Related News

Home » Feature

Warmhearted folks give long-term aid to Sichuan students

TO mark the one-year anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake, a new charity has been launched in Shanghai to help quake-affected students in Dujiangyan City. It's not one-off cash assistance, but long-term support that will improve their lives. Xu Wei reports.

Like many retired residents, 85-year-old Aunty Hu Wenjuan and her 89-year-old husband Lin Tianlu lead a simple and contented life.

They exercise in the morning and attend singing classes in neighborhood groups, but doing charity work is now an integral part of their lives.

And it makes a rather ordinary couple quite extraordinary.

They recently donated 1,200 yuan (US$176) to poor students in Dujiangyan City in quake-hit Sichuan Province.

They are part of a new child-focused charity project launched recently in Jing'an District.

It is one of many in Shanghai, which has been designated to aid Dujiangyan in multiple ways.

The Sichuan city of 650,000 was devastated by the quake on May 12, 2008, and 80 percent of its buildings were destroyed.

The famed tourist attraction is named after the Dujiangyan Irrigation System built around 250 BC.

"Both of us experienced gloomy and difficult days of poverty and turbulence before the New China was founded," says Aunty Hu. "We're grateful for the care and support we received from our country. It's time for us to give back to the society."

Hu is a retired garment factory worker; Lin retired from a bus transport company. Both have been living on small pensions since the late 1970s.

The couple's monthly income today is just 2,000 yuan, their pensions.

They have six children, including some laid-off workers suffering chronic ailments.

Since 1997, however, the couple has managed to save and donate to charities helping poor children in Shanghai.

Over the past decade, the couple has donated more than 100,000 yuan to support 16 poor children in their community, paying for schooling and other expenses. Some are orphans.

Last May, when they heard about the Sichuan earthquake, they immediately donated 3,000 yuan and 12 sets of winter quilt.

"It is very easy to do a single good deed, but it is hard to do good all one's life," says Lin. "For us, age is not an obstacle to doing good things. We will dedicate our remaining years to helping people in need."

Hu and Lin are in contact with the students through letters and telephone. This summer vacation and next winter vacation, the students will be invited to Shanghai to meet their benefactors - Hu, Lin and many others.

On May 22, charity organizers will fly to Sichuan to meet their young friends and sign assistance contracts with their families. The major organizers are the Jing'an District Civil Affairs Bureau and the Bai Wanqing Volunteers' Center.

"Since the launch of the charity program, we have received many calls from warmhearted people who are eager to help," says Cheng Jing, an organizer. So far around 20 individuals and companies have applied.

Frank Dong, president of Canadian FK Group, is one participant. He says assistance that focuses on long-term life improvement is more effective than one-off cash donations.

"This can foster a stronger public sense of social responsibility," he says. "Charity should not just be a fad, but a long-time passionate undertaking."

Dong's group has access to advanced technology for earthquake-resistant construction and will aid in school reconstruction.

The production team of the popular daily mediation TV show "Old Uncle" will also help two poor students of Dujiangyan.

"The charity coincides with the aim of our program - to encourage disadvantaged people to move on, pursue their dreams and never give up," says "Old Uncle" director Yin Qingyi.

This multifaceted program of good deeds in Dujiangyan will be ongoing.

Those interested in applying for the project to financially aid the students in Dujiangyan can call 6248-0071 or 6248-1163.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend