HK schools join relief plan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am

Local schools are being paired with schools affected by the Sichuan earthquake to foster long-term relationships through student exchanges and reconstruction aid.

Sowers Action, a charity that supports education development programmes on the mainland, yesterday announced the project, which will be held jointly with the concern group Education Convergence and student group Hok Yau Club.

It is inviting Hong Kong schools to pair up with affected schools in Gansu province, building up relationships with teachers and students by writing letters or through face-to-face exchanges.

Each participating school will have to raise at least HK$20,000, the cost for building a prefabricated school, for its Gansu counterpart.

The prefabricated schools will be used for at least three years.

Building a permanent school will cost HK$600,000 to HK$800,000.

Participating schools will also be invited to elect student representatives to visit Gansu and Sichuan during the summer holiday in order to increase their sense of commitment and participation.

Five primary and secondary schools have expressed interest in taking part in the project.

The charity had signed up for the reconstruction of 33 schools in Gansu, which would cost more than HK$10 million, its spokeswoman said.

It had received about HK$6 million in donations specifically for quake relief, so the projects would have to be partly funded by the group's development fund, she added.

The Hong Kong Red Cross has received more than HK$900 million in donations for the quake.

Oxfam Hong Kong has raised more than HK$93.2 million. It has outlined a preliminary action plan for the next five years in 17 areas of Sichuan.

The organisation said it was budgeting about HK$20 million for the relief phase and HK$80 million for rehabilitation projects, including building temporary schools and village roads.