In picture: Ms Mariah Mah (center) teaching the village children language.

In picture: Ms Mariah Mah (center) teaching the village children language.

china, guizhou

Located at the mountainous and in the southwestern part of China is the Guizhou Province. Guizhou is one of the poorest province in the whole of China, which consists of approximately 400 people living in its village called Yang Tzai Village.

While China is growing richer, there is a widening gap between the wealthier eastern regions and deprived inland areas such as Guizhou. Poverty is a pressing problem in Guizhou, causing rifts in the traditional family setting. Children are left behind while parents seek job opportunities in the cities. The parents have no access to schools or other social services in their new homes to care for their children – thus leaving them little choice but to leave their children behind. This causes a significant negative impact on the children – they are left to fend for themselves causing some to develop depression leading to suicides. A suicide involving four children swallowing pesticide in 2015 brought to light the detrimental effects of poverty and lack of parental love in the rural areas.

Education has always been the greatest hope for China’s poor. Most families survive on basic farming and wages sent home by relatives working in cities. Poverty in these rural areas are disguised by development: the further away from the road the people live, the poorer they are – and the worse their children’s grades. Unfortunately, schools and educational materials are a scarcity in the rural areas – leaving little opportunity for the children to gain knowledge and skills that can help them escape from the poverty cycle.

In light of the pressing problems in China, Majulah feels strongly towards lending a hand in providing education, entertainment and warmth to the neglected children. More importantly, to inculcate better lifestyle practices that can help in improving the health, sanitation and hygiene of the community in Yang Tzai.

PHASE 1: ASSESSMENT OF YANGTZAI

 In picture (from left): Mohammad Aminuddin, Syahiirah Ismail (representatives from Majulah) and Ms Mariah Mah upon arrival at China, Guizhou

In picture (from left): Mohammad Aminuddin, Syahiirah Ismail (representatives from Majulah) and Ms Mariah Mah upon arrival at China, Guizhou

The Majulah team visited the village in August 2017, together with Ms Mariah Mah, a retired Singaporean educator in her 60s, has been working tirelessly in the past 18 years to improve the lives of Muslims in China. Named by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2009, March dedicates her life to humanitarian work. 

Together with Ms Mariah Mah, the team visited the Yangtzai village and the only two schools, Al-Fatah Learning Centre and Orphanage and Al-Falaq preschool. There, the team assessed the living conditions and amenities available in the schools.

 
 The gardens are in need of maintenance. There is a lack of greenery around the school.

The gardens are in need of maintenance. There is a lack of greenery around the school.

 The walls are in need of repair and murals repainted to reflect new stories and lessons for the students

The walls are in need of repair and murals repainted to reflect new stories and lessons for the students

 The children play with rocks found lying around their village. They are lacking in toys and games.

The children play with rocks found lying around their village. They are lacking in toys and games.

 

After the first round of assessment, the team returned to Singapore to brainstorm on ideas and solutions to the issues highlighted during phase one.


PHASE TWO - PROJECT PEDULI: GUARDIANS OF GUIZHOU

A group of twenty-two youth activists (also known as the Guardians of Guizhou) will be travelling to China from 20th to 29th September 2017. There, they hope to provide solutions and aid to the issues assessed in phase one. Together with the support and partnership of Rahmantan Lil' Alamin Foundation, the team is currently in the midst of preparing for the humanitarian trip.

 
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MISSION OBJECTIVES

1. Improve social and architectural conditions of the Islamic Learning Centre through refurbishment and gardening.

2. Provide basic IT and English lessons to the students and teachers.

3. Inculcate the importance of hygiene and cleanliness amongst the younger generation, for a Clean and Green environment

4. Engage the children in positive and fun activities, as well as provide them with cultural exchange.

 
 
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ACTIVITIES

1. Refurbishments of the Islamic Learning Centre through gardening and repainting of the walls with new murals.

2. "Morning Dance" - daily exercises and games for the village children.

3. Art, Science, English lessons for the students, and IT lessons for the teachers.

4. Cultural exchange with the villagers.

 

The Guardians of Guizhou have been working tirelessly preparing for the humanitarian trip. They have been equipping themselves with the necessary skills - such as basic mandarin lessons, financial planning, project management - and understanding the immediate needs of the children, as well as strategically planning aid that is beneficial for them in the long run. 


 

How can you help?

The Guardians of Guizhou is holding a fundraising for the purchase of the logistical items needed for the execution of the activities. Help them by supporting them through their fundraising effort.

Click here for more information on Fun(d) Fiesta!

 

Hygiene Awareness and Education (Art, Science and English Classes)


 In picture: The Guardians of Guizhou during their final day at Al-Fattah, Yangtzai, Guizhou.  

In picture: The Guardians of Guizhou during their final day at Al-Fattah, Yangtzai, Guizhou.