Yang Guang (Sunshine) Primary School sits in the Xu Ting village of Zan Huang county outside Shijiazhuang city. Xu Ting lies on Mount Taihang on the border between Hebei province and Shan Xi province where the village is surrounded by mountains. Because of the rough roads, the residents lack contact of those outside of the village. Many of the village residents are elders and left-behind children.
The school sits on 12 acres and teaches Grades 1 to 6 consisting of 117 students. The number of left-behind children, single parent children and orphans totals 78. Cao Jinli, the schoolmaster, because of poverty, was dropped off at the school when he was in high school. He became a substitute teacher in this mountainous area in 1994 where he remains.
Because of the long period of companionship with the children in the village, Cao wanted to set up a real village school for the left-behind children. With the help of his friend Mu Yanning, he started this school using almost all of their assets along with loans from their family and friends.
The school provides lodging for the children. The teachers not only care about their study, but are also responsible for their parenting.
While caring for the left-behind children, another mission of helping the poor arose. The school is bringing up a number of orphans and children who are in extreme poverty.
As a non-government funded school, to reduce its expenditures the teachers and students plant vegetables on their own. They have tried to decrease the operational spending and are thrifty, but were not successful. Cao came up with the idea of holding summer and winter camp activities which attract urban children to the village. These colourful activities help children to experience much and has helped compensate the financial gap of the school.
Because parents of the left-behind children are not by their side, and their grandparents who are illiterate have to farm, family education for these children is almost nil. Fortunately, the school brought in Ti Tzu Kui (Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child) lessons according to Sinology (the study of Chinese language, history, customs and politics) to cover the shortage of family education.
Unfortunately, on July 19, 2016, the big flood inflicted a heavy loss on the school. The wall collapsed, the storage area flooded and the road was washed out. With the help of the teachers, students and kind-hearted people in society, they finally overcame this hardship and the students were able to begin their studies on time when September 1st arrived.
Besides the school setting activities for the old in the village, they freely offer them their nutritional food.