April 28- May 2 2024
Palm Springs, CA
Only a mere tot, little Dang ZanHe is already blossoming into a highly energetic and curious preschooler. He finds everything around him new and exciting! His happy spirit clearly evident as he is quick to grab his caretaker's hand and explore his surroundings. "Let's go!" he cried enthusiastically to me, and together, we skipped towards the activity room. Once in the room, he ran full speed towards one of his favorite play things-a toy car. He immediately opened the door and sat down. "Look at me!" he exclaimed. In turn, I warmly responded, "You are handsome!" ZanHe laughed with glee. His wonderment for life extends to even the simplest of pleasures, such as his own reflection. Always excited to share his findings, ZanHe led me to a decorative mirror that hung in the room. "Look!" he said. "So beautiful!" I replied. ZanHe beamed with pride.
Early on, young Dang XiaZhou struggled with developmental issues. For the past three months, however, he has shown steady improvement in his cognitive and physical abilities. He now engages with his peers more often than before, and he better expresses his feelings towards his teachers. For instance, while participating in an origami activity, XiaZhou was determined to master the art of origami. He watched with great intensity as I demonstrated how to properly fold the paper. Once it was his turn, he could not contain himself and immediately set to work. With his nimble fingers, XiaZhou slowly and carefully transformed his piece of paper into a shape, a pair of horns. He lifted his new creation up for me to see. "XiaZhou," I asked, "the paper is folded in half, right?" Smiling sheepishly, XiaZhou replied, "Yes." I continued, "After folding, can you tell me how your paper has changed?" Unsure about how to respond, XiaZhou lowered his head and fiddled with his horns as he thought it over. Moments later, he lifted his creation again into the air and said aloud, "Teacher, my paper becomes small!" Triumphant, he noticed another child struggling with the activity. He set his horns down and went over to him. He patiently demonstrated how to fold the paper. It was clear on XiaZhou's face that helping others gave him a great sense of pride. Soon after, he went back to working on other origami creations, folding and creating as many shapes that he could remember learning about!
Young Dang XiaKe enjoys playing outdoors with his peers. After slipping his hand into one of his playmate's hands, together, they headed outside for their next big adventure. "Oh, XiaKe!" I exclaimed, "Did you spot a dog?" He paused in thought, scrunching up his face. "Can you say dog, XiaKe?" I inquired. "D-d-d-d..og," he mumbled. "Great!" I responded, "Say it again, XiaKe." Bursting into a smile, XiaKe boldly yelled out, "DOG!" His inquisitive mind also extends out to other school activities. One day, his class conducted a science experiment. XiaKe, with a desire to learn, participated in the exercise. The teachers created two different piles. One pile was full of leaves. The other pile was full of feathers. I then instructed XiaKe to stop and feel each pile. XiaKe ran straight for the leaves, having remembered the fun he had playing with them earlier that day. Scooping up the pile---whooooosh!!!----went the leaves into the air. He happily watched them cascade down around his feet. Looking up, he saw his playmates at the other pile blowing feathers into the air with their mouths. "I want to do that, too!" XiaKe said to himself. He tried to blow the leaf the same way. Realizing how difficult it was to do so, he left the pile and joined his peers. He was pleased to see the feathers blowing easily off his hand. "Which one is harder to blow up in the air?" I asked. "The leaves because they are heavier!" said XiaKe. With a knowing smile, he continued to watch the feathers dance in the air.
For the past year, preschooler Dang YiCai has shown tremendous improvement in his development. He is blossoming into a healthy active boy. One of his most memorable moments involved a field trip with his classmates to the local aquarium. There, he watched in awe at these slippery little creatures move about in their blue world behind the observation glass. Quite a fascinating sight! He and the others excitedly wanted to recreate their newfound discovery in their classroom. In no time, the classroom was strewn with crepe paper, cardboard, glue, and scissors. The classroom buzzed with hurried fervor. After cutting out a fish model, YiCai held it up for me to see. "Teacher, see fish!" said YiCai. "What do the fish look like in the aquarium?" I asked. "Red," YiCai promptly responded. "Yes, in the fish aquarium, there are red and yellow fish. They are very beautiful. Do you want to paste colorful scales to your fish so it can become beautiful, too?" I asked. After some time, YiCai transformed his paper cut out into a vibrant red fish, scales and all. He held up his fish and wiggled it, imitating the moving fish he saw at the aquarium. Pleased with his work, he then began chanting the song, "Three Fish," that he had learned in school. In no time, it didn't take long for the others to join in while bobbing their creations in the air. The once simple classroom was now full of laughter and an ocean of fish.
At the Luoyang Preschool, Dang YuQun is known for being a cheerful little boy. He is always willing to participate in school activities with great enthusiasm. On one particular cold day, we decided to teach the children about snow. YuQun sat and listened as we gave safety instructions before heading out. YuQun could not contain himself and talked excitedly with the others about the outing. Stepping outside, YuQun immediately felt the cold winter air brush against his cheeks. "Are you cold?" I asked. YuQun happily shook his head no. Suddenly, YuQun's little world became a storybook-like winter wonderland. As he slowly stepped onto the snow, he could hear the crunch crunch of the snow beneath his feet. His wide eyes watched the snowflakes fall around him. "How does the snow feel in your hand, cold?" I inquired. YuQun quietly nodded his head without taking his eyes off of the strange white powder. Soon after, the children engaged in a fun snowball fight, and YuQun watched on the side with amazement. He didn't know what to think. In no time, a snowball flew in his direction. YuQun was so engrossed in watching the snowball fight that he didn't even notice! He and the children continued to play until it was time to head back. As he returned to the warm confines of the school, YuQun peered over his shoulder, taking one last look at the silver-coated wonderland, before heading inside.
Dear Joe, Stew,
It is my pleasure on behalf of all at Half the Sky to pass on these photos and snippets about the youngsters at Luoyang the Hairy Crabs send their love to ... when you look at these gorgeous little faces and read their stories I hope you know how much your kindness and support means in their lives. Because of you they have loving teachers who care and teach and nurture them, in every way providing hope and a chance for a bright future.
Please pass on thanks from all of us at Half the Sky to all the Hairy Crabs, and please let us know if you would like to visit one day soon!
May I also introduce Maria Tree now our representative in Shanghai ... Maria would love to take you on a visit to see the work you are making possible and to meet these little kiddos for yourselves.
Chief Development Officer
Half the Sky Foundation
Your gifts make a difference! Here are a few of the amazing children who are receiving love and care through Half the Sky Foundation thanks to the generosity of Hairy Crab donors.
ZhiLian has just recently started to really express her own ideas. She used to be so silent and did not speak to the children or anyone. I realized that the most important thing was to establish a connection of trust and security, just like a parent-child relation. Gradually she started to smile more and started taking part in some activities. She is really starting to enjoy playing with other children.
In the past three months QiuQiu gradually has more strength in her hand to grasp things. She is able to take part in more activities, like making things from boxes or newspaper. The children cheer for her and she also dances with joy and excitement. QiuQiu often hugs me tightly and clings to my body. She is very affectionate.
XinYan was in the greenhouse enjoying the flowers with the other children, but one of the children was picking the flowers and throwing them away. XinYan said, “You must respect flowers and plants. Do not pick them like that.” She asked me: “Teacher how can we help the children know not to throw them away?” I told her a love for nature is great and praised her. She was very pleased and smiled. She seemed to know she had found the answer.
YuHai has changed a lot in the last quarter. He listens carefully to the teacher’s instructions and takes part happily in the activities. Recently, he was making a collage with leaves and glue. He was very curious and asked the teacher if his hand would get stuck and if his clothes had glue on them. He wanted to test the adhesive on other things too, like his shoes. The teacher explained that the shoes were too heavy. He was fascinated with learning through this activity and we can see that his cognitive skills are increasing.
During this period, ZiQing made great progress cognitively. He drew a very elaborate picture of the greenhouse and flowers and tried to write something in characters, but he cannot write much yet. The teacher asked him what he was trying to write and he said: “We must not pick the flowers.” He was showing his way to cherish the flowers and the plants. He was very excited and proud.
Dang Xinhui has changed at some extent this quarter. For example, we had a discussion about Spring Festival. We let them talk about what they have seen and eaten these days. Then I began to teach them symbolic animal of the birth year to make the discussion more vivid and more interesting.
“Teacher, I was born in the year of tiger.” Dang Xinhui said.
“Oh, then you are the king of all animals, can you make a tiger with some materials?” I asked.
“I want to draw.” she said after thinking for a while.
“Besides drawing, can you use some materials to make it?” I continued to ask. She looked at me and didn’t know what to say.
“If I give you the materials we have collected, do you have some new thoughts?” I asked her.
“Oh, I know. I will use the peanut shell. It has the same color with a tiger.” She answered happily.
“Oh, it is really a good idea and you are so clever,” I cheered her up with my thumb up. She smiled happily and confidently.
She has improved a lot at thinking development, innovation ability and language through this kind of activities.
Dang Xinyan has changed at some extent this quarter.
She can speak out many numbers in order by using her knowledge when we are carrying on the activity of studying numbers. When I gave her some plasticine then, she was curious and didn’t know how to joint the numbers with it. “Which number do you want to make it into?” I asked her. “I want to make 5,” she said after thinking for a while. After she made it, I praise her: “you are so clever”. “If I want to get 15, how can you make that?” I continued to ask. “I will join 1 with 5.” she answered.
Dang Xinyan has improved a lot both her thinking development and recognition ability through these activities.
Dang Qingqiu begins to communicate with teachers and other children this quarter. When we gave them clamp to play, she didn’t know how to play with it and just knocked the floor with it. Then I showed her how to pinch it again and again. She looks at me happily and dances. I put my finger in the mouth of the clamp and closed it. When she did that by imitating me, she took her finger out. May be the sting made her hurt and she didn’t try to do that again.
Dang Jianlei has improved at some extend at memory and thinking ability this quarter. When we taught the children to sing the children’s song “spring is coming”, according to their knowledge I introduced the song to them at first. Then I led them to recite it after me for a few times. Dang Jianlei was the first child that can recite it. “You are so clever, can you tell me how can you remember this so soon?” I asked. “I have seen the sallow and kite while playing outdoors and I like them very much.” he answered.
I will continue to pay attention to him and help him learn more knowledge easily in the future.
I find that Dang Fuchao has improved a lot at language this quarter. For example, when we went to the greenhouse and listened to the introduction of winter jasmine made by an aunt in the greenhouse. To give them more impressive feeling, we organized a discussion then.
“Children, which season will come, when the winter jasmine bloom listened by the aunt?” I asked.
“I know, I know. It is spring, it is spring.” answered by Dang Fuchao.
“Yes, you are right, dear, but do you know why?”
“Because it is the earliest flower blooming in spring,” he answered after a short thinking.
“Oh, you are so clever. I can see you have learned this by heart.” I said.
Dang Fuchao has improved his language and enhanced his memory in this kind of discussion.