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© Far East Focus 2018
Far East Focus
Volume 17, Issue 7 November 2, 2016
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Student Sponsorship

As students graduate each year our sponsorship program has room to support new  students.  This year we received the following letter from a young lady in Zhuogu  village:  When I was 7 years old and just starting 1st grade my father died.  We still owed  some medical bills (money borrowed from family and neighbors) causing our family  to lose hope.  My heart was so sad to see my mother try to support this family on  her own that I also lost hope.    In order to pay our debts, my oldest sister who was 17 years old at the time quit  school (at the time she was in 8th grade).   She was married and our family used  the dowry her husband paid to repay my father's debts.  As the days passed things  began to calm down again.    Several years passed when my mother also became sick from her hard labor on  our farm.  In order to save her she needed some immediate medical treatment,  which also cost our family money.  Not only was our family unable to pay, but my  second older sister and I were also both in school at the time.  So my sister also  quit school to return home and help my mother with the farm work (planting  potatoes, corn, buckwheat, plowing the fields, collecting firewood, caring for the  pigs, etc.).   At the same time seeing my family in these conditions took away my  desire to study.  But, in order to improve my family's future conditions, I persisted in  studying.  Now, I'm studying at the Xide Minorities School in 8th grade.  The tuition is free,  but not the living expenses of 300 RMB [about $50 USD].  I also need school  supplies and transportation fees.  My family's financial situation is in dire straits.  I  need help.  Zhuogu village student, ADuo  July 26, 2016  Thankfully, we are able to include ADuo in our program this year.  While funding  has been harder and harder to find, we see God faithfully providing.  We can then  direct the funds where they’re most needed.  What ADuo’s letter doesn’t mention is the life-long affect this financial burden will  have on her two older sisters.  Since they quit school, their opportunities for an  improved life are very limited.  They will likely struggle on their farms working hard  to send their children to school and make ends meet.  ADuo seems committed to  improving her sister’s situation by studying hard, getting a good job, and helping  them financially.  Her sisters sacrificed their future for her sake and she’ll work hard  to repay their gift.  It’s difficult to express the impact your sponsorship gifts have had on so many of  these village students.  Their lives are so difficult and their parents make major  sacrifices to give their children an opportunity at a better life.  Yet, so often they fall  short and the only option remaining for many children is to quit school after 6th  grade and work the farm or get low paying, dangerous jobs for the rest of their  lives.  Your sponsorship gifts provide encouragement and hope.    As we begin another school year please consider regularly sponsoring one or more  students at $140/student/year (just under $12/month).  You CAN make a  difference!