Although it is early August sun is shining, we can still feel the coldness in the air. We are now at more than four thousand three hundred meters above sea level altitude. After, more than four hours of bumpy ride, we finally arrived at the elementary school for our reading project – Chueh-La Elementary School, located in Qinghai Province.

In 2015, DENER Children Foundation came here to share stationery for the first time. We saw the humble school buildings, the extremely hard environment. Under the bright sun, there were no place to hide, and even more difficult was to see a single bed squeezed with two children.  Two years later, we are back to Chueh-La Elementary School with this project, hoping to get closer to the real lives of these children.

Chueh-La Township is very remote, of the four hour drive from Yushu Town, one third of the road was spent on steep mountain roads. The students, from first grade to fifth grade have no choices but to board at school. They would stay in school for three weeks and go home for a week.  The main livelihoods of these student’ parents are agriculture and herding, or some sell cordyceps

for living, and their material life is not so well.  In response to the season for Cordyceps, the school gives out a month of cordyceps vacation in April each year to allow the children go home to help their parents.

Here at school, in addition to attending lectures, children ’s daily lives also include learning how to take care of themselves and the surroundings, such as maintain the cleanliness of the campus and classrooms and learn how to fold their quilts. At such a young age, they leave their parents for study and are faced to grow alone.

Every morning at 6 o’clock is the time for students to get up and walk around the tower. The temperature difference between morning and evening is huge at plateau. Even in the warmest summer in this region, the morning wind is still cold. We were astonished to see that even the first graders of the elementary school could overcome the cold wind and drowsiness and complete their routine activities in the morning.

But for us, the saddest thing was to see the children’s morning reading session.  All the children squatting in the wind and use tree stems as pen to practice writing on the sand ground outside.

From noon to 3pm is the time for children to rest. They like to joke around with their books in a small open space in front of the classroom. Some children will get together to study and discuss diligently.

There is a stone called wisdom in front of the teaching building. The open space behind the stone is a paradise for them to laugh and play. A balloon can make them excited and happy all day.

And at night, no matter how dark the night is, how cold the wind is, you can always see a group of children around that stone, shaking their head by a dim street lamp, and reading the textbook aloud.

Children in the mountain side do not have the convenient environment and rich resources than the children in town. Looking at these motivated and content children, what we want to do is actually very simple; we want to bring reading into their world and hope that through these books, it will open another door for the children to the world.