On January 19, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited one of Save the Children’s child-friendly spaces during his first domestic inspection tour in 2015 to Yunnan province.
Save the Children volunteer, Zhang Zhengping says, “I was teaching the children dance in the center when President Xi Jinping came in. The children all gathered happily around him, dancing and shouting ‘Hello Grandpa Xi!’” Mr. Xi warmly embraced the children while gaining a better understanding of the center. He asked how many volunteers there were and what types of activities are carried out in the center.
Ganjiazhai Village of Xiaozhai Township in Ludian County was one of many severely damaged villages resulting from the August 3, 2014 6.5 magnitude Ludian Earthquake. The entire village was placed in a temporary resettlement community. In August 2014, Save the Children, in cooperation with the local government, established a child-friendly space in the temporary resettlement community to provide a safe and receptive space for children to play, talk, and express themselves. The space also serves as a platform to provide other services and activities to children, focusing on psychosocial support, disaster risk reduction, health and hygiene.
Zhengping, 21, is one of the volunteers of the child-friendly space. “I insisted to volunteer at the center because I get along with the kids here. I always feel very happy when working here.” She was excited to meet with Mr. Xi, talking with him and introducing the center’s work to him. “As one of the volunteers, I not only feel encouraged but also more confident about our work,” Zhengping said.
Save the Children Head of Ludian Response Operations, Ms. Liu Lihan says, “We hope after the earthquake recovery is finished that our child-friendly spaces can develop into child protection service and resource centers that continue to serve the communities long-term.” To date, Save the Children has established four child-friendly spaces in areas affected by the Ludian Earthquake.
Save the Children has responded to over 20 emergencies in China, including the Ya’an Earthquake in 2013 and the two Yunnan earthquakes in 2012. We work to guarantee children’s rights to survive, to be protected and to participate in before, during, and after disasters.