Villages of Value Program

Perhaps the most impactful project for both villages and students, this project has helped minority villages with issues they cannot address by themselves. In 2008, two teams of students each spent a week in a minority Yi village, building two 10 stall toilet buildings with the villagers. Prior to this, there were 6 roofless toilets available to the whole 200 person village. At the end of the project, the wife of the village head said, through tears, “No one has ever cared about us before.” At the same time, none of the students wanted to leave the village, crying the last evening when the whole village came out to see them off. Many friendships have been made between student and villager. The middle school students in the village have been particularly affected by the volunteers. Three of them have gone to the high school this past autumn saying that they have been inspired by the university students to go to the best one in the county. During the year, students have continued to visit the village when they can, and last spring, for the first time in their lives, a group of young people from the village traveled to Kunming to visit the students.

In the summer of 2009 and 2010, student teams continued to work with this village again and an additional Yi village on water quality projects, building new water catchment pools and covers to protect water quality for drinking. In 2011, a new project is being added, one which will support a Hani village, near the Laotian border, in its efforts to keep its minority culture alive. Students will help the villagers to build a place where they can hold their ceremonies and dances and a small school for the youngest children to continue to learn their native language and crafts. Since the average educational level in this village is 4th grade, students will assist in the setting up of this school. The Hani village project will be active for 3 years.