June 11 2008

SOS Children's Villages runs camp school in quake-hit town of Mianzhu

11/06/2008 - SOS Children's Village Chengdu is running a temporary school in Mianzhu city, which is one of the worst-hit cities in the 12 May quake where more than 11,000 people were killed. The city in the southwestern Sichuan province has virtually been flattened and thousands of people are living in tents.

Photo: Benno Neeleman
Photo: B. Neeleman
"All schools are closed due to severe damage to the buildings and education of children has been affected badly. So, we decided to help these kids and started a camp school in downtown Wenhua Square," said Xia Linhua, the assistant director of SOS Children's Village Chengdu.

"We have 56 kids enrolled in our camp school till now. The 'Happy Class Tent', the name of our camp school, has three tents as classrooms. All eleven SOS co-workers and youths with two local teachers take their turn in teaching Chinese language, math, music and drawing. In the afternoon we take children to the nearby park where they play," said Xia.

The parents and guardians of the children and the local community have praised for the initiative. "I was very concerned about the education of my child. It's been one month since the quake and he didn't touch the book at all. Thanks to the 'Happy Class Tent', he has returned to his learning routines," said Hu who is among the 5,000 people living in the camps.

Mianzhu is 100 kilometers away from the SOS Children's Village in Chengdu and is the place where many children were buried alive in the school building collapse when the 7.9 magnitude quake hit the province.