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Schools in remote areas plead for books

By  Zhu Wenqian  (China Daily)

12:53, August 15, 2011

Pupils walking to their classroom at a primary school in Yunyang county, Chongqing. In their hands are parcels of pencils, notebooks and other study material given by the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation through the county's post office.(China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - When students in cities come across characters and words they don't recognize, they can easily look them up in dictionaries and find out what they mean. But it's a quite different situation for youngsters in the remote mountainous areas of Southwest China's Sichuan province.

"A small Chinese dictionary costing 16 yuan ($2.50) is not expensive for an urban resident, but for poor children living in poverty-stricken areas in western China, it's a luxury," said a report on China Central Television (CCTV).

A poor rural household in Qijiang county in Sichuan can only afford about 100 yuan a year for study, so 16 yuan is too much for just one book.

Students from remote areas know little about the outside world because of their transport and economic limitations. They are keen to read and learn but lack resources.

Huang Jing, a primary school teacher in Shijiao township, Qijiang county, posted a message on Tencent Weibo website on Jun 9, saying: "We don't have a bookstore due to limited school funding. My dream for the year is to establish a library for our 230 poor students," according to Chongqing Evening News.

The message soon attracted the attention of the wider community and Huang and Shijiao township's Yingshan Primary School received more than 4,000 books and 200 pencil cases within two weeks.

When the car carrying the donated books via the Chongqing Evening News arrived at the school from Sichuan's capital, students quickly surrounded it and began eagerly skimming through the books they received.

They included some popular titles such as Love Education, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Three Days to See, and Tell me Why.

"I was like dreaming. I keep receiving books from all over the country. We have established a small reading room," said Huang. "Hopefully the reading room can help the students to develop good reading habits."

Many other organizations and individuals conduct book donation events nationwide to help needy students broaden their horizons.

Baoji Love Library, in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, launched a book donation activity in March this year. It contributed 30,000 books and 18,600 yuan ($2,862) to assist children in the western mountainous areas of the country. The books in total were valued at 105,000 yuan and were loaned to 93 students.

Students who received books immediately began reading and promised to study hard and help others in the community, according to Chinese media reports

In western and southern China, there are many elementary and middle schools in harsh and remote areas with barely no connections to cities.
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