Seng Girls’ school celebrates 10 year anniversary! – Dan Chavasse
During the summer this important milestone was reached and to mark the occasion the girls were bused about an hour away from the school to celebrate amongst the Tibetan grasslands. The anniversary coincided with the Dari County celebration and the girls enjoyed 3 days of feasting and watching traditional Tibetan sports, whilst camping under the stars. The school’s Opera Troupe also performed – a source of great pride to the some 160 girls that are now under the founder Dock Po’s care.
As many members know, New Day have been supporting the school since 2008 and we have just authorised a further grant for 2016-17. This will be spent on the 14 girls who have graduated to the Performing Arts School in the regional city, Xining, paying their tuition fees and living expenses. This is their third and final year at the school before they graduate with recognised qualifications, so important in their next step of embarking on a career. Many will seek work as professional dancers, but the school also teaches all the core academic subjects. Twice a year, we receive each girl’s written report and progress continues to be strong across the majority of the girls that we support. The school sets high standards and does not allow poor performance-fortunately all the girls have retained their places moving into the final year.
At weekends the girls share a flat in Xining and New Day pays the rent and covers their living expenses, as well as supporting two older girls who are on vocational training in the city and act as the girls’ guardians.
Dock Po is incredibly busy with day to day management and so requests for feedback were often overlooked or delayed. In light of this, earlier in the year New Day agreed to fund the salary of a man called Shawo who acts as an administrator and finance manager for the school. He is based in Xining and since his appointment communication has improved enormously.
We are currently working with Shawo to evaluate how we can improve the heating situation in the school in Darlag. Temperatures in the winter can drop to -40 degrees and so water based central heating systems are prone to problems. The girls frequently wash their hair and clothes in the open yard with cold water from a standpipe. We hope to have a cost effective alternative for members to consider funding before the onset of winter.
We have just had a very positive update call as the school continues to grow and develop. Best of all – the girls are coming to Hong Kong! New Day members have had a profound impact on these girls’ lives and due to the remote location of the school, Dock Po is acutely aware that he has only met a handful of members. He really wants to showcase his girls dancing and meet members first hand so he can share some of the heart warming stories that make supporting projects such as this one tangible and worthwhile. Hopefully as many as possible can meet him and the girls on Sunday 23 October for a performance followed by a picnic supper at Deep Water Bay. More details to follow!