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CHINA 2009 • One Year after the Earthquake • Women Workers in the Economic Crisis • Micro-credit and Sugarcane in Guangxi • Lighthouse Project: Urban Students teach in Rural Areas MYANMAR • One Year after Cyclone GLOBAL • Right to Survive: Climate Change and Natural Disasters May 2009 EVERY DAY IS A BIRTH Madeleine Marie Slavick Through the fog – Zhai Fan On the twelfth of May last year, the massive earthquake struck western China, where it was a normal school day and workday. In Hong Kong, it was a public holiday for Buddha’s Birthday. Oxfam’s directors happened to be in Every day is a birth. A year later, it is time to assess what we have achieved: here is a summary of Oxfam’s activity over the year, from May 2008 to May 2009. Oxfam primarily works in remote, impoverished areas that have received no A nother foggy morning in Chengdu – the weather of this season. I am gazing out the window at the emerald green bamboo, which looks much higher than last year. Last year. It has been almost a whole year since the earthquake of 12 May 2008. As I look out, I look back to that memorable day. I was in my office, sitting at my computer, in the middle of downloading files onto my laptop. A colleague was talking about a community development project but I was only half listening, because the desk was starting to shake, and then my coffee cup rattled across the desk. Another colleague was on the other side of the room, his eyes very wide open. A third one was standing in the hallway. The shaking stopped for a moment, started again, a little harder. It was not what I imagined an earthquake to be. It was more like a swaying. It felt like a sumo wrestler was jumping up and down on the wooden floor and pushing against the walls. Then it became stronger, the rattling grew louder. My colleague looked over at me with an open mouth, half smiling, half scared. It was hard to read her expression. It was a face she had never made before. Suddenly, a feeling of pure terror came over me. What if it gets worse? What if the walls cave in? Will I see my daughter again? Am I supposed to duck under the desk? "Come over here," I heard someone say, quickly guiding me to the door frame. At that moment, it just stopped. Just like that. We all stood there frozen in place. Uncertain whether it was going to come back or if that was it. Zhai Fan (left) with project participant and a very healthy pig in Sichuan The fog is loosening now, and I return to 2009. I say to myself that I am glad to be where I am. My team and I are clear about the challenges of the work ahead in Sichuan, and we are confident that our projects are effective, even though we are also aware that we can only do so much. The earthquake – the biggest disaster I have seen in my ten years of development work in China – has taught me that it is up to each of us, and all of us, to be prepared, and to cheer. Oxfam’s projects are part of a whole, and together, we will win. We will overcome all the difficulties and find the way through any fog. Based in Chengdu, Sichuan, Zhai Fan is the Deputy Programme Manager of Oxfam Hong Kong’s earthquake relief and rehabilitation programme. the middle of a special planning meeting in the office, on the 17th floor of a building in Northpoint, on Hong Kong Island. They did not feel the deadly tremors miles and miles away in Wenchuan, Sichuan, the epicentre, but heard the news a few minutes later, and immediately committed funds for relief work. The agency went into a flurry. Disaster management colleagues rushed to Sichuan and Gansu to do assessments, source supplies, and run relief projects. Community development staff in our Beijing, Guiyang, Kunming and Lanzhou offices redirected work plans to address the crisis. Fundraisers appealed for donations. Communications staff issued press statements and answered thousands of questions. A month or so into the crisis, we opened an operational centre in Chengdu. other assistance, or very limited support. Oxfam puts the needs of women, children, elderly, and ethnic minorities at a priority, and integrates disaster preparedness training and community participation into each and every project. Oxfam adheres to international codes of practice to ensure quality, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and transparency. COVER: Sugarcane in Guangxi, China

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