Through the successful reconstruction of the Songyan Home for the Aged, Mercy Relief has enabled the destitute and elderly folk of Heshun County to be housed in a safe and clean environment.
The Singapore-born NGO held an inauguration earlier today at the home in Heshun County; the event was graced by Mercy Relief’s Assistant Director of International Programme and Corporate Development, Mr Andrew Ang, and Shanxi Poverty Alleviation Bureau officials.
Songyan is the largest and poorest township in Heshun, with annual per capital income averaging 1,800 yuan. In 2009, only nine were housed in a dilapidated home for the aged – which could barely provide for a decent living environment. Four out of the six buildings which make up the home had been found to be unfit for use, with the remaining two deemed to be structurally unsound. The nine residents along with two staff were housed in the two small buildings. Surveys revealed a much higher number of elderly villagers without their own homes –this combined with the lack of resources of the home, amplified the need for a revamped living environment.
Beginning from June last year, Mercy Relief collaborated with Chinese project partners Shanxi Poverty Alleviation Bureau to implement the reconstruction of the home, a S$360,000 project funded by private Singaporean donors.
The reconstruction ensured the provision of amenities which made for much improved living conditions –increasing living quarters by almost three-fold from 360 m² to 900 m² to accommodate more residents; adding about 300 m² of facilities (toilets, office, dining hall, clinic and recreation room), and paving 400 m² of walking areas and a courtyard. Furniture, medical equipment and supplies were also provided.
Following the completion of its rebuilding in June this year, the home has been able to accommodate 69 elderly residents–the entire destitute elderly population in Songyan.
Community involvement also featured in this initiative –the villagers played an active role in preliminary needs analyses,the construction was handled by a local company, and the home will be managed by the local township government.
Mr Andrew Ang remarked that “this development initiative presents important benefits for the elderly, who form the demographic often neglected by society.”
This project underlines Mercy Relief’s holistic approach to addressing shelter and healthcare issues as part of its sustainable development efforts in China.
About Mercy Relief
Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.
In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.
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