Charity Seeks Help to 'Adopt' Quake-Hit Families in China

( [email protected] ) Aug 30, 2008 11:59 AM EDT

An international humanitarian agency has launched an online campaign to find donors to “adopt” families affected by China’s massive May 12 quake and help them build new homes.

Beginning this week, Operation Blessing International’s China Quake Project has been seeking American donors to support one of 55 Chinese families in the remote village of Yao Jin, China, whose homes were destroyed by the 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan province earlier this year.

Yao Jin village is located near the epicenter of the quake, which left nearly 88,000 people dead or missing and completely destroyed all 55 houses in the community of 200 people.

"The village (Yao Jin) suffered 100 percent destruction and 7 villagers died in the quake,” said Bill Horan, president of OBI. “As we began to work with the villagers, we were amazed at their resilience and desire to reclaim their village.

“The villagers organized themselves to help and as we worked alongside them, they asked us if we could help them rebuild their village," he added.

Most of the villagers, OBI noted, are extremely poor farmers who had to save for years in order to build their homes.

One family, Horan said, saved for 40 years to build their house that was destroyed in less than 2 minutes.

“Many of them lost their livelihoods and jobs, leaving them with no income or means to rebuild,” OBI’s president said. “To make matters worse, the temporary shelters build by the villagers were flimsy and would provide little protection against wind, rain and the coming winter season.”

Besides building homes, OBI plans to reconstruct a community water system, and latrines and bathhouse.

A top Chinese real estate development firm has volunteered to design the new homes complete with kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms.

The cost to adopt a family is $6,000 and 100 percent of the funds will be used to build the homes. People can also donate smaller amounts that will go towards items such as tools, roads, community utilities and furniture.

Throughout the project, the China Quake website will feature regular updates on the construction progress in the village. Afterwards, there will also be a final personalized update on each family with video and photographs.

OBI is one of the largest charities in the United States, working in 22 countries around the world. Since 1999, OBI has worked in China and in May helped deliver more than 15 tons of food, medicine, water, materials for tens and hygiene supplies after the quake.

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