SJTU “Mingcai Class ” Support Education in Ningxia Ecological Migration Zone
Date: 2013-08-09

Hot weather fails to dampen students’ enthusiasm. After nearly 40 hours’ journey, 21 students of “Mingcai Class” arrived at Yang Fangtan Elementary School, which located in Hong Sipu District, Wuzhong City. Without feeling fatigue, they soon carried out teaching activities.

Joint voluntary teaching and constructing the bridge of friendship
For the “elite class”, as a tradition activities, go to western areas to take part in the voluntary teaching. In this year’s preparation, as the partner assistance universities, Shang Hai Jiao Tong University and Ningxia University reached a consensus on this voluntary teaching activity and  expressed great enthusiasm.  

The first step is to build the platform of communication. One  QQ group for Voluntary teaching was set up. all participants of two universities were included. In this group, the busiest and happiest time was in the evening, when voluntary teachers from both universities communicated with each other: “Hi, SJTU buddy, is there any difficulty in your music lessons?” “Hello, my dearest friend from Ningxia University, don’t forget the mosquito coils!” They exchanged their ideas and suggestions for voluntary teaching with delight.
During the voluntary teaching period, all participants  focused more on mutual learning and close coordination. They “visited” each others in class to study from each other. After school, everyone gathered together to have a 3-4 hour discussion, presenting their ideas on the problems that arised. They also cooked the meals together, helping each other serve the dishes and do the dishes.
Though short time of the joint voluntary teaching program , they got along with each other morning and night, giving lessons with growling stomachs, sleeping at desks. These life experiences made them become brothers and sisters with love deeply.     
Focus on the ecological migrants district of national minorities
The voluntary teaching activities were in Sun Mountain Yang Fang Tan Village, Hong Si Pu District in Wuzhong City, Ningxia Autonomous Region , which was a typical ecological migrants district of minorities. The villagers are all Hui people. More than ten years ago, they moved here from the southern part of Ningxia that was affirmed by the United Nations as an inhabitable place. With more than 10 years’ development, this place has been turned into a livable village from a desert. However, the bad ecological environment imposes restrictions on the development of local economy, resulting in a majority of poorness in this village.
Concerning the big difference from the previous ones, the students from the “elite class” did a great amount of jobs. In the preliminary preparation, they downloaded all kinds of information in every aspect about the teaching location, also sought advice from the students with Hui nationality in Ningxia University. From the familiarization of the local customs of Hui People to the active participation in the customs during the period of voluntary teaching; from the careful preparation of every class to the concern of teaching students in accordance with their aptitude, the smooth and successful proceeding of the voluntary teaching activities has much relation with the great effort made by all the students.
After class, our voluntary teachers not only paid visit to the villagers’ houses propagate the importance of education, but also produced a video called “my little dream” which was played a continuous loop. All students have been involved in this video and their innocent faces moved their parents.
The “elite class” students also tried their best to raise nearly ten thousand yuan and distributed all the money to aid poor students and the school, which lacked funds in public.

In-depth interviewing and investigating more information
In-depth interviewing and investigating are supposed to be an important part of this voluntary teaching activity. For our students, this is a very precious opportunity to know the real life in the west better. It is first,time, they were anxious to enter the strange villagers’ houses.
On knowing the illness of a villager’s son was serious but still undiagnosed, they collect relevant information and put it onto their mircoblogs for help, and sent private messages to relevant philanthropic organizations or individuals; when they knew there appeared the first college student, they went to the student’s home collecting his personal information, his growing and learning, gave these materials to other villagers for reference. When discussing the name list of the poor students, they separately visited every household to make sure the validity of the list. In this process, it vividly occurred to them what the grassroots level was and what the social responsibility meant. 

Performances of Fraternity
Students made careful arrangements for the concluding part of this activity: the artistic performance, including singing, dancing, magic shows, poetry reading, and aerobics and so on. After the performance, as an audience, one of the leaders from the local committee said: “ I have seen so many voluntary teachers. But this is the first time I’ve seen such responsible volunteers like all of you. Tonight’s performance said it all.”
At the end of the performance, everyone sang a warm song called “Love on My Mind” together and were unwilling to leave.

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