Educating Girls in China: One Helps One Program

When I visited Cao Hai Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China, in 2000, to research Circle of Cranes, I was unprepared for the extreme poverty and the fact that so few of the girls could afford to attend school.  Since that time, my husband, Michael Sather and I have been supporting the education of two girls in the One Helps One Program.  This program is administered by the International Crane Foundation (I.C.F.) and is supported by approximately 27 donors in Canada and the U.S.  There is no administration fee.  For just $20. U.S. a year, the price of a couple of Starbucks coffees and desserts, a donor will enable a girl to attend school for a year.  Not only will a girl get an education under this program, but she will also learn about conservation of the endangered black-necked cranes in the Nature Reserve.

Every child deserves an education, but of the 75 million children in the developing world that do not attend school, the majority of these children are girls.  Studies show that when a girl has even a few years of schooling, she will ensure that her own daughter goes to school.  This breaks the cycle of poverty.

In Circle of Cranes, Suyin, the main character, dreams of “a village of educated girls who would send their daughters to school so that the seed of hope she’d sewn across time and distance would flower a world away.”   Suyin is my voice and my hope for change.

Anyone interested in supporting a girl’s education for a year through the One Helps One Program, may contact   As a donor, you will receive a photograph and a letter from the girl whose life you’ll change.  Your letter will be translated by high school students in Wisconsin under the auspices of the International Crane Foundation.   In Canada and the United States, we take education for granted.  It’s hard for us to imagine so many children who see education as a pipe dream, one that may never be fulfilled.