HK volunteers work in relay to support quake reconstruction

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Two teams including dozens of volunteers will set off on Monday to support the reconstruction work in western China's earthquake-stricken Sichuan and Qinghai provinces respectively, the organization said Sunday.

Staff and volunteers from Social Workers Across Borders of Hong Kong on Sunday launched the charity activity to mark the second anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake which claimed tens of thousands of lives in western China on May 12, 2008.

With hand-made cards and flowers, about a hundred Hong Kong families sent their best wishes for single mothers at the earthquake-stricken areas on Mother's Day.

Earthquake hero Wong Fuk-wing, whose nickname is Ah Fok, was also highlighted during this year's activity.

Hong Kong volunteer Wong died rescuing four persons in the earthquake that hit Qinghai Province on April 14. His deed not only moved millions of people back in his home city of Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, but also highlighted the contribution of many Hong Kong volunteers for their countrymen over the past years.

The organization's Service Director Nussica Cho said Wong Fuk-wing, a stranger to most of Hong Kong people, has moved and inspired all the volunteers.

"We want to tell others what Wong did is so meaningful, and his deed embodied the spirit of all volunteers, as well as the spirit of Hong Kong," said Cho.

Six social workers of this NGO, who were doing voluntary work in Sichuan, threw themselves to the rescue operation three days after the earthquake flattened Yushu County of Qinghai April 14 and claimed over 2,000 lives including Wong Fuk-wing.

"We learned about Wong's death when we are preparing to launch a rescuing operation at Yushu. Wong's heroic deed practiced the mission of volunteers," said Amy Cheng who also joined the first volunteer team to Yushu last month.

When Nussica Cho went to Sichuan in May 2008 for her first time, she could hardly expect the number of volunteers in the team to surge from 6 to 260 in two years.

Many volunteers from Hong Kong have worked in relay to support the relief and reconstruction in disaster-stricken areas in the Chinese mainland for the past two years. Like many of their peers in the city, 15 volunteer teams from the Social Workers Across Borders of Hong Kong have joined the relief and reconstruction work in Sichuan Province since May, 2008.

Cheng spent her Chinese Lunar New Year vacation in Sichuan in early 2009, the first time as a volunteer with the Social Workers Across Borders of Hong Kong.

"I have been to Sichuan for four times since then. Many Hong Kong volunteers went there on every vacation or holiday, some by five or six times in the past two years," she said.

Cho noted that people's enthusiasm resulted from a rich volunteer culture in the city of Hong Kong, and also the growing attention to the Chinese mainland.

"The earthquakes rocked not other places but areas in the Chinese mainland," said Cho. "When your right hand got injured, your left hand should do something to help. You can not just let it be."

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