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The People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous nation with a country of over 1.35 billion people. Since its economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It often is regarded as an Asian powerhouse. While its rapid economic expansion has helped large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Chonqing, there are still many rural areas that lack the basic necessities such as proper sanitation, healthcare, education and welfare.
Yang Tzai Village in Guizhou Province one of the poorest in the whole of China , consists of approximately 400 people and is about an hour and a half away from the town of Zhaotong. The journey to the village is rough and bumpy as the government has not stepped in for the development and building of proper roads leading to such villages, rampant in other parts of China.
In 2010, Sister Mariah Mah was brought to see this very poor remote village in Yangzai, Guizhou province. Houses are made of mud walls , without proper sanitation or toilet facilities There are about 80 families comprising 400 residents and all depend on farming for their livelihood. Farmers’ average annual income: 10,000 RMB or $2000 Spore dollars .
Yangzai village kids living in mud houses
The newly built Al Falah Preschool
There are 60 primary school pupils who have to walk about 3km to school daily while 20 secondary school children stay in school’s dormitory as the school is about 6km away and they go home during weekends. As for preschool children aged 3-6 there are more than 80 of them who have no preschool to attend and they play and fritter their time away!!!
Sis Mah saw the urgent need to build a preschool to cater to the kids education and to ground them in basic Islamic knowledge, learning of Iqra , simple doas and juz amma! Even primary school kids were ignorant of Islamic knowledge and practices. No kids seem to be praying at all!
Alhamdulillah a group of SMU(Spore management university) students approached Sis Mah to do a community service project in China. They successfully managed to asked Ramatan Lil Alamin to donate $80,000 towards the school project. A generous Muslim donated $60,000 to build the masjid.
All the villagers contributed a piece of the hilly undulating land which took several months to level and it became the site of the Islamic center. Donors were approached to help build the classroom block, a dormitory, central kitchen, imam's living quarters, a masjid, wudu place and toilets .
In 2011 funds raised could only build a 2 storey school building, and the imam’s quarters. When the school opened in 2012 the imam took in 15 teenaged boys to learn under him and turned 2 classroom into dormitories while 30 kids occupy one classroom and teachers made one classroom into their dormitory!!
Things turned for the better when we managed to employ a Principal and an accountant who actively promoted the preschool in Yangzai and in surrounding villages. A third storey was added to provide more classrooms.
Staff & Principal Daud Ma
2010 December 8-21st FIRST SMU Team Xingfu I and 2011 June 6-20th Second Team NTU YuKnightsstudents from the two Universities work hard to paint all the 10 classrooms in Al Fattah Preschool.
SMU students, followed by NTU n NUS students who came to help in the Yangzai project, hope to make a lasting direct impact on the lives of the villagers. Firstly by providing young village kids an opportunity to be educated. Secondly, providing an attractive and fresh façade for the preschool would have a positive impact on brightening the children’s learning environment. Initially the kindergarten exterior walls were white and bare. Painting the exterior walls and classrooms with bright colours would certainly give the building an enhanced look.
When the new term opened in September 2013 there were 96 pupils and 4 teaching staff . Fees were waived for one semester to attract more pupil enrolment and generous Muslims donate fisabilillah to this amal jariah project.
This first batch of students were all raring to learn.We could not take in all the village kids. Only those who were 6years old ready to proceed to Primary one the following year were given priority. Funds were sought to add another storey to make a third floor as there was hardly any space!! In the next semester enrolment increased to 135 kids then in September 2014 –187 kids, Sept 2015 286 kids and February 2016--- 367 kids and 20 staff. Al Fatah has gradually become renowned in the village for its effective learning program cum Islamic knowledge. It took us 4 years 2010--2014 to raise $600,000 in all to complete the project furnished it and equipped it with soft ware and classroom facilities ! Alhamdilillah and a BIG THANK U TO ALL OUR DONORS!!! MAY ALLAH REWARD THEM IN ABUNDANCE HERE AND IN THE HEREAFTER!!!
As more parents from surrounding villages, not only from Yangzai came to register their children we were desperately short of space !
We even have to convert the kids playrooms cum dining into a huge crammed space for kids afternoon nap!! Some classrooms are crammed with 50 kids!!
In January we were notified by the Ministry of Education that we have to close down the Preschool as the premise sits on the same waqaf land as the masjid.They do not want kids to be affected by any Islamic influence . In China only those above 18 years old are allowed to pray in the masjid!! We were told that after Chinese New Year 2016 we were not allowed to operate as the school will be declared illegal. Fortunately we were able to source out a piece of land near the school which the Ministry has approved. Several villagers mortgaged their land to borrow money to buy the land at 200,000 chinese yuan.
WE sought reprieve for 6 months April-September 2016 to build the new preschool which we target to accommodate 500 pupils.
With the building of the New Fatah Preschool to be known as al Falak Preschool, the present Al Fatah has been converted into LEARNING CENTER CUM dormitory to house orphans , single parent kids and also to provide accommodation for kids from far off villages who have to walk 7 km to their primary school every morning. Right now we have 30 such kids in our al Fatah preschool premise.
SMU students ,followed by NTU n NUS students who came to help in the Yangzai project , hope to make a lasting direct impact on the lives of the villagers. Firstly by providing the kindergarten-aged students the means to an education.
Secondly, providing an attractive and fresh façade for the kindergarten would have a positive impact on brightening the children’s learning environment. Initially the kindergarten exterior walls are white and bare. Painting the exterior walls with bright colours would certainly give the building a kindergarten look.
All classrooms and murals are the hard work of our undergrads!!!
Project Xingfu VI 2017 - SMU students revamped a classroom into a READING ROOM for the Al Fatah Learning Center and Volunteer members from the Majulah Organisation helped to repaint the walls.
WE started building the 3rd Preschool in April 2016 estimated construction cost $500,000(SGD) and another estimated $100,000(SGD) for amenities and infrastructure software. By December 2016 within half a year we managed to complete it. Farmers mortgaged their land to borrow about $100,000(SGD) from banks. We managed to raise another $150,000(SGD) from donors but we were still short of paying the contactors $250,000(SGD) and the Principal dared not go home to sleep as creditors were waiting at his home, threatening to burn the school bus and even kidnap some kids. Alhamdulillah a Lucky Star—a generous kind Donor came to the rescue to save the situation!
We named our Third preschool Al Falak which means the celestial STAR (NUDGEM) TOTAL COST --- $600,000(SGD)
The school has 10 big classrooms each size 110 sq meters with attached toilets and a sleeping area for kids’ afternoon nap. It can accommodate 500 Muslim preschoolers!
Orphans and those from single parent families are waived fees. With contributions from our Donors as well as many well wishers we were able to complete a water project as well as to equip the school with electronic writing boards, desk chairs, heaters and a host of amenities. Alhamdulillah and thank you Donors!
Al Falak has 25 teaching staff and Principal Daud Ma Guan Ying (extreme right).
In December 2016, pupils from Al Fattah moved into the new premises and with many more newly enrolled kids too. But unfortunately we were not able to take in all as we had to convert one classroom into a dormitory for 20 stay in teachers.
One of our classrooms has been converted into a dormitory for 20 teachers.
Al Falak has 10 classrooms but we could only afford 5 electronic blackboards owing to constraint of funds. The rest of the classrooms use a portable blackboard.
Open compound in front of the school is used by Al Falak kids for assembly, play and exercise. However when it rains, there will be no activities.
Kids help to clear utensils after lunch. Good co-operation!! Good Habits!
We plan to build an annexe building comprising a Multifunction Hall for our pupils in case of poor weather outdoor and a few storeys of studio bedroom suits with kitchen and toilets for our staff. Estimated cost $200,000 SGD.
ALHAMDULILLAH AND THANK YOU DONORS FOR HELPING TO PROVIDE PRESCHOOL EDUCATION TO OUR POOR MUSLIM KIDS IN THE VILLAGE.
WE PRAY YOU WILL CONTINUE TO HELP US WITH ZAKAT AND SEDAQAH TO SUSTAIN THE SCHOOL AND MAKE IT THE BEST MUSLIM PRESCHOOL IN THE COUNTY OF QIAN SHUI YANGZAI, GUIZHOU PROVINCE. INSHA ALLAH!
Do help us to raise funds to build the school annex! Insha Allah!
MAY ALLAH REWARD ALL OUR DONORS WITH IMMEASURABLE REZKI AND BARAKAH! AMEEN!
Youth Expedition Project (YEP) has been a key programme to encourage volunteerism among our youth since its inception in 2000. YEP supports youth to embark on community Service-Learning projects with the objectives of building up self-confident youth volunteers who can identify needs and contribute to the community both at home and abroad.
A collaboration between a charity organization, ZJC Charity Service Centre and a strong team of 19 members comprising of students from NUS and NTU with various disciplines embark on an experiential learning journey to touch the lives of children in one of the poorest regions in China. ZJC Charity Service Centre, the first Muslim NGO in Zhang Jia Chuan Muslim Autonomous County, Gansu, manages education and social welfare projects.
This expedition encourages NUSMS, NTUMS to foster deeper relationship among them. This serves as an excellent learning platform to promote understanding and mutual respect. Kindness, respect, love are just few of the universal attributes that goes beyond race and nationality, that speak beyond borders.
Their goals is to share practices of good personal hygiene habits with the people, impact basic english language knowledge, to make the classroom a better learning place as well as assisting locals in the re-designing of their garden which includes landscaping and concreting.
NUS & NTU collaborated to build 2 preschools in HABA MOUNTAIN’s two Muslim Villages, named Lan Jia Chun (population 200) and Long Wanbian (population 400) respectively. Villagers here have been influenced by Tibetan culture and way of life for almost a hundred years. Shangrila is an autonomous Tibetan region under the administration of the China Government. The two villages are located up the Haba Mountain 3000 feet above sea level. There were no preschools at that time and children were left running helter skelter and playing till they reach school age 7 years old.
Owing to the shortage of space the preschool premise is used during Ramadan to break fast.
School premise used during Ramadan for Iftar-breaking fast
Kids outside their small preschool comprising only two classrooms
NTU team helped to refurbish a preschool in Long Wan Bian village