The Guanlan Scholarship was set up by Dr. Seeberg in 2000 after she had given a keynote address at Shaanxi Normal University on Girls Education in the 21st Century. Her colleagues there told her that locally in the farm villages girls did not go to school past grade 3, but getting girls back into school changed how the villagers viewed them as "little scholars." Dr. Seeberg tells how this inspired her.
"For a mere $10 I could help a girl return to school, change her status in the eyes of the villagers, be respected as a precious daughter rather than ”spilled water,” and then she could change her future, and that of those who would come after. My colleague’s school friend headed the social welfare office for a very poor county in the mountains and helped me establish the Guanlan Scholarship for ten village girls who had had to drop out return to grade 4 and continue their schooling. And so it happened and so it continuous today.
The enormous economic changes in China seriously impacted our remote village ten years later, but girls were still having trouble staying in school, whether left-behind in the village or in segregated migrant schools in the cities where their parents worked.
In 2008, a local boy-made-good, a son of the village joined us in making the Scholarship work for more and more girls. He is the rare person of like mind in the right place at the right time, who now operates a partner non-governmental organization in the area."
Vilma "Guanlan Mama"
PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER
Dr. Seeberg is the President and Founder of Guanlan Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2000. The Sisters know Dr. Seeberg as Guanlan Mama
He is the Director of our partner NGO at Shaanxi Children’s Benevolent Aid Center. He manages the awards in Anjinggou and towns in the area where villagers had migrated, including the “urban village” in Xi’an.
Zoe Guanlan Seeberg is the daughter of Dr. Seeberg, after whom the Scholarship is named. She goes by Zoe in the US, but is known as Guanlan by the Sisters.
In 2022, Yating was admitted to the Graduate School of Law at China Northwest University, a leading comprehensive national university, where she started her law degree September 2023.
“I have good news to share. I was just admitted to Law School!
I remember two years ago, I told Guanlan Mama that I wanted to study law. Now my dream has come true. I'm very happy. I wanted to make sure to tell Guanlan Mama who has been with me since the sixth grade and supported my schooling since then. I really love her very much and thank her very much."
At age 11, as an undocumented 2nd daughter, her parents did not support her schooling. In 2010, her first year on our Scholarship, she attended grade 6 in the local village primary school, a two hour walk from home.
Her parents were subsistence farmers high up in the mountains. Her older sister, who had had to leave school early, helped pay for her schooling. She was determined from early on to study and score high on the senior secondary and then national college entrance exams -- and she did. She was admitted to a national university.
At age 21, Yating became a sophomore studying at Guangxi University, on a prestigious national scholarship.
She worked part time as a waitress and tutor, and in summers volunteered for our partner, the Shaanxi Renai Childrens Center. From here she went on to graduate school, see above!
Shan Dangdang was given away as a young girl to a man with mental illness to keep house for him and his father. Her birth grandmother had died very early, her grandfather had been old, frail and sick, and her parents had abandoned them and her.
Since 2013 Dangdang has been enrolled in the Guanlan Scholarship. Every year our local agent, Pang Baoliang has had to persuade the two older men to let her continue her studies. She did not give up.
In 2017, she finished her coursework in preschool education in a vocational-technical high school in the county capital city.
March 2018, she started her internship in a local, non-public kindergarten.
Here she is, do you recognize her standing confident as a young teacher before village kids like herself in kindergarten? She with our help has changed her destiny and is paying it forward to the next generation.
In 2021 she was a grade 6 primary student. There were three children in her family. Her dad broke his leg and arm while working in construction, so he was out of work. Her mother is a housewife and tends the little plot of crops and vegetables to feed the family. Her brother is in grade 3. Her older sister is a freshman in university.
Our Shaanxi Renai Childrens Ctr. team brought the scholarship funds to her village home along with winter clothes and other life necessities on the annual visits during the pandemic. She continues in junior secondary school.
"College has given me the space to show myself and a platform to pursue my dream. Without your help, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience this wonderful university life I wouldn’t have gotten this professional higher education. Thank you for your help, you gave me hope for getting an education. My desire for learning was like an eagle with broken wings. It is your arrival that gave me the wings to fly and grow in the ocean of knowledge. I will repay you with my achievements, live up to your expectations, and be a useful person for the society. Now I have the courage to face challenges, face setbacks, be a real person and a strong person in life. We may encounter some twists and turns, some difficulties and some hard times, but as long as we persevere and stay firm in our resolve, we will blossom all the way to the other side of success.”
- Excerpt from Dang Yang's 2017 annual letter.
Dang Yang comes from a family of seven. Her mother has a mental illness and her father has a physical disability, but is the only earner in the whole family. With the help of the scholarship, Dang graduated from senior secondary school, and in 2018 was admitted to college majoring in nursing!
Jing He’s family's lives in extreme poverty. Her parents are illiterate small farmers. Her mother has a mental illness, her brother is blind, and her father does unskilled migrant labor which barely supports the family. In addition, her grandmother’s recent illness and surgery threw the family into severe medical debt.
Her smile shows her gratitude for the Scholarship. She studies very hard and her neat and beautiful calligraphy has been honored with awards.
Her dream is to become a teacher in the future.
Yu Yan lives with her grandparents in their old mud brick house on a remote mountain top in Anjinggou far away from her Junior secondary school. Her family is extremely poor. She, her mother, and her grandmother have a mental disability. Ten years ago, her father took her disabled mother with him to the city to work, and they haven’t been heard from since, leaving his young daughter with her disabled grandparents to fend for themselves in the mountains.
Yu Yan dropped out of school for a few years to help her grandparents with the farmstead and housework.
Encouraged by our local agent Pang Baoliang and with receipt of our Scholarship, she went back to school and in 2019 entered junior secondary school as a boarder in town.
Families in the rural mountain village Anjinggou try to make ends meet with farming on the steep slopes of the Qinglin mountains as well as manual labor jobs in towns and cities hours away by motorbike or walking and bus.
Most of the parents of young school-age kids have left the village for work away, leaving their children behind with grandparents to attend poor rural schools.
Since the mid-20-ten’s, most of the young school-age kids have also moved to towns, living with either a parent or relative, to attend rural migrant schools.
As “outsiders” [wailaide] without local residency, they are not entitled to any urban public services, nor are they integrated into regular public schools.
They must return to their county of origin to attend post-compulsory senior secondary school and to take post-secondary entrance exams. These transitions are hard on the urbanized youth.