Thin & High’s Volunteer Teaching Summer Camp at Kuangou Elementary School in China’s Gansu Province August 2012
Kuangou Elementary School is located in one of the poorest villages in Jingtai County of Gansu, one of China’s least developed provinces. It was set up in 1777 and slated for closure by 2014.
Kuangou was once a bustling commercial town along the Silk Road,
But living and ecological conditions had worsened, and many have moved away.
Only young children and the elderly are left in the village.
Most of the children are looked after by grandparents and relatives.
Their parents are migrants working elsewhere in China.
Some children never knew or seldom saw their parents. Some of their parents were divorced, and a few children's mothers had ran away from the village, as they were kidnapped brides. A few children are orphans.
Villagers grow subsistence crops and keep livestock for basic survival.
The villagers have been relying on the ancient wells for centuries. Underground water resources still have not been deployed to enhance the quality of their life.
In addition to the harsh natural landscape and the lack of natural resources, especially water, educational resources are also in severely short supply.
Only language and mathematics classes are offered; students do not have any extracurricular lessons in music, arts and physical education.
To enrich the educational experience of the destitute children, Thin & High organized a free 2-week summer camp for them in 2012.
The volunteer teachers were undergraduates from universities all across China. Students from neighboring villages also participated in the camp.