||13.7||15||205.5|
|A rude woman||14.2||18||255.6|
|Me La Ri Ba||21.9||25||547.5|
|The three eyes of god||19.6||23||450.8|
|A potato can speak||14.6||16||233.6|
|A little sheep||13.8||19||262.2|
Detailed list of Chinese books
|A beautiful fish||12.8||19||243.2|
|My grandmother and grandfather||14.8||20||296|
|A fish and fisher man||14.7||19||279.3|
|A golden goose||17||20||340|
|A golden candle||21.5||18||387|
|A short man||16.4||17||278.8|
Detailed list of English books
|The blind tutors||14.9||19||283.1|
|A white horse||16.5||15||247.5|
|Protection of environment||19.3||23||443.9|
|My little dog||15.8||18||284.4|
|The king Gesar||27.8||20||556|
Firstly, I, as the project manager, will ensure the books and copy machine that are purchased are of good quality. Additionally, the teachers and students will work together to take responsibility of the books and copy machine. The books and copy machine will be stored in the school at the school library. When the books are distributed, teachers will make a schedule and let students borrow books every day. Also, the school librarian, book manager and teachers will enforce strong rules for both teachers and students to follow when they need to borrow the books or copy materials. If anyone loses or damages a book or copy machine, he or she will need to pay for the book’s replacement and fix the copy machine. Finally, if any of the library staff members are found to be neglectful of their duties, new library staff will be chosen.
Map of the project location
|This is the map of Huangnan Prefecture,Qinghai, China. The project is located near the capital of the prefecture,the red dot is the project location, Niandu School|
Photos of Niandu School