Sichuan Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction
Counselling and Capacity Building
In the aftermath of the earthquake the long-term emotional and psychological effects on the communities began to emerge. It soon became evident that professional help was required on a large scale. Shangri-la Institute worked with Mianyang Teacher’s College to develop training courses for teachers in the affected communities. The training enables local teachers as well as community educators to become qualified in providing counselling and psychological recovery skills to students and communities and thus help them come to terms with their experiences. Professional counsellors have also worked with the teaching staff and students of the Sichuan Water Schools running small classes and activities to help students and teachers work towards building a brighter future. Activities that have been organised include: lectures, seminars, team building and confidence building activities, small group counselling sessions as well as games and competitions.
Joining Hands for a Brighter Future
MTC University students and Beichuan Middle School students have set up a “Penpal Exchange” whereby more than 1400 university students write to and support their younger peers. The activity has been a huge hit with students: “whenever letters are delivered, smiling faces could be seen everywhere” said Yang Zhongqiu a teacher at Beichuan Middle School . The younger students really feel that they have someone there to support them and both sides can express feelings and experiences in their letters, which may be difficult to express orally. It is a way to make students feel more positive and focus on their hopes and aspirations for the future. Li Xuelin, a Middle School student in Senior 1, Class 20, said she was truly grateful for the letters from her ‘elder sister’: “before I felt miserable about so many things, but my ‘elder sister’ encouraged me and made me realize that I should treasure my life and the opportunities I am given. If I continue to work hard, my future will certainly be bright.”