In March 2006, in Yangshuo County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Qu Lingzhu, an 11-year-old primary school student, had a large tumor on her face excised at the Yangshuo County Hospital. After enduring the affliction since birth, Lingzhu was finally made free of the malignant growth by the support of Professor Betty Cutts, of Morehead State University in the US.
Qu Lingzhu is just one of the 216 impoverished students in Yangshuo who have benefited from the Blessing Hands Foundation, as introduced to the area by Cutts. The foundation also helped the other 215 low-income students improve both their study and living conditions. Word of the American professor's goodwill and the support of the Blessing Hands Foundation has spread among Yangshuo residents.
A Bond with Yangshuo
To understand the tie between the American Blessing Hands and the 216 poor students in Yangshuo, one must first learn of Betty Cutts and the friendship and cooperative relationship between Yangshuo and Morehead City in the US.
Betty Cutts assists Yangshuo children with their English studies.
On October 27, 2004, a signing ceremony held in Yangshuo formerly recognized the friendship and cooperative relationship between Yangshuo County and Morehead City. This heralded the commencement of a long-term cooperation between Yangshuo and Morehead in aspects such as education, health care, culture, tourism, economy and trade. Cutts was appointed chairperson of the Yangshuo Committee of Morehead Sister Cities. Since then, Cutts has dedicated herself to educating young people in Yangshuo.
Moved by the People
In July 2005, to improve the oral level of English teachers in the countryside of Yangshuo, Morehead City dispatched a team to Yangshuo and organized a 10-day summer camp for local English teachers, with Cutts serving as an instructor. During the 10-day program, Cutts observed that the Yangshuo teachers were very determined as they faced many challenges. From those teachers, she heard touching stories of diligent and tenacious students.
Despite the large tumor on her face, Qu Lingzhu, an 11-year-old at Xingping Primary School, studied hard and became a class leader. A young boy at Yongcun Primary School suffered from infantile paralysis, but arrived at class on time each day. Bin Faxiang, a student at Etou Primary School, studied hard and was awarded the title "Student of Merit" each semester, even though she faced the difficult circumstances of an absent mother and a mentally incompetent father.
Betty Cutts speaks with Yangshuo students.
These stories moved Cutts and at the end of the summer camp, she left the county seat of Yangshuo and traveled to the mountainous areas. There, she visited many primary schools, met with impoverished students and their parents, and even donated 1,000 yuan of her own money to the poor students.
Through indirect channels of communication and personal investigation, Cutts, in her fifties, was deeply moved by the impoverished but determined students in Yangshuo. She then endeavored to raise funds in the US, while securing support from charity organizations. Her efforts paid off. The Blessing Hands Foundation moved to provide financial aid for the impoverished students in Yangshuo.
To date, Blessing Hands has donated more than 33,000 yuan to 216 children through the educational department of Yangshuo. Cutts also maintains contact with more than 100 Yangshuo English teachers through emails, typically updating them on the living and study conditions of those being aided.
(China Pictorial July 21, 2006)