The Other Side of the Cloud

Tuoni, a disadvantaged village in Southwest China with limited resources and an underdeveloped education system.

A team of volunteers from Shanghai hosts an annual summer camp for the local primary school students, aiming to enrich their summer vacation and improve the breadth of education. The majority of the students are left-behind children - at least one of their parents works in big cities and can only come home to be with their children at most once a year for Spring Festival. 

These kids therefore have to take care of themselves from a very young age, in addition to helping with farming work and looking after their younger siblings. 

Being a member of the team since 2013 taught me so many different ways of seeing the world. During these years, I saw how much potential these kids have; how little we are able to help apart from the companionship during the two weeks each year and limited equipment and books we brought; how challenging it is to improve their living conditions without more involvement of the government and non-profit organisations.

The key is however, people's awareness and actions.

I met Chang Sheng when he was 10. His father cannot work due to his medical condition. His mother supports the household by selling corns and potatoes they grow. 

Chang Sheng is very shy and caring, doesn't talk much, loves animals.

His dream is to study at Peking university and become the mayor.

Xiong Feng is a typical naughty boy after class. He would put a dead insect in someone's hoodie to annoy them.

He is also very sweet. One day he was eating a pear during a break in the classroom. I saw it and said "that looks tasty" to a volunteer next to me. After school he went home and came back, put a full bag of pears on a desk, "there you go", and ran away.

The most beautiful silver lining I‘ve ever seen was in Tuoni.

We all know what is on the other side of the cloud. 

It's hope