CityCare, a not-for-profit humanitarian organization, has taken on the task of providing ongoing support to the children who have lost one or both parents in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Contributed By Yue Kay Boon
It has been two years since the May 12 Sichuan earthquake took place, claiming 68,712 lives, devastating schools and homes, and leaving behind thousands of orphans.
Less than a month after the disaster hit in early June 2008, teams from CityCare entered into the earthquake-affected areas. Working with the Sichuan Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, an aid agency that serves the underprivileged in the Sichuan province, CityCare donated 500 relief tents worth S$135,000 to help house those whose living quarters had been destroyed.
Realizing that repairing the devastation of Sichuan required far more than a one-time injection of aid, CityCare determined to make helping Sichuan an ongoing priority for the organization. The teams’ early journeys into Sichuan showed the urgent need for life to go on as normally as possible for the survivors, particularly the school-going children who had lost one or both parents.
To raise funds for the continuing disaster-relief work, CityCare held a charity art auction-cum-exhibition “Unshakable China: One People, One Spirit.” This exhibition featured 100 art pieces created by Chinese artists, some of whom are quake survivors. The four-day exhibition raised more than S$370,000 which went to the reconstruction of a primary school destroyed in the earthquake, and to providing educational bursaries for university students in the province.
Beyond the rebuilding work, CityCare saw the need for financial support for the families devastated by the earthquake, many of them now single-parent families. For this program, which benefited 140 families in Pengzhou, Sichuan, a further RMB$140,000—each family received RMB$4,000 over four installments—was raised from kind-hearted donors from City Harvest Church. These funds were specifically to be used for the children’s educational expenses.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITYCARE
Qingchuan Qiaozhuang Youngor Primary School
Located in Qiaozhuang township, Qingchuan county, Sichuan province, the school has a student population of 906 and a teaching staff strength of 97. Like all public primary schools in China, it provides six years of free and compulsory primary education and serves the surrounding 10 townships and villages.
The total cost of constructing the school is RMB$32.47 million, or about S$6.5 million. The main sponsors are the municipal government of Ningbo in Zhejiang province and Youngor Group, a Chinese fashion group and property developer. Youngor Group contributed RMB$25 million (S$5 million).
CityCare’s contribution of RMB$760,000 (S$152,000) is part of a combined fund from Singaporean companies that went toward the construction of one of the main blocks in the school.