Changchun, China, 8 November 2013 – Shangri-La Hotel, Changchun has completed drilling for a drinking water well for Xin Jia Primary School in the town of Yitong Yingchengzi. The project, which cost RMB100,000, began on 1 October 2013 and ended on 7 November 2013.
Today is a special day for the students and teachers of Xin Jia Primary School because, on this day, they bid farewell to a life without drinking water, a life of carrying water from a small well far away and a life of being reluctant to use up more water to wash their hands. They now have an electric pumping well in the campus that will provide them drinking water any time.
Water is the source of life and an important part of daily life. For the Xin Jia Primary School students of Yitong Yingchengzi town, water is more valuable. The school is located in the southern mountainous area of Yitong County. All the children from 12 villages attend the school, which has not had a source of drinking water for the past 40 years.
Its original source of drinking water is a stream behind a reservoir that is no longer used because of the long route. In addition, the water dries up on the way back. Later on, the school dug up a 10-metre-deep well. However, after drinking the water from this well for a few years, some students suffered from Kashin–Beck disease and thick neck disease, so nobody dared to drink from the well anymore.
The school and the village need a large amount of water every day. The shortage of drinking water has made the life of the students and teachers very difficult and unhealthy. There has been no water for flushing the toilet and the classrooms could not be cleaned. In recent years, the villagers carried drinking water from the small wells nearby. However, the metal in the water has severely exceeded the standards, making it difficult for the students and villagers.
This situation highly concerned Shangri-La Hotel, Changchun. The hotel donated RMB200,000 in 2009 to rebuild the school, so the students can study in spacious and bright classrooms. At the same time, helping the school solve its drinking water problem was brought to the top of hotel’s agenda.
The hotel consulted with various experts in geological and water conservancy, and invited them to the school campus for site inspection. In addition, the hotel continued charity activities among hotel guests and local international communities to raise funds for the water project.
Due to the specific local geological structure and heavy metal content in the rocks, many water conservancy experts determines that the underground water of Xin Jia School contains heavy metal, so the water will not be drinkable. Although frustrated, the hotel did not give up building a well for the school.
In June this year, the well drilling project took a turn for the better. The hotel contacted Yitong County Water Conservancy Bureau, which was eager to help. The bureau sent a well drilling team to the school campus for detection. In the last detection, the well drilling team captain told the hotel that there will be water if the well’s depth reached 100 metres, but its water quality will need to be tested before it can be drunk. The project will cost RMB100,000. This news gave the hotel a very good surprise. The hotel management decided that, as long as there was a glimmer of hope, it must try.
“There is water, there is water,” the well drilling team captain joyfully told the hotel. “Water quality test results have come out; it is in full compliance with the standards for drinking water! This land was touched by your sincerity!”
The children can be seen cheerfully drinking the well water, as if they were sipping sweet nectar. The hotel’s hard work has been rewarded with comfort.
“To share this love dew,” said Shangri-La Hotel, Changchun General Manager Andreas Streiber as the school headmaster held a cup and shared the water with all students, parents, teachers and the caring people from the German community.
Yitong County is an impoverished county located in a mountainous area. Due to the typical mountain hully gully location, traffic is difficult and the people lack information. The county’s development lags far behind.
Both groundwater and surface water resources are in severe shortage. Groundwater is deeply buried and rainfall is scarce, making it one of the most difficult areas for drinking water. The more remote the mountain area, the more severe its drinking water shortage is. The area’s water conservancy infrastructure does not have enough financial investment.
Xin Jia Primary School was founded in 1974. The campus covers an area of 525 square metres. The primary school was hit by tornado in 2006, and the classroom wall fell to disrepair. Classes had been seriously affected, and the school urgently needed social assistance for reconstruction.
“Shangri-La Hotel, Changchun incorporated the school into their Embrace project and rebuilt the school campus in 2009 with the charity fund of RMB200,000, which were raised over the years,” said Mr. Streiber. “The hotel kept on donating computers, library and organising foreign employees and hotel long staying guests to teach voluntary English classes, which greatly improved the teaching facilities and enhanced the quality of teaching in the school. In August this year, the hotel has more than 100 volunteers coming to the school, braving the scorching sun, paved a smooth brick path for the students on the campus, so that the children don't have to walk on the muddy road. Now, they have their own well, and can enjoy the drinking water anytime in the school.”