Photos: Lunch is a luxury and rarity to China’s rural children, and you can help them.

September 22, 2011Jing Gao8 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Previously, one Ministry of Tofu post noted that in many Chinese rural villages, schools do not have a standard dining hall. School children from poor families bring raw rice, soybeans, Chinese cabbage and salt to school and steam them for meals. Only a handful of students from slightly better-off families can afford lard and cured meat. Some families in abject poverty cannot afford eating lunch at all. Suffering from malnutrition, they are stunted and skinny, and according to local teachers, some even tend to faint during morning jogs. A free lunch seems to them a pipe dream.

Some of our readers wrote to us, asking how they can do their part to help children constantly in hunger. Here is the answer: Deng Fei, a reporter with Phoenix Weekly, along with 500 Chinese journalists under auspices of dozens of Chinese media organizations and China Social Welfare Foundation, has launched a charity project that advocates making a pledge to donate three yuan a day and sponsor free lunch for millions of Chinese school children in poor areas.

Protecting children from hunger is our common wish!
Your 3-yuan donation translates into their simple happiness!

Ways to make a contribution to the Free Lunch For Children project:
Web-based donation platform: http://www.51give.org/ Click on “Free Lunch For Children ” to make a donation online.
Alipay-based platform: http://t.cn/akqtic
Official Taobao page: http://mianfeiwucan.tmall.com
Bank account for wire transfer: 3506 0188 0000 50322 Chaoyang branch of China Everbright Bank
Account holder: China Social Welfare Foundation. Please note “Free Lunch.”

Below are pictures that Chinese photographers have taken for this project. (Photos from Sina)

In the eyes of children in the impoverished mountainous area in Guizhou province, potato is a real delicacy. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

A child in Luquan County, Yunnan province cooks potato.  (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

An elementary school student stops halfway to drink water from a stream. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

A child sweating from cooking his lunch skims off oil from the wok and puts it back to an oil storage cup for future use. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

Potato is children’s only food here at Tangde Elementary school in the town of Wudongde, Luquan County, Yunnan province. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

A child catches his breath on his way to Tangde Elementary School while carrying firewood on his back. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

The two children without lunch boxes compete drinking water during lunch time. Many children cannot even afford to bring their lunch. They stay hungry and drink water from used bottles they pick from trash to make their stomachs full. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

What a student eats for lunch in Luquan County, Yunnan province. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

A student at Tangde Elementary School in Luquan, Yunnan drinks directly from the plumbing while eating his lunch.(Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

Having lunch for free is not as easy as it may sound to students in impoverished areas. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

What a family have for dinner when kids get home (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

The classroom for Grade 2 at Yanshang Elementary School in Nayong County, Guizhou province was a dilapidated hut. The rent for every semester is 400 yuan ($60). (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

The slogan on the wall of a run-down house says “Do not leave and become a migrant worker until finishing junior high school.” (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

A family is cooking dinner. Leafy greens are poached with water. No more ingredient is added. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

For most time of the year, potato and corn become the staple of most school children. Even bringing baked potato as lunch can make classmates’ mouths water. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

Zhang Menghao eats potato when he gets hungry again in the afternoon. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

After free lunch arrives…

The Free Lunch program was kicked off on April 27 at an elementary school in Xinhuang County, Hunan province. Peng Xiaoyu brought her little brother along and fed him rice. (Photo by Wang Lisan/王立三)

Five-year-old Peng Yi eats baked sweet potato. This is the most lavish lunch he has ever had. (Photo by Wang Lisan/王立三)

Five-year-old Peng Yi stares at the two sweet potatoes on his desk. This is his lunch. (Photo by Wang Lisan/王立三)

Yang Zizhou is cooking for his little brother Yang Tianping. (Photo by Wang Lisan/王立三)

A student at Yanshang Elementary School munches on free lunch. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

A student at Yanshang Elementary School munches on free lunch. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Children taste the first free meals in their life, thanks to the Free Lunch program. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

At Tangde Elementary school in the town of Wudongde, Luquan County, Yunnan province, children here finally taste their first free meal, thanks to the Free Lunch project. (Photo by Huang Xingneng/黄兴能)

When it is time for lunch, kids at Changba Elementary School in Nayong County, Guizhou province rush out of the school gate to get food. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Children at Changba Elementary School stand in a line for free lunch. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Children at Changba Elementary School stand in a line for free lunch. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Children at Changba Elementary School stand in a line for free lunch. The slogan on the wall in the background reads “A hearty celebration of ‘June 1′ International Children’s Day!” (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Free lunch every day may be these children’s most desired gift. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

A child’s satisfied look after tasting meat, on which they have missed out for long. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

Each and every child finishes their lunch to the dregs. Dish washing becomes a pretty easy task as a result. (Photo by Xu Kangping/许康平)

At Happy Elementary School in the town of Fengjia, Xinhua County, Hunan province. (Photo by Yang Shuhuai/杨抒怀)

At Happy Elementary School in the town of Fengjia, Xinhua County, Hunan province. (Photo by Yang Shuhuai/杨抒怀)

At Happy Elementary School in the town of Fengjia, Xinhua County, Hunan province. (Photo by Yang Shuhuai/杨抒怀)

At Shaba Elementary School in Qianxi County, Guizhou province. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

At Shaba Elementary School in Qianxi County, Guizhou province. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

The first batch of food aid is ready to serve at Shaba Elementary School in Qianxi County, Guizhou province. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

At Shaba Elementary School in Qianxi County, Guizhou province. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

At Shaba Elementary School in Qianxi County, Guizhou province. (Photo by Zhao Junxia/赵俊霞)

Children smile at the photographer who volunteers for the Free Lunch program.   (Photo by Wang Lisan/王立三)

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8 comments to “Photos: Lunch is a luxury and rarity to China’s rural children, and you can help them.”

  1. Nick | September 22, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Nice pictures!

  2. Augis | September 23, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Lunch in the first picture actually looks quite delicious.
    And yes, I will give a serious thought on helping these kids – after all a month of 3 RMB per day costs less than one meal in restaurant.

  3. Awe | October 22, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    The first pict made my mouth watery.. The rest started to make my eyes watery.. But it ended with a smile, its good to know that there are helping hands for the kids..

  4. PT | November 6, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Lovely photos and smiling kids is one of the few joys I get a kick out of.

    However, my cynicism radar is on full range scan when ‘tugging at the heart strings’ photos like these appear – there’s is little to no altruism in New China. I gave to some fund for the 2008 earthquake (Red Cross?) and, of course, all kinds of scandals have broken out concerning the misappropriation of funds.

    Went to the website and the first photo is a dolly-bird helping some self-publicists unveiling yet another silver plaque, no doubt followed by a hugely expensive banquet.

    Sorry for the dreariness, so if I am wrong about the people I greatly apologize in advance. Is there a Western based website, doing something similar, I can donate to instead?

  5. Al | January 5, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Guys please check out BoAi Missions, it’s started by Chinese American Christians. I personally know some members and they not only started a school there but provide free meals to their students. The students are much like the ones here.

  6. Al | January 5, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Here it is if you want to be involved. Visit the city yourself!
    http://tlocanada.org/aboutboai.php

  7. Darlene | February 18, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    These are the foods I typically eat. A potato. A sweet potato. A bowl full of greens with some onion in, if I am lucky that day and happen to have an onion. Today all I had for lunch was a bowl of brown rice, with no vegetables or anything else because I was busy. It was really good. I have never felt better in my life since I started eating very simple meals. The great thing is that your body quickly gets used to these foods and very soon you find it is all you need.

  8. [...] project receives a daily subsidy of 3 yuan to improve their nutrition. Counties that team up with Free Lunch, a non-government charity program launched in early 2011 to raise fund nationwide for pro…, even have additional donations from volunteers to cover all three meals of students in their [...]

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