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Small donations make a meal for poor rural children

(China Daily)

09:20, October 12, 2011

Students at Xinhai primary school in Zhaoyang district of Zhaotong, a city in Yunan province, have lunch in the school canteen on Sept 26, 2011. A nutritious breakfast project run by NGOs is donating food to the students. [Cheng Yinqi / China Daily]

ZHAOTONG, Yunnan - After buying a big meal of fried chicken, salad and ice cream at a KFC store, Beijing father Sun Zaiguang gave an extra one-yuan (16 cents) note to his daughter and encouraged her to donate the money to a good cause.

Sun did this just to cultivate his child's kindness for other people, but he was not aware that the money would finally turn into milk and eggs for some rural students who had never even tasted milk.

The 22,000 students who benefit from these donations live in a remote mountain area in Southwest China's Yunnan.

The area's high altitude and changeable weather mean that the only food plants that grow there are cold-resistant crops like potato and corn, and these are what the people there must live on.

Song Zhaoqin is now 10 years old, but she looks as small as an average 6-year-old in the city.

"I had never had breakfast until March when the school started to provide an egg and some milk every morning," Song said. "I had never drunk milk before, nor had my grandmother."

Song lives with her grandmother, Zhang Jiaying, in Zhaoyang district of Zhaotong. Every morning, Zhang used to cook some potatoes for Song to take to school for lunch.

"Few students eat breakfast, partly because they can't afford it," said Zhang Zhengfu, principal of the Xinhai primary school that takes about 300 students, aged from 6 to 12, from the nearby mountainous areas.

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