Recovery was unimaginable after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Sichuan province in 2008, leaving a death toll of 88,000 and a ravaged infrastructure. Two years later, the people of Sichuan have made significant progress in reconstructing their lives. In some areas, the earthquake’s impact is barely visible. Houses have been rebuilt, businesses have reopened, new businesses have been started, farming has resumed in rural areas, and goods are making their way to the city markets.
Give2Asia was the second largest U.S. contributor of aid, raising US$16.6 million, and the Committee of 100 Earthquake Relief Fund was an important part of that effort, contributing US$840,415 to support immediate relief and long-term recovery.
The Committee of 100 supported a wide array of projects to improve living conditions for those affected by the disaster, including scholarships, library construction, agricultural training, services for women, construction of water sources and road reconstruction. It’s clear from the photos below that these projects, run by a variety of groups on the ground in Sichuan, are having a significant impact for farmers, students, business people, men, women and children. The recovery aid has not only helped those affected by the earthquake get back on their feet but raised their standard of living from before the quake.
Here, “water cellars” (underground containers to collect rainwater for safe drinking water) are being constructed in Chashan village, Maoxian. The earthquake destroyed the infrastructure for water supplies and transportation, making it difficult for the farmers to make a living. The Maoxian Promotion Association for Development received a C-100 grant to rebuild roads, form mutual assistance groups, construct water cellars and a water facility building, and provide production support for farming sustainability.
In Chashan, Maoxian, instructors provided agricultural training and were impressed when participants immediately used what they learned by burying rotting fruits on their land to prevent disease in subsequent harvests.
In Chashan, farmers collect apple and plum trees to plant on their farms after completing their training course.
Chasha farmers harvesting Fuji apples, one of the plants provided to them through the project.
Through a Committee of 100 grant to the China Youth Development Foundation, 17 mini-libraries were built for Project Hope schools in Sichuan Province, each containing 2,000 books.
To enable students to continue their undergraduate education and encourage them to overcome the struggles they faced from the earthquake, the “Committee of 100 Scholarship Program” was established at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2008. Financial assistance went to financially disadvantaged students from earthquake-affected counties in Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi Province.
In collaboration with Sichuan University, the Committee of 100 established a scholarship program to support 50 freshmen enrolled in 2008 who came from families with financial difficulties in the seriously earthquake-affected counties in Sichuan Province. Here, a scholarship beneficiary student is expressing her thanks to the donor at the awarding ceremony.
Among those left homeless and economically vulnerable were women and women-headed households in Maoxian County, one of the poorest counties in Sichuan. The Asia Foundation’s China office, with financial support from C-100, was able to assist with housing repairs for hundreds of women in Maoxian and other counties, as well as psychosocial counseling, economic empowerment, and encouragement for women to participate more fully in their communities’ rebuilding process.
Following the reconstruction of their homes through the Asia Foundation project, local women focused on developing the production and marketing of Qiang ethnic embroidery products.
The Kapok Community Development Research Center (KCDRC) designed a project to develop sustainable livelihoods for villagers in Wudu Village of Hanwang Town, Mianzhu City. A variety of new money-making activities were introduced, from this music and dance group to eco-friendly hog and cattle breeding to handicraft production. Now, surrounding villages have approached KCDRC for support as well.