About Blessing Hands
Blessing Hands is a public charity dedicated to helping and nurturing people by providing support systems and improving access to educational opportunities.
Blessing Hands is a 501(c)(3) public charity administered by a board of seven directors under bylaws. Our headquarters is in Morehead, Kentucky, a small college town. Our founder/president is Betty Cutts, a volunteer ESL teacher, housewife, and mother who has a Master's Degree in Education. We are a faith-based charity that seeks to help people help themselves and others.
History of the Program in China
Blessing Hands began in the fall of 2005 as a simple fund to provide tuition supplements for 185
primary and 31 lower middle school children in the Yangshuo County Schools, for a total of 216 children in 30 rural schools. Teachers at a 2005 summer English camp, where Betty Cutts was teaching, reported the names of students in their classes who could not afford tuition for the coming semester.Malan Cai, a professor at Guangxi Normal University in Guilin, China, oversaw this initial program for the Blessing Hands Fund. She had been a visiting scholar at Morehead State University and got her masters degree at Morehead. She handled funds and communication between the Blessing Hands and Gloria Wei, the Yangshuo administrator for Blessing Hands, who also worked for the Yangshuo County Educational Department. Betty Cutts knew Gloria Wei because she was the administrator of the 2005 summer English camp in Yangshuo where Betty taught.
Betty Cutts spoke at clubs and small groups concerning the needs of these students and sent Internet reports and appeals for help for the children. There were no firm plans to incorporate or become a nonprofit charity. In January of 2006, the Chinese Government made an announcement that rural children in Western provinces under 15 years of age would receive free tuition. This change was announced to Blessing Hands donors and adjustments were made to the new situation for the children already enrolled in Blessing Hands, and high school students, who could not pay their tuition, were added to our rolls.
In late February of 2006, Founding Family Charitable Foundation gave Blessing Hands a grant of $25,000 with matching funds also offered until December 31, 2006. This grant came because of an e-mail that was forwarded to the Foundation by a mutual friend. With these new funds, plans were made to increase the number of Yangshuo County children receiving educational aid to 282.
In August 2006 Betty Cutts, Malan Cai, and Nina Ottinger of the Founding Family Foundation were in Yangshuo to observe the Blessing Hands educational aid program, conduct well-child physicals (Nina is a nurse practitioner), and assist with an eyeglass clinic for our students and Yangshuo teachers. A team of six Americans participated in the eye clinic that was a cooperative effort involving the People’s Hospital of Yangshuo, Sister Cities of Morehead, and Blessing Hands.
Blessing Hands Internship
In the summer of 2007, our first intern, Megan Mraz from Morehead State University, spent two weeks in Yangshuo. She participated in a Friendship Art Day where our Blessing Hands students created individual paintings that were entered in an art show in Morehead, KY in the fall of 2007. The winning painting of that show was entered in the Sister Cities International Young Artist Competition in 2008. Megan also participated in a Sports Day and visited schools, which became Sister Schools to American schools. When she returned to campus that fall, she advocated for Blessing Hands students and spoke in area schools. She stayed with a local family while she was in Yangshuo. As funds and arrangements allowed, three other interns, Laura White, Anne O'Brien, and Leanna Gilliam went to Yangshuo in 2010 and 2011 and 2014.
Qinzhou County, Guangxi Province, P. R. China
When the Founding Family Charitable Foundation grant was awarded, a large portion was allocated to the Qinzhou area. The rural schools around Qinzhou City lack the resources of the city schools. All schools that serve the higher middle school students have to charge tuition since the government does not pay tuition for most students over 15 years of age. Betty Cutts taught middle school teachers in an English camp in Qinzhou in the summer of 2004.
Anna Liu, who was the administrator of that summer camp in Qinzhou, later was a visiting scholar to Morehead State University before she became the independent administrator of this tuition program. One hundred and sixty students have been served each school year. Anna was known as a leader in education in the Qinzhou area and has received prizes and awards over the years for her work as a teacher, Her outstanding reputation enabled her to gain the trust of the rural teachers and principals.
For years each rural school sent their students and a teacher to our tuition gatherings. At these gatherings, clothes and school supplies are sometimes dispensed. Later Anna Liu and her team visited each school to give out tuition awards to individual students.
Pen Pal and Sister Schools programs
Blessing Hands also opened up opportunities for our students to communicate internationally through e-pal and pen pal exchanges. We encouraged pen pal matches between students in Yangshuo and American classrooms through our sister schools program, which facilitates exchanges of letters, drawings, and photographs. The American schools and Chinese schools sent Sister School boxes once a year. High school students wrote the email to their foreign friends. This program was suspended in 2012 due to the difficulties of communicating in different languages between schools without internet facilities in rural areas. A Lucille Little Grant also ended about that time.
Guizhou Province In 2012
Blessing Hands began to help primary students and schools in Guizhou Province with school aid and water purifiers in 2012. A water purifier team for the USA joined with a contractor and his volunteers in China to install water purifiers in five schools in Anlong County. A high school tuition program was begun at Anlong No. 1 High School for ten students and later was expanded. Our administrator there, Yaya Luo, is from the Buyi minority and was able to facilitate many projects to help her people.
Du'an County Guangxi Province in 2011
Blessing Hands began with a 2-week Health Assistant Workshop at Longfu Hospital. We began to pay the 10 health assistant's salaries monthly and assisted sponsorship for individual students and one family. We also sponsored the health care of one child who needed an operation to correct a birth defect. In 2015 we gave the handicapped in Du'an wheelchairs and began to assist the Du'an Special Education School. We gave them 18 new computers and the next year we gave them 40 recycled computers and began a distant learning class for the blind students at the school. The next year we began to sponsor 10 students and then 20 students the next year. The next year we began sponsoring 10 high school students at Du'an High School. We soon added 10 more to make 20 students. We will continue at Du'an doing whatever we can to help the area.
Yunnan Province in 2012
Blessing Hands was invited to assume a scholarship program for five Tibetan students when
they lost their USA funder. At the same time, we joined with Joseph Xu and Faith Zhou to help primary students from migrant or minority groups in the Kunming area. We were especially interested in Miao children and began a program just for them in 2014. OurTibetan administrator ceased his program eventually but Blessing Hands continued to help the college scholarships in Shangri-la until all the students no longer needed scholarship assistance. Joseph Xu and Faith Zhou ceased their cooperation with Blessing Hands in 2016 saying their students no longer needed our assistance.
The Miao program expanded under volunteer Ningzi Wang in 2017, and a program was begun in partnership with Good Shepherd Volunteers created and headed by Weijun Hou among the Lisu minority people in 2017.
Hubei Province in 2016
Blessing Hands began to help 10 students at Chibi High School in 2016 and later added 10 more students. In 2017 we added 10 students at Huangmei No. 2 High School. Both of these programs were requested by alumni of the schools. We selected two senior students for college scholarships in 2017. With the passage of the February 2017 Foreign NGO Law in China, we began the process to become a registered FNG in China. The next year Chilbi and Huangmei No. 2 High Schools withdrew from our programs saying their students no longer needed support because of recent help from government programs and citing the instructions of their overseeing authorities to not be involved with a Foreign NGO.
Gansu Province in 2015
Blessing Hands began to help 10 students in Gansu with volunteer Roy Hu Shengbei in his hometown. In 2019, three students have received college scholarships. The program is being gradually reduced as students graduate because of the inconvenience of working outside of Guangxi under the new Foreign NGO law. We presently have to fund our students there through another charity - Future Smile.
Manila, Philippines sponsorship program
In 2012, Blessing Hands began to help students in the Philippines with the help of Volunteers Steve and Jill Hill and Riverspring Primary School. In 2017, we began to sponsor 10 children in the school. In 2019, we began to add more children to the program.
Wuxuan County in 2014
In 2014, we began to help 10 students in Wuxuan County in Guangxi Province with the help of a Chinese charity called Wuxuan County Love Association. We added more students over the years. Many of the students are special education students.
Foreign NGO Law in 2017
Blessing Hands had programs in five providences when the FNGO Law was passed in February 2017. We began to comply with the requirements of the new law and were registered as an official Foreign NGO in November 2017, We were one of the first 3 FNGO registered in Guangxi Province. On September 26, 2018, we were restricted to only serve Guangxi students from our official bank account in Guangxi. To serve our students in Yunnan, Gansu, and Guizhou we began to work through another approved charity, Future Smile.
New proposals are planned for the future. All of these activities are designed to help poor children reach their full potential. The Chinese word for fortune (fu) is also translated as blessings. All people want to be fortunate or blessed. We want to make it more than luck but sure blessings that they receive and pass on to others. We are seeking to help students reach their full potential. They first help themselves, and then they are expected to turn and bless others in the same way.
The Blessing Hands Blog started on August 29, 2005, as a report on Betty Cutts’ visit to rural schools and summer English camp experiences. You can see our history in this blog at this link. http://blessinghands.blogspot.com. When newsletters became more effective, the blog became a place to post recent newsletters and movies.