Life as usual stopped at 2:28 p.m. on May 12, 2008 for Nang Chong Chen and her family. That is the moment that the great Sichuan Earthquake struck China, and the lives of 40 million people were shattered.
Everything gone in an instant
The Sichuan earthquake destroyed 5 million homes; Chen’s home was one of those. Chen’s small village was in ruins and was part of the estimated US$147 billion in damage the earthquake left in its aftermath. Loved ones were lost, basic needs like shelter and food were gone and the future was uncertain.
Relief and rebuilding
Relief and rebuildingWhile the victims were still in a stunned haze, within 48 hours after the earthquake Lions committed a US$500,000 catastrophe grant to address immediate needs like medicines, clothing, blankets and temporary housing. Over the following weeks and months Lions Clubs International Foundation awarded more than US$3 million in additional grants and donations.
I am enjoying my life in my new home.Chen’s family was able to live in tents provided by Lions until the government set up temporary homes. That October they moved into their newly built home in Peng Hua Lions Village, where more than 150 new residences were constructed. In this community, the average income is less than US$1 a day and rebuilding would not have been possible without Lions’ assistance.
Lions worked hand-in-hand with the local residents on the construction. Many Lions visited the village, helping with reconstruction, driving supplies, overseeing the building process and ensuring funds were well-spent. Some Lions made the difficult trip more than 10 times. Chinese Lions took time away from their jobs and family, paying their own airfare or personal expenses, to give hope and aid to those who needed it most.
In gratitude, Chen wants all Lions to know: “I am enjoying my new life in my new home.”