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Tea Sales Bring Music to Ears of Schoolchildren

May 10, 2002
Souce: Beijing Today

Three children and their teacher from a remote Hubei primary school came to Beijing to successfully sell tea to pay for their schooling.

Chen Huizhi, 12, Cheng Long, 13, and Yang Xiaojuan 11, from Dishui Village, Nanhe Town, Gucheng County of Hubei Province were still excited at the quick sales within four
days at a spring book fair in the Ditan Temple during May break.

"Sixty-eight pcks on April 30, 288 on May Day after the report in Beijing Youth Daily, 378 on May 2", said Cheng tallying sales on the last afternoon of May 7. The students, who brought 1,214 packets of self-made tea to the capital city, went home with nine cardboard boxes of books and five cloth bags of stationery and study-aid equipment.

The France Rollins Tea Garden project has provided funds and technology for tea processing at the Dishui Primary School since 1998, says Fan Ying, chief China representative of the Phelex Foundation, an America-based non-profit organization providing education for Asian disadvantaged children.

" We picked tea during the daytime in spring and our teacher processed them at night" said Chen. "We have Maojian and Chaoqing green tea". Principal Zhang Jiarong, 52,
said on top of sales of 24,280 yuan, they also received cash donations of over 4,190 yuan.

" Some people merely give us the money," he said. Some put the tea back after purchase. "About 30 percent of the profit is put back into tea production and the rest is
allotted to certain students in severe povery", said Fan. Zhang said every student pays around 300 yuan tuition a year.

"The nearly 30,000 yuan will cover the tuition and incidental fees for a total of 57 students this year and next year". Chen seemed happiest about the purchase of a standard size football.

"The football in our school is too small", he later told Beijing Today.

"We got two footballs, two basketballs and one volleyball during the sale at the book fair", he said. But teacher Zhang said we need to give some to other schools.Yang told Beijing Today they had also obtained a three-string qin, an electronic piano, an accordion, a harmonica and a lute.

"We sing songs at the beginnng of almost every class. But we have never had any instruments before."

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