Bridge to Recovery

Posted by Pete DeMola on 13. May 2009

Although it's been one year since the disaster that claimed some 70,000 lives, left 19,000 missing and an additional five million homeless, the road to recovery is long and winding.

Golden Bridges, a Beijing-based charitable organization, is working to support 126 worst-case children rescued from collapsed schools in Wenchuan who are currently being cared for by a Beijing school as part of the ShuMeng-Er Ma program, which is an offshoot of the China Children Teenagers Fund.

Although these kids, who have lost one or both of their parents, have made considerable leaps and bounds in recovering from their trauma, their progress may be truncated.

The program is severely underfunded, and Golden Bridges seeks to raise 3 million RMB by the end of June.

If they fail to do so, they'll have to start letting children go.

"Most of them have lost everything," said Golden Bridges Founder and Executive Director Holly Chang in an email message, "and will need to be reintegrated back into the government system where there is a chance that they will slip through the cracks."

To add an additional layer of urgency, most of the kids are a member of the Qiang people (羌族), the ethnic minority who lost 10% of their entire race in the quake -- a full one-third of all registered fatalities.

Chang also expressed worry about the disintegration of the new foster family environment that many have adjusted to at their new schools.

Golden Bridges will host a discussion forum geared towards social and business directors -- as well as key strategic decision-makers and influencers -- this Sunday at the Village at Sanlitun to support the China Children Teenagers' Fund.

There, Chang will give a speech, "Cross Sector Leadership: The Strategic Challenges and Opportunities of Aligning Business, Politics and Charity in China," which she hopes will encourage local businesses to self-empower themselves and engage in the best possible practices in working with China's large community of NGOs.

Admittance to the event will cost 200 RMB, and is limited to 40 people. All proceeds will go towards supporting the children in the ShuMeng-Er Ma program.

If you can't make this event, visit their site to learn more about the children and about how you can help them happily continue down the road to recovery.

The Village at Sanlitun
Orange VIP Reception Room
Sun, May 17, from 3:30 to 5:30pm

Photo courtesy of Golden Bridges.


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