China's earthquake in May 2008 affected an estimated 46 million people. Fu Jing and Chen Yan are two children who survived the disaster, but lost their schools and dormitories. For thousands of children in this region, living at school is a necessity and part of daily life. When their dormitories crumbled, that security was taken from them.
Like thousands of Chinese schoolchildren, boarding at school is a necessity for Chen Yan, 12: "I have to walk for nearly two hours and climb two hills before reaching my school from our house, so I need to stay in the dormitory,” says Chen Yan.
She only goes home once a week. Since the 2008 earthquake, she must stay in temporary accommodation, in cramped living quarters:
“Each room is packed with more than 30 students and I have to share the bed with another child. The ventilation is also poor,” Chen says.
In the next two years, World Vision will build 13 school dormitories and 36 schools in the hard hit provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan, to benefit 27,500 students. <
Like Chen Yan, Fu Jing, 13 stays at his school dormitory because it takes him more than an hour to walk to school each day. He was outside the severely earthquake-damaged building, watching as it buckled and crumbled to the ground in a frightening aftershock.
World Vision is now helping to rebuild the four storey school dormitories, hoping to provide the children with a renewed sense of security after so much loss.
Fu Jing dreams of becoming a doctor someday. His interest in a medical career was sparked by the medical care he witnessed after the devastating earthquake.
"I want to cure diseases so that people can live comfortably. When a disaster comes, I will be among the frontline responders and save people from death like the many volunteers I saw during the quake,” says Fu Jing.
Revisiting the former site of his campus, Fu Jing is filled with hope for the future. There is a great need for life to return to some normality for survivors of a large scale disaster. World Vision’s emergency response aims to meet survivors’ immediate needs, before work begins with affected communities to map out the next stage in the recovery process - rebuilding.
"I am looking forward to the dormitory that World Vision will be building for us," Fu Jing says. "I hope there are quiet places for us to study," he adds.
Chen Yan’s new school dormitory will also be constructed with the help of World Vision. “I want a balcony,” she says, “because we can open the big windows and breathe in fresh air ... we can plant some flowers too!”