China Focus: After the quake: 10 years on volunteerism thrives - China - Tibetol

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China Focus: After the quake: 10 years on volunteerism thrives
update:May 09,2018
Right after the quake, Sichuan set up a team of certificated volunteers to respond to natural disasters. Now, the team has more than 5,000 members and consists of 10 contingents dedicated to respective fields, such as rescue, healthcare and psychological support.
"Over the past decade, volunteers and social organizations have thrived in Sichuan and become more professional facing disasters," Wang said.
Had not been a volunteer in Dujiangyan, one of the worst-hit areas, Li Jiahui, a graduate of civic engineering from Southwest Jiaotong University, would have been a building designer.
"It was my first time to work as a volunteer, and also the most unforgettable experience," said Li, an executive with a Sichuan-based poverty alleviation foundation. "We transported water and food, set up tents, and cleaned up…I just couldn't stop doing things, or I would feel really bad."
Back from the quake-hit region, Li rejected the design offer and started a one-year training for volunteers in Beijing, before obtaining a master degree in public relations in Singapore.
"The government has encouraged development of social organizations," Li said, adding that he believes the country will have more social workers.
The experience of being helped after the quake has also shaped the life of Du Cancan, then a student at Beichuan Middle School.
"[After the quake] My classmates and I were sent to a shelter …Volunteers were comforting us, holding our hands," Du said. "I never knew their names. But I remember the warmth."
Since then, she has been passionate about public welfare. After graduating from college in 2009, she co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families in need and offering cultural services in communities in Chengdu.
The organization "I You She", with 212 full-time workers, has served more than 1,000 neighborhoods.
"Because of the disaster, I found the direction in my life," Du said.
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