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It’s almost two years to the day since China Duty Free Group launched a worldwide industry appeal to aid the victims of the terrible earthquake in Sichuan Province in May 2008 – a disaster that killed 70,000 people and left 300,000 injured. The earthquake was the catalyst for the creation of the China Duty Free Hope Foundation in June that year, set up in partnership with government body the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF).
The Foundation’s funds have since helped rebuild shattered lives, homes and schools in the region – a drive that has been aided by major contributions from other sources and companies.
One of these is Qatar Airways, which this week (in a separate cooperation with CYDF) announced the opening of a school in the hard-hit area of Guangyuan in the north of the province.
Soon after the earthquake hit, and the call for aid emerged from China, Qatar Airways was among the first overseas companies to respond, pledging to donate funds to build a school, as well as erect temporary structures for interim learning centres during the construction of the permanent school. In total, over 7,000 school buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, and almost 5,000 lives were lost in Guangyuan alone.
The Qatar Airways Hope School will house 500 students. And the joy on their faces (pictured above) as the facility opened officially this week tells you all you need to know about the leap from despair to hope that has taken place in this remote part of China – courtesy of the humanity of one of the world’s leading airlines.