If you have a moment, I would love to get your help in a competition I have entered; the result of winning will enable me to enlist help for a school in rural Yunnan province that I visited when I was in China. Here’s the story…
Runan Wan Primary School is home to about one hundred students, attending what in the UK would be years 0ne to six. There is one principal and about six or seven teachers. The students there are hungry for education; some walk as much as three hours, over a 2,000 foot mountain ridge, just to be able to attend. And yet for most of them, this will be all the education they ever receive. Every few years, one of them is lucky enough to secure some kind of sponsorship that allows them to leave their family at age 10 or 11 and go to Lijiang to attend intermediate school. The rest, no matter how bright or academically inclined, go to work the fields.
In one brief visit this place burned a spot in my heart; I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And I’ve been wondering what, if anything, I could do to give the kids there more opportunity. Well something came up that may give me that chance.
IBM entered one of the photographs I took at this school into a photo contest for international corporate volunteerism, and it was selected as a finalist. And here’s the thing: the winner of this contest gets to speak at their annual conference in Washington DC. I wouldn’t get a cent for doing it, in fact it will be really expensive for me to go and speak there if I win. But in that audience will be people who can help me make a difference. Ultimately, I would like to find sponsors for scholarships so that the top kids of this school don’t have to end their education at age 11. And I can’t think of a better forum for getting the word out than this conference. So in short, I really want to win this thing.
The winner is decided by public vote on their Facebook page, and I am currently tied for second place, about 30 votes behind the leader. Obviously I have been leaning heavily on my friends and family, but to win this I will need to get beyond my own personal network. So my favor is this: would it be possible for you to round up some of your Facebook friends and talk them into voting?
If you like, I can also send a PDF book of the photos from the school, to you or anyone else who votes. This means a whole lot to me; I have what may be a real chance to make a difference to these kids, and I’d like to make the most of it.
Thank you so much.
The link is: http://woobox.com/ve2sng and the photo is labelled IBM Corporate Service Corps – Team China 18