Rädda Barnen - Case Stories
Jing is a fourth-grade student at Huamiao Primary School, An county, and was taking the final exams when we visited her. The school had to be knocked down after the earthquake and we provided supplies to help all the students get back to school as quickly as possible. Jing says she was surprised and happy that she was able to get back to lessons so soon
“I’m glad school has started again before the end of this term. Now I’m not even scared about my exams. When the earthquake hit, teachers quickly got us out of the classroom. In the playground, we saw the ground was really shaking, making tiles and even walls fall down. Although the teachers and students were all safe, our textbooks and schoolbags were left behind. Our teachers repeatedly warned us not to go back in for things. Later, the People’s Liberation Army soldiers came and bulldozed the school. Although our teachers said the soldiers would come back to build a better school for us, we felt really sad when we saw the debris.
After that, I helped my family with farm work like collecting vegetable seeds and transplanting rice seedlings. The family has had work as migrant labourers since I was born. I know that they hope I’ll have a promising future, so I study hard to get decent scores. I was worried when the school closed. I didn’t think we’d be able to go back so soon. One day a teacher came to my home with news that the school had tents and new desks and chairs, and lessons would start again in two days. I was so happy that straight away I helped teachers go around telling the other students. Even though we have classes in a tent at the moment, we’ve got new desks and chairs and we think the new school will be very nice. I know a lot of people are trying to help us, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
XU KESHENG'S STORY
Xu Kesheng is a maths teacher at Xiaoba Town Primary School. After the earthquake, he became a volunteer at one of the children’s spaces we set up in An County. Our experts provide training workshops in how to work with children who have been through traumatic experiences. Xu says the training has been very useful and that, as well as using the training when he volunteers with us every afternoon, Xu now also incorporates the concepts into his daily teaching.
“I just finished a maths session for the third grade and am about to do another. The next lesson would have been English, but we have no English teachers at the moment. Our class had more than 30 students but now there are less than 30. Some of them were taken out of town by their parents and will come back when the school opens in September. These children’s parents work outside town and the caregivers that would normally look after them, like grandparents, can’t now because their homes have been so damaged. Their parents had no choice but to take them away.
“Our school had weak foundations and was built in an area of Longmen Mountain especially vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes, so it was destroyed when the earthquake hit. The government constructed some basic buildings for the school, near the settlement site where affected families have been sheltering. Then, around two weeks after the earthquake, Save the Children sent staff to find out what we needed. The government had already offered the teaching aids we needed to get the classrooms up and running, so we said what we needed most was bedding for the dormitories, fans and general living supplies for the boarding school students.
School was due to resume on 30 May and by 28 May Save the Children had already sent the supplies, including 400 sets of bedclothes and 55 electric fans, which straight away improved students’ living conditions. Before that there had only been one fan, in the school office. Now, every classroom and dormitory has two. I thought that would be the end of their help, but a few days later Save the Children set up big a white tent, more than 40-square-metres in size, for the kindergarten children. At first I didn’t know what it was. I just saw staff decorating the tent and setting out small, colourful furniture, toys, books and pens. Then someone asked
Save the Children has distributed school supplies to around 11,656 students and 524 teachers in 23 primary and middle schools in Mianzhu, An, Qingchuan, and Shifang counties.