It has been over a month since a 7.0 earthquake devastated Ya’An Sichuan on April 20. Dongguan expat residents Chris and Melissa Smith returned to the city from their early response. “This [RMB 27,200] we initially left with was all provided through collection boxes being placed in just two locations,” said Chris. “Now with boxes in more than 20 locations and weeks’ worth of campaigning … I am curious to see how much more heart the Dongguan community has in the terms of [monetary support].”
The boxes, located at city bars, restaurants and offices ask for donations and suggests a sponsorship of RMB 612 that will support a family by providing a tent, rice, milk and cotton quilt. Along with HERE! Magazine’s media partnership, the fundraising efforts in Dongguan have been organized by local non-profits, Treasures of Hope and the AMBD Brazilian Women’s Club. Donations will continue to be collected in town and handed over to the Chinese Relief and Development Foundation, who TOH worked with during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Due to government management, access for independent groups of volunteers was closely regulated, meaning the Smiths would have been unable to gain admittance to ground zero without joining CRDF, an NGO with proper licensing. Villagers told the Smiths that through volunteer motorcycle scouts, “CRDF always asks them their needs and brings exactly what they needed.”