300 kilometers from the epicenter, the impact of last year's devastating Sichuan earthquake can still be felt in Xihe County, Gansu Province. But hope is not far away.
A year after the earthquake, aid from UNICEF is helping girls and boys in rural China finish their studies, regardless of disaster, or disability. Six-grader Yang Mei suffers from congenital heart disease, and underwent expensive heart surgery last year. The roof of her home collapsed during the earthquake and the remaining of her school buildings were deemed unsafe for studies.
Now she and the other 250 students at Caoyang Primary School study in temporary classroom buildings installed by UNICEF. Through its government counterparts, UNICEF has helped ten thousand children resume their studies. They work to train hundreds of teachers across the province to introduce a child-friendly school approach. The children were given new school bags and hygiene kits. The school will also soon enjoy proper sanitation, with the installation of new toilets and washrooms.
For young people like Yang Mei, education makes a vital difference. With the help generously offered to them, children in this quake-hit county now have an equal chance to a bright future.