Lori initiated the first classes for girls in Zhaojue in 2001. Prior to that, only boys were going to school in that remote county.
In the summer of 2016, our car stopped at the school entrance. My heart was overwhelmed with joy. One of the female teachers ran to greet me, and I happily returned her big hug. We walked hand in hand, passing by the classrooms. The teachers could not stop recalling the time when they did not have much self-confidence and acted shy because they were not fluent in Putonghua. Passing by the student dormitory, I praised the students’ effort in keeping their rooms clean and tidy. We moved forward and finally arrived at the playground. While the junior students enjoyed their free time, the teacher and I reminisced about the graduation ceremony in 2006. In those years, we all had to work hard and fight for every opportunity to study. We were confronted with many struggles and difficulties. Upon the completion of the primary courses, we were all moved to tears. A total of 41 girls wore the traditional Yi costume, performing the Dati dance with tear-filled eyes. I will never forget that touching scene.
God’s miraculous work was beyond our expectation. With the continued support of MSI’s teachers and the joint effort of officials and their countrymen, two thirds of the girls received subsidies to complete their junior and high school studies. In addition, they were all admitted to tertiary education.
Standing at the room entrance, I saw the classroom full of boys and girls. On their lovely faces, I saw the desire for knowledge in their eyes. Children in rural villages generally have equal opportunities for education now. Those standing on the stage were the graduates of the first class of girls. They finished their studies, then came back to their home village and became the teachers for the next generation. We and their former teachers were grateful and felt proud of them.
I would like to conclude my sharing with the words of a youth who returned as a teacher: change happens bit by bit, keep waiting and expect the blossom. Let us keep expecting the flower to blossom and bear fruit.