OB Provides School for Quake Victims

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In China, Operation Blessing is donating all of the funding for a brand new school and dormitory.

The school will replace one that collapsed due to the recent earthquake.

Three-hundred of the students were killed. The surviving 600 will live in the dorm and attend the new school.

Life Goes On

College entrance exams are just a few weeks away, so students from the Hanwang secondary school are preparing for a test that traditionally determines the course of young lives in China

But these students have already survived a far tougher challenge ---the earthquake that collapsed their school three weeks ago

Now, their classes are held in makeshift tents, where the rain has to be swept out the door,

They live a few feet away in other tents, pitched on a borrowed basketball court.

Balanced between trauma and uncertainty, the students try to have normal lives. But they remember what happened on May 12, and they still talk about it

"I looked out the classroom window. I saw all other buildings close to us were collapsed. I felt very horrible. There were still aftershocks. Many of classmates started crying," one student recounted.

"The teaching buildings were also destroyed," the student added. "But some teachers climbed out from the rubble and came to help us get out of the classroom,"

Ming and Mei Ching, along with 600 of their classmates, have been marking time in this temporary camp, unsure what would happen next.

Operation Blessing to the Rescue

Last week word came that they're getting a new school, paid for by Operation Blessing

In a couple of weeks the girls will be moving to a new school complex that's being built on the site of an abandoned roadway. It's more than one thousand square meters in total area - including classrooms, dormitories and kitchens.

Operation Blessing is providing 100 percent funding for the school, the first of its kind in China, and the first step

"This is the first of 200 schools that will be built between now and August 1," OB President Bill Horan said.

The need is great, because hundreds of poorly-constructed schools collapsed in the earthquake. These new schools will be well-built, and will serve the students for several years until permanent facilities are designed.

Right now the priority is giving children a place to learn. Tents are not the answer. But in the coming weeks more and more students will learn that they have a new school, the girls hold hands and walk - and a place to resume their lives.

*Orginal broadcast June 2, 2008.

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