Be My Guest | 30 years of devotion: Eleri Wynne from UK endeavors to improve education in Chinese rural areas
Eleri Wynne, born in 1953 in Wales, is a teacher and pianist who is proficient in English, Welsh, French, Swedish, Chinese, and other languages. She has a Master's degree in literature and education from the University of Reading. Wynne has been a resident of China since her arrival in 1992 and claims that after 30 years there, she feels more at home there than in England.
As a young girl, Wynne has always been curious about different cultures and has enjoyed traveling to different countries. She traveled to France, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, and Pakistan, setting her feet on various continents. At the age of 18, she read about China in a book and was fascinated by the mysterious oriental culture. Eventually, she came to China as she wished.
When asked about the reason for teaching in the countryside, Wynne said it had been a long time coming. When she first arrived in China, she found that although college students from rural areas studied very hard, they could never catch up with the city kids in English. Since then, she has been helping children from the countryside, and this led to the idea of teaching in rural areas.
"What rural children lack is not intelligence, what they lack is opportunities, and the children there need me more." Wynne wanted to let rural children see foreigners in person and know that English is not just a subject, but a tool for communication, thus changing their views on learning English. Since then, she has devoted herself to teaching in rural areas.
From Shandong, Inner Mongolia to Hunan and Henan, Wynne has visited hundreds of primary and secondary schools, especially rural elementary schools in remote and poor areas. She not only teaches the children, sends books, but also donates learning tools such as repeaters, and volunteers to train the local English teachers. So far, she has donated tens of thousands of English books to these schools.
"I can help them improve their English speaking and listening skills, while they bring me happiness, and everyone is happy." Wynne does not charge a penny to teach English to children in rural areas.
In 2019, the Shandong Provincial Government awarded her the "Qilu Friendship Award," the highest honor for a foreign expert working in Shandong. "I will stay in China for the rest of my life if I'm allowed to. It's more like a home to me than England!"
Reported by Ding Chunli and Hu Wolong; Produced by Tom WAN