With the support of the Ministry of Housing Urban-Rural Development in P.R.C., Foundation has mobilized over 2,800 volunteers to complete more than 44 projects in Anhui, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Gansu, Guizhou, Yunnan and Chongqing, including footbridges, village facilities, village center etc., benefiting numerous villages and over 52,000 villagers since its inauguration in 2007. In 2015, the Foundation looks forward to developing more Wu Zhi Qiao projects in Yunnan, Chongqing, Gansu and Guizhou.
Since 2013, in an attempt to better utilize its resources and promote project sustainability, the Foundation has tried to concentrate its efforts in a state-level poverty stricken county. The Pengshui Miao and Tujia autonomous county in Chongqing was identified as many of villages in the area are still located in remote corners in the mountains and lives of villagers in the area is difficult. In this connection, site exploration was launched in the Pengshui County.
Amongst the 39 villages/townships, as of 1 February 2015, the Foundation has explored project opportunities in 34 of them. In identifying potential projects, the economic level of the beneficiaries was our prime consideration. Volunteers were required to visit the beneficiaries to understand their situation and needs. As a reference, in 2014, the Foundation is looking for areas with an annual per capita net income of RMB4500 (half of the average annual per capital net income of rural villagers in the mainland in the previous year).
It was noted that apart from footbridges, some of the area experienced serious water shortage problem and public health hazards. Our teams will further investigate and explore the possibility to launch related projects to improve local livelihood. The Foundation would assess whether the needs can be met by the Foundation and the WZQ teams before launching the project.
As of 1 February 2015, amongst other community projects, our teams have completed four footbridge projects (two in Zhufo Village, one in Puzi Village and one in Baojia) in the region. Three projects are in progress (third phase of the project in Zhufo Village, one in Lutang Village and one in Tonglou Village).
As the village had experienced heavy downpour last year, and the flood water further damaged the bridge structure, Foundation decided to rebuild the bridge for the villagers. A new bridge was built by local contractor in Aug.
Close to 80 professionals and student volunteers mainly both Hong Kong and Mainland Universities and a volunteer team from New World Development Co Ltd accomplished a 27 meters long footbridge for locals in Taibai Village on 1 Aug.
Project team conducted testing for construction procedures to double check the construction feasibility in April.
Bridge Design Competition result was finalized in early Dec. With approval from Foundation, the design by the champion from the 1st Group will be adopted for the project.
Project team conducted the 2nd survey trip in Dec to further assess the feasibility of the awarded bridge design.
The Architecture Department of XUAT conducted a bridge design competition in Nov 08. Total 25 designs were collected.
XUAT conducted the 1st survey trip in Apr.
Click here for survey report (Chinese version only).
Quotes by WZQers
"When the nuts and bolts were done, I looked up to the hill where our camera man recorded the building process everyday. I wondered what we looked like from a bird-eye’s view – perhaps a colony of ants tottering with food twice our size? Ants are incredible. They can carry objects that outweigh them. As far as ants are concerned, however, the human fascination for their hard work is mostly just the romanticisation of a banal routine that sustains their life......The term wu-zhi translates as infinite connectivity. It refers to building physical as well as emotional connections between people. Now that I have taken part in building a Wuzhiqiao, I realize there is more to the sense of boundlessness in the concept of wu-zhi: the bridge provides for the opportunity to conduct daily tasks without the threat of floods. It is a means to sustain life."
Miss Elizabeth Fung, Durham University
"The troubled water rushed past, but fate will not stumble.
We journeyed to Xi’an, reaching Taibai at the end of the rumble.
The rain and wind depressed us, but we built the bridge.
The hefty wheels rolled, the yonder shore reached.
Devoted, through difficulties we plowed our way.
After six days of toils quietly the new bridge laid.
The inhabitants rejoiced, the volunteers rewarded.
Taibai is forever gone, but our fellowship forever warded."
Poem from Mr Au Siu Kei, New World Development Co Ltd
"However, I have gained much more than I could have asked for over the nine days and thankfully my worries have somehow disappeared in one way or another. A lot of encounters were new, yet very exciting at the same time! As a whole team of volunteers, we all had different backgrounds, but shared the common goal of helping the villagers to build a bridge......Ultimately, a bridge too far/ “Wuzhiqiao” symbolises ‘endless’ education for the children in the village. That, however, would apply to me too. There is just so much more to learn in life!"
Miss Jayne So, University College London
"Living the simple life for a week had been extraordinary, and I felt very empty as I crossed the bridge for the last time on Saturday. As I stood on the other end – my feet dry – I looked back at the bridge, and eventually raised my gaze to our workplace that spread across the piece of rough muddy land that had once been full of the concrete wheels now sturdily lying on the riverbed. I knew I would not be back again – the village was way too remote. But I sought consolation in the fact that though I was leaving the bridge behind, I was taking so much more back to the city life with me. I have met amazing friends across Mainland China and Hong Kong, I have eaten very simple but wonderful food (with no MSG!), I have gotten to play with the kids in the village every day, and I have delightfully discovered that I am stronger than I thought. In more ways than one, tangible or not, I have taken the Wu Zhi Qiao back with me."
Miss Cindy Fung, United World College of the Adriatic, Italy