New Day makes grant to Seng girls in Xining School of Performing Arts – update from Dan and Jane Chavasse
This week New Day made a further grant to the Seng girls studying at the Performing Arts school in Xining. This is the fourth grant to this group of students-covering their fees and living expenses for another 12 months and comes with the news from Dock Po that the girls have been selected to attend a prestigious Beijing dance school this summer. It is wonderful that as the girls reach their final year at Xining that their talent is being recognised at a national level and hopefully this will lead to career opportunities when they graduate. Sadly, three girls have not made the grade and will leave the school but this underlines the meritocratic philosophy that was explained to them on arrival. Dock Po is confident that he can find them employment and the grounding they have had at the school has been vital. New Day are also supporting two further (slightly older) girls in Xining who care for the core group. They are on a computer studies and leadership course. We are delighted that the objectives of the program that New Day has been supporting for the last 3 years are broadly being met
SGVTS School update
In the school on the plateau in Darlag there are now 130 girls. Many New Day members generously donated warm clothing and funds for radiators and insulation, as well as a water heater. Dock Po reports that the girls came through a freezing winter as well as ever and that ‘there was not one case of frostbite’. It is telling that this is the measure of success in these brutal conditions.
He has appointed a new headmaster who has made some changes to the teaching staff and he reports that morale is high and the girls are in good spirits. Part of the challenge is attracting talented teachers to work in such demanding conditions and he has managed to appoint some nationally qualified female teachers who are making an impact already. Dock Po has secured high school places in Jigdzi for a further 11 girls who are reaching the end of their time in Darlag, for which he may require funding. This is a crucial part of his role-securing places in further education to allow girls a choice in their future. Many do indeed return to the plateau, but they return with transferable and marketable skills – and the opportunity to move away from abject poverty as nomadic herders.
We are delighted that Dock Po plans to visit Hong Kong on 15 October with the same group of girls that visited last year. He is very keen to meet New Day members and also for the girls to put on their show.