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Spreading seasonal joy at WISS

Giving Tree ceremony was the opportunity to help the less fortunate

Spreading seasonal joy at WISS

On November 20th, WISS attended a Giving Tree ceremony, which took place at Qingpu United Primary. WISS has been involved with the Giving Tree organization for many years, yet many students and parents still do not know very much about how it all works. Of course, everyone recognizes the red and white bag that would be filled by WISS families, but who receives the bags and what does it really mean to those children?         

Here is a little background about the Giving Tree organization. Giving Tree has been operating since 2003 to provide migrant students with a simple bag of school supplies, warm clothes and a toy. The typical migrant school they provide bags for does not have heating or cooling systems or even what we consider to be a necessary part of modern schools, access to computers. So, receiving a fresh box of pencils and a new notebook can really make a difference to a child’s learning in a migrant school.

Qingpu United Primary is a migrant school with 410 students from grade 1 to 5. There are 27 teachers, all of them migrants. 10% walk, 30% bike and 60% of students have parents taking them to school. Luckily, the school provides the lunch for the students so no one has to bring their own. According to the Giving Tree information booklet, most of the students suffer through some educational challenges such as lack of family support because parents are too busy or just aren’t concerned about their child. The school also has problems hiring and keeping their teachers because public schools offer more money to their teachers. Most of these students have both of the parents working at factories, farms or even construction sites and have no kitchen, internal bathroom or heating or cooling system in their home.

Some of the secondary, primary and kindergarten student council and 5th grade singers visited Qingpu United Primary to attend the Giving Tree ceremony. When the WISS people arrived, the students of Qingpu United Primary placed the Giving Tree bags outside their classrooms. So many students there smiled at us with excitement, even some of the teachers asked us if we could take pictures with them. The principal of the migrant school welcomed us. Then, the older students did a really cool dance (so cool that some of the 5th graders joined in) and the younger students did a super cute dance to welcome us. In return, the 5th grade WISS students sang a couple of Christmas carols for them.

The Giving Tree people gave a speech about the history of the charity and the progress of its work. Then, the Giving Tree people did the Giving Tree dance to the Giving Tree song and all students of Qingpu United Primary and WISS joined in on the dancing. After the great dances and speeches, the students returned to their classrooms and then the Giving Tree ceremony began. The WISS people called out the names that were on the different Giving Tree bags and each child happily collected the bag that was his or hers.

As each student opened his or her bag and showed the other children what they got, there was a steady building of excitement. I remember one boy, in particular, who simply hugged his bag without even looking at what was inside, and on his face was a look of pure joy. The look on that one boy’s face made the entire day worthwhile.