Work in Mainland China
Rebuild Homes after Disasters - Reconstructing Reservoirs to Boost Rural Economy
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Can a furnished flat within four walls be regarded as a real home? The 2008 earthquake of magnitude 8 destroyed the production facilities of Qingquan Village, Zitong County in Sichuan, which severely affected farmland yields. Villagers had no choice but to work in the cities while their children were left behind in pain because of family separation. The Salvation Army rebuilt nearby reservoirs and irrigation canals, giving the villagers a glimmer of hope of returning home to run a farm and reunite with their families, building their real homes together.
 
Wang Xiao-lun, aged 68, used to farm for a living with his family of five. But alas, the irrigation all depended on a nearby river. During the busy farming season in April and May, villagers might quarrel and fight for water. The outcomes of their hard work were crops of about 200 kg per acre of land being sold at a low price. The Wang family decided not to farm anymore.
 
Leaving the Farmland for the City
 
Other villagers gave up on farming subsequently. Young people like Uncle Wang’s son and daughter-in-law moved to the city for work, leaving the elderly and children behind in the villages. Without their parents’ care, the “left-behind children” were lonely and lost, adversely affecting their psychological development. The 280 acres of land that used to provide them with their own grains and vegetables became choked with weeds. The Wang family had to buy the more expensive food from the market, forcing them to lead a meager life.
 
Later, Uncle Wang heard that The Salvation Army was beginning to tackle the irrigation issue. At first he was doubtful. In 2014, The Salvation Army rebuilt two reservoirs and the irrigation canals of 1,000 metres. By the time Uncle Wang saw water trickling down the canals and witnessed the barren land turning into deep blue paddy fields like a blue gem glittering on the ground, he finally believed it was true.
 
Family Reunion
 
The former villagers had the opportunity to get back into farming. The Wang family became hopeful. In 2015, their 3.8 acres of paddy fields yielded over 1,500 kg of rice, doubling past harvests. The other 2.6 acres of fields yielded over 5,000 kg of vegetables, 500 kg of corn, and 6,000 kg of sweet potatoes. Young people are now willing to come back to the village. They no longer argue for water supply; rather, they always help one another.
 
Uncle Wang also joined the pig farm project to increase the family income so that his son and daughter-in-law no longer work in the city and can reunite with the family. 70 households in Qingquan Village took part in the project, each was given two sows. Ordinary pig breeds have a market price of RMB 17 per kg, but that of the Canadian landrace pigs provided by The Salvation Army (lean meat of pigs) is RMB 20 per kg, which significantly increases the villagers’ income. Revitalising agriculture has brought livelihood, harmony and reunion to Qingquan Village, helping villagers rebuild a real home after the disaster.
 

Disaster-struck Families Scattered for a Living
 
The 2008 Sichuan Earthquake of magnitude 8 severely damaged houses and production facilities in many rural villages and devastated the local economy. Parents were forced to work in the city, leaving their children behind in the villages. Lacking the love from their family, the children’s personality and mental development may be affected. 
 
Over the past years, The Salvation Army has been assisting with the reconstruction of the quake-stricken areas, rebuilding the rural economy. Projects such as reservoirs and irrigation canals reconstruction as well as pig farm project have helped resume the local production so that villagers may return to their hometown for farming and taking care of their children. Moreover, The Salvation Army has launched the school social worker service for the left-behind children in Zitong County, helping them deal with issues in their personal development, studies and family matters.
With sufficient irrigation ...
The Salvation Army rebuilt ...
Water coming from the 1,000...
After joining the pig farm ...
Uncle Wang’s family reunite...