Wherever we have been during the past year, we will all have unforgettable memories. Some say that it was a very difficult year, marked by natural, social and humanitarian crises… that it was a year of losses, for many people and for human society.

Others, more optimistic, say that 2020 was a year of rediscovering precious things that we had forgotten in normal times, pointing to new opportunities in spite of crises, like bright intervals during a thunderstorm. What is certain is that 2020 has a special meaning for most of us. And especially for Danian’s office.

It has been a year of continuity: we were able to continue and develop our actions thanks to the work of all the previous representatives. In particular, I would like to thank Stéphanie, who preceded me and who did a huge amount of work to structure and standardise the work processes, which greatly facilitated the transition and my taking up the post. We have maintained the foreign NGO licence since 2018 and the activity reports have been approved once again by the provincial authorities. We continue to work on a trustful and cooperative relationship with local schools in the six cantons where we are currently operating. Thanks to a dozen qualitative interviews and more than 250 questionnaires deployed at the beginning of the year, we have gained a better understanding of the needs and expectations of our sponsees, which have served as a basis for thinking about the new focuses of our activities for 2020 and beyond.

We have also greatly strengthened our communication with our sponsees, notably on Moments de WeChat and through the animation of a WeChat group of more than 250 sponsees, to accompany them through the critical periods of their lives, such as the choice of a school after the high school diploma or the admission to a new school. Finally, we have continued to encourage mutual aid between sponsees and their personal empowerment. Apart from facilitating exchanges between sponsees on WeChat and QQ, the campaign in June to share messages of encouragement and study tips for students in preparation for the cycle of studies competition was warmly welcomed: almost 60 sponsees gave their advice and words of encouragement, and realised that they are also capable of helping others.

It has also been a year of innovation and experimentation, based on support in addition to the financial aid of our sponsees. After a first trial in the spring, we experimented for the first time with the digitisation of school results and revised the way they are presented and sent out. With current tools such as WeChat and teleconferencing, we were able to regularly share quality content with our more than 1,200 WeChat contacts and inform them about the activities of our volunteers outside China. Finally, we launched three online conferences with external speakers to share their experience on topics of interest to our sponsees such as adapting to university life or advice on how to improve their English language skills. The provision of two libraries, at the association’s office and in the village of Danian, gave the sponsees and children access to a wide choice of books they had never seen before, and the construction of an online toolkit has enabled parents, teachers and sponsees to benefit from reliable and up-to-date information on a variety of subjects such as choosing a university specialisation and preparing for job interviews.

It has been a year in which we didn’t get to see much of you. Due to travel restrictions, most of the sponsors had to cancel their visit to Danian, and activities planned by corporate sponsors had to be modified or postponed.

It has been a year in which we have felt closest to you. During the campaign to support French sponsors in March, we received videos, drawings, notes, and even cartoons made by our sponsees, with great creativity and care. They say to our sponsors through these messages: “We think very highly of you, take care of you and we will see you soon. “At the end of March, in a campaign undertaken by Yao Shouting, a former sponsee of Couleurs de Chine, almost 60 former sponsees and friends of the association contributed to the purchase of masks in support of France, and 1,100 masks finally arrived in Nancy thanks to the help of Fengyu. In spite of a very difficult year, we have seen the continued and even reinforced commitment of our corporate sponsors and donors.I would like to mention the video of encouragement, the participation in online conferences, the Covid special fund and the visit to Danian by Ardian, the second communication video by Avène, the WeChat communication article by Stago, the chocolate charity box by Valrhona, the free audit by Mazars, the translation of 500 school results by BNP Paribas employees, the hygiene kits and creams for children by Doucéa, the eyeglasses by Izipizi, the kits of supplies and toys prepared by children and parents from the Magnolia school and the Shanghai Scouts, the books from the French school in Shanghai, the 13 boxes of toys and supplies sent by Red Poney, the humanitarian aid to families suffering from a fire in the village of Yangniao through Roselyne’s shop, or books from several individual donors… Each action counts and allows us to move towards a better future for the sponsees and the inhabitants of the region.

It has been a year of separation: we had our accountant and former sponsee, Xiao Ye, leave us to become a kindergarten teacher. But also a year of renewal, with the arrival of another former sponsee, Xiuzhen, as our new accountant.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  If we have been able to survive the year 2020, to adapt to difficult circumstances, to continue our activities or even to achieve something new and to project ourselves into a future of hope in a context of uncertainty, it is entirely thanks to the fruits of the work of previous years, the dedication of all the volunteers, and the support of all our sponsors and donors.

For the new year 2021, we will have a lot of new projects. Some are about continuous improvement on the basis of proven projects, some have been in the planning stage for some time and the necessary resources are finally in place to launch them, and others have finally emerged from inspired discussions. Our priority remains the same: to accompany our sponsees, to open a door for them so that they can choose the most beautiful and promising life possible.

Thanks to you, they will achieve this goal.

For this, we thank you for the light, love and hope that each of you has brought to the lives of the children of the Miao Mountains and the employees of Couleurs de Chine in Danian. We hope to see you again this year and for a long time to come. It is a long road: we wish to travel it together, with you.

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