Quake prompts growth in NGOs

Updated: 2013-05-13 09:23

(China Daily)

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Quake prompts growth in NGOs

Fu Chengxi (right) and his wife Zhu Xianbi have improved their standard of living by breeding rabbits with the help of a local NGO. [Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily]

Raising the standards

Leifeng Volunteer Service Station, which has 3,700 volunteers, continues to provide long-term help for quake-hit families.

In 2010, Li introduced Fu to a professor of animal husbandry from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Fu, who had two school-age children, was looking to increase his income and, after discussions with the professor, decided to breed rabbits for a trial period to see if he could improve his standard of living. It was a bonus that his wife, Zhu Xianbi, 44, was able to help with the business.

"Before I began raising rabbits, I worked on construction sites to make cash. But every time a building was finished, the job ended and I had to find another," Fu said.

The business has now grown from an initial six does to around 70. "Often, ideas are more important than actions. If no one had told me about rabbits, I would not be in this industry," said Fu with a smile.

To further raise incomes in "his second hometown", Li Zhenping raised 180,000 yuan ($29,000) to buy and plant 18,000 walnut trees.

In addition, Li's organization provides classes for school students in Mianyang's Youxian district. On April 19, Li's assistant Zhang Pengfei and a number of volunteers made their weekly visit to Weicheng primary school, where they taught around 40 excited kids to recycle used newspapers and fashion them into artworks. The school lost 135 students in the 2008 disaster.

Zhang said the students need stimulation to help them forget the terrifying quake and move forward unburdened by recollections. Meanwhile, the school likes to give the students the chance to learn unusual skills as relaxation from the intense rounds of classes and exams.

Wang Bin, an associate professor of psychology at Southwest University of Science and Technology in Mianyang, who provided psychological counseling for the children after the Wenchuan quake, has also founded an NGO - the Weile Volunteer Research and Development Center. During the past five years, he has been to quake-hit zones in the provinces of Qinghai and Yunnan.

"The work of relieving post-earthquake mental trauma is similar everywhere, there are always common factors. That means we've gained a wealth of experience and the things we learn can easily be transferred from place to place," Wang said.

Over time, the volunteers forged deep friendships with the people they helped, earning themselves nicknames such as "older brother" or "big sister".