SALT, Chapel of the Resurrection
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Shui 2 Go! Pipeline to the People - 2009 WORLD RELIEF CAMPAIGN
A CASE FOR SUPPORT
“Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in
human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights.”
-The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights,
Environment News Service, 27 Nov 02
Introduction and Executive Summary
SALT is the Spirit-led social justice ministry of the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University in which students in community seek to embody the Christian call to be the "salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13). SALT helps students develop a passion and practice of Christian social action. SALTers draw upon God’s love for people to cultivate the skills of community organizing, awareness raising, and fund development. SALT alumni are equipped to lead lives of social justice and serve as agents for positive change in their communities.
As an essential part of this mission, SALT partners with both international and local communities in order to address critical needs within those areas. Every year for the past two decades, SALT has selected a specific project in need of funding and organized a fund raising campaign around it known as the World Relief Campaign (WRC). These projects vary greatly in location and type, but consistently offer a sustainable asset to the selected community. Once the project and target monetary goal are established, SALT works to educate and organize the campus and surrounding community in order to both increase awareness of the need within that region and raise funds.
SALT is excited to announce that the 2009 WRC “Shui 2 Go! Pipeline to the People” will benefit the
village of Saihan (pronounced sigh-hahn) in the Yunnan province of China. This campaign will
fund the development and implementation of a sustainable, gravity-fed pipeline system to bring
year-round clean water to nearly 900 people in the rural village of Saihan. The inspiration for the
title of this year’s campaign comes from the Chinese word for water: Shui (pronounced Shway). SALT will be working in cooperation with the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation (CWEF) to carry out this fund raising campaign and educate the Valparaiso community about the impact of water issues in this world.
A Brief History of China and Yunnan Province
China is a land of 1.3 billion people with land area approximately the same size as the United States. China's phenomenal economic growth since initiating a new policy thirty years ago to encourage development has succeeded in bringing millions of Chinese people out of poverty. The population is increasingly concentrated in the eastern and southern portions of the country as people shift from the countryside to work in factories and cities. Much of the rapid growth and development is also concentrated in those areas of the country.
Yunnan Province sits in the southwestern corner of China. Tibet and Sichuan Province border Yunnan to the north. Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam border it on the south and west. Approximately
40 million people live in Yunnan. It is a land of great geographical diversity. At the border with Tibet the Yunnan people live in the "foothills" of the Himalayas with elevations reaching over 20,000 feet. At the border with Laos the geography could hardly be more different with tropical lowlands, banana trees, and roaming elephants.
Even with recent economic success, China is a large country with many people who continue to struggle to make a living. Because of its unique geography, Yunnan has lower population density than some areas in eastern China. The mountains and rivers have created historic boundaries between ethnic groups and commerce. In order to improve their family's standard of living, it is common for family members, usually men, to travel around Yunnan or to other areas of China seeking better paying jobs. Wives and children stay at home to continue farming.
Yunnan is filled with many diverse ethnic groups. Each has its own language, customs and food. One of the ethnic groups is the Bulang people. They live in the areas of southwestern Yunnan as well as Laos and Myanmar. The village of Saihan is one of the Bulang villages in this area. The Bulang people have maintained many of their traditions. Saihan is far from any commercial center. The county seat is a 2 1/2 hour car drive from the village and villagers do not have cars. Some villagers have motorbikes that they use to transport items to and from the market. Farming is all done by hand and villagers primarily grow corn. Some villagers have pigs or chickens that they raise as well. The best cash crop is sugarcane. In some years Yunnan's famous tea, Pu-er tea, can be sold for a profit, but after a peak in 2006 the price has been low for the last two years. The average annual income per person is around 1000RMB (USD$147).
China has a vast educational system reaching into the rural areas of the country. As the country seeks to reach all of the children with educational opportunities it is moving towards more boarding schools in rural areas. This allows the government to find trained teachers and build adequate facilities. It also means that children begin to live away from their villages starting sometimes in kindergarten or first grade. The first task of these rural students from different ethnic areas is to learn Mandarin Chinese since they do not speak it at home. There are many challenges facing these students as they rise through the educational system and strive to reach the university. Very few rural students make it that far. It requires great determination as well as staunch support from parents. The majority of rural students discontinue their studies by the end of middle school. As a result, they have limited opportunities for improving their income while staying near their village home.
Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation (CWEF)
Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation is a Hong Kong based non-profit organization founded by Christians and dedicated to improving the livelihoods of impoverished communities in Asia through education and service. CWEF partners with local communities, organizations and governments to identify sources of poverty and implement education and community development programs.
CWEF holds five core principles: sincerity in action, bridge building, commitment to local needs, sustainable impact, and empowerment. The organization was originally founded in the late 1990’s.
CWEF coordinates and implements projects in three main areas: education projects, rural
development/building projects and public health and sanitization projects.
Education projects range from providing scholarships to school resource material projects, to healthy school trainings. Rural development projects include the building of schools and clinics, the coordination and implementation of clean water projects, micro-credit loans to rural farmers, and bio-gas/household latrine donation projects. Public health and sanitation projects include village doctor trainings, medical instrument trainings, TB trainings, and drinking water sanitation trainings.
CWEF implements and conducts all projects in compliance with the laws, regulations, and standards of their government partners in China. All of their programs are designed based on the actual needs of the individuals living in project areas and are managed with the cooperation and support of local leaders and governmental bodies to ensure success.
Shui 2 Go! Pipeline to the People
In the Shuangjing County, where Saihan is located, only 30% of all villages have clean drinking water. Village women spend 2-3 hours everyday gather water for their families, and the average villager is only able to bathe once every few weeks. Fortunately, in the Lincang prefecture in southwestern Yunnan there are many mountain springs with consistent water sources that are clean and healthy for consumption. CWEF works with the local government bureaus to test the water source and design a gravity-fed system which pipes the water without use of a pump (pumps require maintenance which is difficult for the villagers) to a cistern on the edge of the village. The water is then piped from the village cistern to each household in the village. The villagers themselves will be responsible for most of the work of installing and maintaining the water system.
Providing drinking water to a village is a very tangible way to improve the lives of people in rural Yunnan. It saves women and children many hours of carrying water for cooking and cleaning. It provides adequate water to raise additional animals to sell at the market. Also important, it gives CWEF an opportunity to teach the villagers about some basic cleaning and hygienic habits that they would not have engaged in without easy access to water. By washing hands and having water accessible when children experience illness, there can be real improvement in village health and life. Finally, the hours saved can be spent caring for family members and also continuing long-standing traditions such as embroidery that are really important to the minority ethnic groups.
The intended outcome of the 2009 WRC: Shui 2 Go! Pipeline to the People is threefold: 1) First, SALT has set a monetary goal of $15,000 to be raised by May 2009, which will be used to fund the sustainable pipeline system to Saihan, China.
2) Second, SALT is seeking to educate VU and the Valparaiso community about the culture and people who live in China (specifically the Yunnan province), and the effects of water issues on these rural populations.
3) Finally, SALT hopes to equip and inspire student leaders to become lifelong activists.
Partners and Supports
Thus far, the following individuals and organizations have joined with SALT to make this project possible:
Pastor Joseph Cunningham, Dean of the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University Pastor Darlene Grega, University Associate Pastor, Valparaiso University
Pastor James Wetzstein, Associate Dean of the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University Dustin J Wunderlich, Director of Media Relations, Valparaiso University
Zhimin Lin, Chair of Chinese and Japanese Studies Program, Valparaiso University Chinese Student Association, Valparaiso University
Events and Fundraisers
February 3: WRC Benefit Concert with Nate Houge & Micah Taylor
February 6-8: WRC Kick-off Weekend
Opportunities for Offering Support
SALT gratefully accepts any personal and corporate monetary donations. Furthermore, campus and community social organizations are encouraged to plan fundraising events. Anyone interested in working directly with the project may attend upcoming on-campus fundraisers organized by SALT, as well as join our meetings on Tuesdays at 9:30pm in the Lumina Room of Huegli Hall. SALT welcomes opportunities to speak to campus groups, congregations, and community organizations. Finally, SALT invites you to pray for this worthy cause and seek opportunities to serve those in need in your community and around the world.
Donations may be directed to:
Chapel of the Resurrection
Valparaiso, IN 46383
*Checks payable to Valparaiso University with “Shui 2 Go!” in the memo line
You can donate online at: (web address TBA)
Questions may be directed to
Rebecca Lohrmann, WRC Chair
Other Contact Information
Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation: Michelle Hoeppner, firstname.lastname@example.org Shui 2 Go! Pipeline to the People Website: http://www.valpo.edu/chapel/salt/wrc09.php
Research: John.Webster@valpo.edu, Rebekah.Schmerber@valpo.edu
Activities: Megan.Lee@valpo.edu, Claude.Renner@valpo.edu
Prospect Identification: Abby.Lange@valpo.edu, Alissa.Kretzmann@valpo.edu Records: Sally.Forsythe@valpo.edu, Janet.Pfister@valpo.edu, Krista.Schaefer@valpo.edu