News & Stories
Looking Back on a Year of Giving and Gratitude
2021 was a year in which the hardships caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect the children and families in Pearl S.Buck International’s child sponsorship program, who still needed even more help than usual—outbreaks and quarantines continued to keep children out of school and parents out of work, making it even more difficult to provide educational, nutritional, health, and socialization support to impoverished and marginalized communities in need. But the children, families, and communities served by Pearl S. Buck International were once again able to depend on the unfailing generosity of child sponsors and project donors, who went above and beyond for the second year in a row to provide more support than ever before, making 2021 not only a year of giving but a year of gratitude.
The girls studying at Chongshi Girls’ School continue to receive a good education, grow healthily, and are happy. School programs were organized to develop teamwork, friendship, and mutual understanding. Since 2013, Chongshi Girls’ School has explored more international cooperation with schools and students in America, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Prior to Covid-19, the girls had regular exchange visits with those countries and regions, which broadens their minds and develops their language and communication skills. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, measures have been taken to help the girls avoid being affected and educate them on the importance of taking care of and helping each other, which is the core legacy of Pearl S. Buck. In addition, the school continues to encourage the students to read more books, offering reading lists of books by Pearl S. Buck and other outstanding women and having “read and share” sessions.
The Covid pandemic continues to disrupt life in the Philippines, with many people unemployed or under-employed and the continuation of distance learning in schools, leading to many children dropping out. In the face of all this, PSBP’s current mission of giving hope to children is still focused on giving opportunities to all its sponsored children for access to education. Due to the pandemic, many alternative learning platforms have been introduced, the two main ones being online learning and modular classes. PSBP was able to ensure that all sponsored children were able to enroll in school during 2020-2021. Like last school year, the number of sponsored children who are entering college is increasing. 100% of sponsored children were able to advance to the next grade level. In addition to a primary focus on education, PSBP has expanded a backyard gardening project for families, distributed basic food items and vitamins to sponsored children and families, provided special meals to families at Christmas time, and also started four special projects—a housing project, disaster relief, cybersex awareness seminars, and peer life coaching to help with Covid anxieties.
While Thailand faced COVID-19 infections for most of 2021, the economic impact has been severe and has led to widespread job losses, affecting middle-class households and the poor alike. Under these circumstances, PSBFT delivered food to families affected by Covid-19 and educated them on how to protect themselves from the virus; raised funds to buy families chickens and taught them how to raise them; provided educational programs about AIDS to reduce stigmatization and discrimination, especially against women and girls; and provided the flu vaccine. PSBFT also provided education support to 348 sponsored children and educational materials to promote development in pre-kindergarten children in Mae Ramard district. Sex education and access to AIDS health care and services were also provided by PSBFT. PSBFT provided children living with HIV/AIDS the opportunity and readiness to go to and stay in school—something many children with HIV/AIDS have not been allowed to do due to discrimination and stigmatization—including travel expenses, food, school uniforms, extracurricular supplies, and books.
The Covid-19 situation in Vietnam continued to worsen throughout the year. PSBIV has, despite the many challenges presented by Covid-19, been able to support 574 children in seven orphanages with basic necessities throughout the pandemic thanks to the support of staff, volunteers, child sponsors, and donors. Thanks to generous donations, children with disabilities living in Thuy An Orphanage received diapers to use daily. The orphanages received disinfectant to sanitize and make the living environment of the children clean and safe. PSBIV also provided the children with nutritious meals. In addition, to providing basic necessities, PSBIV also provided children with essential learning items for school. To help keep them entertained and engaged, PSBIV provided toys for the children to play with during the quarantine. PSBIV also provided sandals to children in Birla Orphanage for school and school supplies. This year, a training course on child sex abuse awareness and prevention was also given to children living in the orphanages. Children aged 12 years old and older took a training course on Vocational and Livelihood Education.
Cambodia and Kenya
This year, Pearl S. Buck International, in an effort to expand Pearl Buck’s cross-cultural and life-changing legacy, announced the addition of Kenya and Cambodia to its International Programs. PSBI partnered with the non-profit Chariots for Hope and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House to provide sponsorship opportunities for children living in Ogada Children’s Home, operated by Chariots for Hope. The children living in the home, which is just outside the city of Kisumu, some are homeless. PSBI also partnered with the non-profit Caring for Cambodia to benefit childhood education in Cambodia. Caring for Cambodia strives to help build a national educational system that makes it possible for every Cambodian child to attend school from preschool to 12th grade and to graduate with the skills required for higher education or for obtaining meaningful employment. Through this new partnership, people will be able to sponsor children going to schools operated by Caring for Cambodia in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Child sponsorship through both these partnerships provides the same support given to the children in Pearl S. Buck International’s other country programs—nutritious meals and food security, a clean and safe place to live, and the ability to stay in school and complete their educations, which is the key to lifting themselves out of poverty and building a better life for themselves and future generations.