In the rural areas of China, primary and secondary schools are gradually being converted into boarding schools. This allows students who live in villages far from the schools to stay at the school and return to their homes only at weekends. These students are able to enjoy a much more comprehensive education curriculum than would be possible if they were travelling many hours to and from their homes every day.
With the exception of some newly built schools, the vast majority of these converted boarding schools have only very rudimentary facilities. While schools do all they can to meet the needs of students and teachers, facilities by and large remain grossly inadequate.
For example, while classrooms and dormitories may appear fine from the outside, a closer look reveals that many lack heating and air-conditioning or, in some cases, even a fan. It is not so much the cost of the equipment, but the recurrent electricity expenses that the schools cannot afford. As a result, students suffer through cold wind and frost in the winter and dust, flies, and mosquitoes in the summer.
Most toilets have no running water and there is usually no sewage system. Water supplies are mainly drawn from wells dug within the school's compound which allow, at best, a drizzling of cold water from a tap: baths and showers are impossible.
Installing a solar hot water system at a rural school can vastly improve the living conditions of students without increasing the financial burden of the school. This one small improvement allows students to go from not being able to take a single bath for the entire winter to being able to enjoy a hot shower once a week.
It’s a simple but effective solution: A panel of solar hot water tubes installed on a school's rooftop provides 2.5 tons of hot water each day – enough for 100 students to take a shower. Village boarding schools have an average of 400 students, which means a hot shower a week for every student as well as hot water for washing hands and faces.
As solar hot water systems are most effective in regions where there is strong sunlight, the first phase of this project targets regions in the southwest part of China.
A solar hot water system costs RMB 75,000 and includes the following: · Cost of the equipment and its installation, as well as maintenance for 15 years · Cost of conversion of a room into a shower room · Cost of administration
Upon receipt of a donation, Lifeline Express will contact a school (which can be chosen by the donor) and arrange for a visit by the solar system technician. After a physical inspection, a design proposal for the installation will be produced and work will generally commence within 15-20 days. After completion, the school can contact Lifeline Express to report problems at any time, and there will be a follow visit up to repair the solar system.
Over 150 hot water systems have been installed in village schools by Lifeline Express. Provisions have also been made to install solar hot water systems in schools being re-built in the Sichuan earthquake affected areas. The plan now is to work with the Ministry of Civil Affairs to install solar hot water systems in about 300 orphanages situated all over China.
Those of us who have a hot water supply in our homes cannot imagine what life would be like without it. For village schools and orphanages, the provision of a reliable source of hot water can mark a turning point in their lives.
Will you help?
Account name: Chinese Foundation for Lifeline Express
(Donations in RMB and tax deductible receipt issued in China)
Banker: Bank of China Head Office Sales Department
Account No: 778 350 036 467
Account name: Lifeline Express Hong Kong Foundation (Donations in non-RMB currency and tax deductible receipt issued in Hong Kong)
Banker: Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Account No. 511-895955-001
Banker: Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Account No. 012-875-0-0276900