On May 26, 2020, Datou Village Kindergarten of Pinghe Town, Lyuchun County welcomed its first 24 preschoolers from Lahuzhai. Another three are expected to enter the kindergarten in September. Li Wolou, leader of the kindergarten, revealed that they were the first children from Lahuzhai admitted to the kindergarten because in the past, villagers of Lahuzhai could not afford to, nor were they willing to, send their kids to school, and no child from Lahuzhai had ever received preschool education.
Lahuzhai is under Datou Village CPC Committee, Pinghe Town, Lyuchun County, and is only 800 meters away from China-Vietnam boarder. It has been home to Lahu people for many years and is a typical exceptionally poverty-stricken village of “the directly-entering-socialism ethnic groups”. Lahuzhai has 33 households and 168 residents, and all of them are registered low-income households. For a long time, due to blocked traffic, backward ideology and living habit, residents in Lahuzhai have been basically living on government subsidies, and are still observing the original extensive production method and life style.
The “poorness” of Lahuzhai finds expression in the ideology and education. According to Li Tao, the “most beautiful grassroots policeman” living in Lahuzhai, as of 2019, only one of the 168 residents of Lahuzhai, obtained diploma in vocational studies, 10 obtained junior diploma and 19 obtained elementary school diploma. The other 138 are illiterate or semiliterate. No one in the village has been to a kindergarten or received preschool education.
Li Wolou told the reported that she had been visiting Lahuzhai since 2018 and had interview with the local residents from house to house to persuade parents to send their kids to the kindergarten. Li was frustrated to find that no parent was willing to send their kids to school because they just could not afford it.
Early in April 2020, the task force of Chongqing University visited the village and carried out poverty relieving work. When they got to know the difficult situation, they immediately decided to help them out. The Education Development Foundation of Chongqing University started to raise funds for those preschoolers, and signed the donation agreement with Lyuchun County, Yunnan Province on April 21, 2020 to donate 300,000 yuan and set up the “Preschooler Education Fund for Lahuzhai Group of Villagers, Datou Village CPC Committee, Pinghe Town, Lyuchun County”. The fund will be used to secure access to preschool education for the first 27 preschoolers from Lahuzhai and support development of children education quality for Lahuzhai Group of Villagers, Datou Village CPC Committee, Pinghe Town, Lyuchun County.
When they first came to the kindergarten, these Lahu children looked restrained. With guidance of the teachers, they became relaxed and are now willing to participate in collective activities.
Li Tao expressed his sincere gratitude to Chongqing University on behalf of residents of Lahuzhai: “The education of preschoolers has always been a stumbling block for our team. Lahuzhai has been a self-closed community for a long time and children are the future of the village. The help offered by Chongqing University serves as a bridge that leads them to the external world.”