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Groundbreaking Ceremony for Jindai Elementary School | June 2010

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Liangping County Governor Dai Xiaohong delivers an inspirational speech to Jindai School students and families

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Jindai School children celebrate

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Party Secretary Li Zhixiong (C) leads the ceremonial excavation - Professor Lou Yongqi (L) digs in

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Barry Friedman, Vice President of Walmart China, shares a message of hope with Jindai School students and families

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 12 to launch the construction of the New Jindai Elementary School in Liangping County in rural Chongqing. The school, designed on the principles of safe, sustainable, cost-effective and scalable, will replace a school severely damaged in the May 12, 2008 central China earthquake.

Government officials, school administrators, and project sponsors stood side by side with schoolchildren and their families to mark this festive and inspirational occasion. With leadership from the County led by Party Secretary, Li Zhixiong, and Governor, Madame Dai Xiaohong, the local government and educational bureau stated their goal that the school would be a long term benefit to the children, the community and environmental education.

Governor Dai spoke with enthusiasm about how she hoped the New Jindai School could share its experiences with other schools so that many could benefit from the common efforts.

Mr. Barry Friedman, Vice President of Walmart China, noted that the New Jindai School was “an opportunity for us at Walmart and for our associates who also raised money for this project to not only help with disaster relief and rebuilding but also to demonstrate a core value of the company – that is sustainability.”

The new school is being funded by Liangping County and sponsors organized by the China US Center, led by Walmart, the Walmart Employees Fund, the China Institute in America, Elizabeth Economy and her husband David Wah, and the Andringa Family Foundation.

The visionary design of the school was led by a joint China and US team that is now being directed through construction by Professor Lou Yongqi and the Tektao Design Institute affiliated with Tongji University.

Rural Liangping County, on the Sichuan Province border, was the most severely damaged county in Chongqing. The school will be designed and built in accordance with the new national standards for rural schools adopted by the Ministry of Education in December 2008. The school will accommodate approximately 550 students from the neighboring communities. The goal is for the school to be operational by mid 2011.

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact Joe Marcotte.