DON MORRISON Editor, TIME Asia
We tend to see our job as telling the truth, not trying to change the world. Still, we take quiet satisfaction when one of our stories inspires others to do good. That's why I want to share with you this e-mail message I received the other day:
My name is Liz Tober, and I am in the seventh grade at the Dalton School in New York City. During our recent spring break, my homeroom and English teacher, Mrs. Caroline Karp, went to Beijing. While there, she visited a school to see what seventh graders in China are like in comparison with those in the U.S. She was very impressed by what she saw. She came back and told us, and it was very interesting. In her hotel room there was a copy of the March 13 issue of Time Asia. She kept it so she could show us an article, Lesson Unlearned, by Hannah Beech, about the poor state of primary education in rural China. For an English assignment, Mrs. Karp had us write a synopsis of the article and then, at the bottom of the page, say what we in America can do to help school children in China.
I recently told my parents that my $5 a week allowance was not enough. I complained that all of my friends were getting $10. But then we read your article, and Mrs. Karp told us that the average annual income for a farm family in China is about $200. To me and all of my friends, this was astonishing. Our parents are making more than 1,000 times that amount. After doing the math, I realized that a typical Chinese farmer earns only about $4 a week. I couldn't believe that grown families are making less money than I, a 12-year-old middle-school student.
After our English assignment, my class decided we really would like to help in some way. Dalton, the school I attend, puts a lot of importance on community service and charity. Each year, all the homerooms are required to have at least two money-raising activities, like bake sales. The money is donated to a good cause, such as the Ronald McDonald Foundation or cancer research. This time, we would like to make a donation to help the situation in China. Your advice on how we can do that would be very much appreciated. Yours sincerely, Liz Tober.
Liz, a good way to help poor kids in rural China is to send a check or money order payable to UNESCO for its Project Hope program, UNESCO Beijing Office, Jianguomenwai 5-15-3, Beijing, China 100600 (e--mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). We're making a donation, too. Thanks for the inspiration.