Volume 03, Issue 5
A school in Turkey got a new library to house donated books and to give students a place to study. A Japanese day care center that offers emotional support for orphans is now ready to build a facility in Tokyo. A British network of clubs is helping keep teenagers engaged in school and has boosted the students' test scores.
What's the common denominator among these events? They're not only a boon to the communities served by these programs, but they're projects supported by Boeing, through its Community and Education Relations organization.
Like many blind children in China's far-western Shaanxi Province, Li Hao was left to fend for himself in a school that had no teacher training or other resources to respond to his needs. Ashamed of his impairment, Hao sat silently at the back of his classroom as all the activities went on without him.
When Xu Bailun learned of Hao's plight in the summer of 2003 and visited him at school, Hao started trembling and broke out in a cold sweat. Hao's grandfather told Xu that the boy often cried when he came home from school, and his grandfather felt helpless to do anything but cry with him. Hao's older brother Fan, who is visually impaired, also was having trouble in school.
When a massive earthquake ravaged northwestern Turkey in the fall of 1999, it ripped deep into the heart of the rural province of Bolu by damaging a children's primary school.
Unemployment is high in this area, about two hours from Ankara, the Turkish capital. Without all the proper resources, the Inkilap Ilkogretim Okulu (the Inkilap Primary School), which serves first through eighth grades, faced challenges keeping children in school. Indeed, even before the earthquake, the school wasn't big enough to provide all students with a full day of schooling: Half the students attended in the morning, and the rest in the afternoon.
Somewhere over the Rainbow
The Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995 was a nightmare of collapsing buildings and wildfires that killed close to 6,000 people in the vicinity of Kobe, Japan. As many as 573 children lost one or both of their parents. They needed emotional and financial support, and a place to call home.
An organization called Ashinaga stepped in to help. Founded in 1969 to support children who had lost one or both parents in traffic accidents, it's one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Japan. Its name is the Japanese translation of "Daddy Long-Legs," the title of a children's book about an orphaned girl.
In a typical rural Limpopo school, there is no running water. Rising temperatures not only can disrupt the concentration of students and teachers, but it also can force the school day to be curtailed, if not canceled, because of a lack of water. That shortage also limits the use of the few toilets that are installed. Remaining options are inconvenient pit latrines that require expensive chemicals for sanitation.
In full bloom
By the mid 1990s, one of Chicago's prized cultural assets, the Garfield Park Conservatory, had fallen into a state of disrepair. It was so bad that some local officials proposed closing the glass-roofed building, fearing that the early-20th-century structure was more hazardous than helpful to a community that had also fallen on hard times. More than 40 percent of the residents in the neighborhoods around the conservatory live in poverty, and unemployment lingers at nearly four times the national rate. But thanks to the creative thinkers in the city and the community and at Boeing, the conservatory has blossomed again. Its growth has started a renaissance on Chicago's West Side.
When 11-year-old Ellie moved from primary to secondary school, she was considered very bright. Two years later, the British girl's attendance drastically slipped, and school officials feared she wouldn't have the motivation to take the required standard exams.
"I wasn't interested in school," explained Ellie, whose name has been changed for anonymity. "If I did go to class, I'd be there for 10 minutes and then would be sent out for [arguing] with the teacher. I stopped going and would go into town with my friends instead."
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