More than 70% of students in rural China experience hunger during the school day. More than 10% are behind in physical development because they don’t have access to proper nutrition. Many children walk for 10 hours to attend school, returning home only on weekends, making school the only source of food during the week.
Primary schools in rural China, especially those in the central and western regions, are in severe disrepair. Mergers have left schools overcrowded and in need of updated teaching and living facilities, including kitchens.
The China Youth Development Foundation’s (CYDF) Hope Kitchen project equips schools with the tools they need to provide safe, healthy meals for students. Kohler China partners with CYDF to donate kitchen equipment, water filtration systems, faucets and sinks to schools in rural China. So far, seven Kohler Hope Kitchens have welcomed students with two more under constructions.
Improving infrastructure for rural schools means a better education and better chance for success for area students. The program also encourages investment in elementary education by local government and draws society’s attention to rural primary schools in the impoverished areas.
Hope Kitchen is the second project on which Kohler has partnered with CYDF. In 2010, Kohler launched the Kohler Forest Project in conjunction with CYDF. That year, Kohler China set a bold goal to plant 1 million trees throughout the country by 2020. That year, the group planted 90,000 and they haven't stopped planting. As of May 2018, Kohler China has planted 324,000 trees. Forests not only provide timber and other products for economic development, they play a critical role in the ecological balance of the environment by providing oxygen, conserving water and maintaining soil structure.