Social Media In China: Young People Help Homeless Earthquake Survivors

At first glance this Yahoo News article is about the current challenge in China of sheltering hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors. But there are a few lines that jump out if you read closely:

In the meantime, the authorities are relying on 3,000 volunteers who are at the sharp end of caring for the homeless. Mostly young people, they spend their days collecting trash, spraying disinfectant, cooking food, distributing bottled water, handing out first aid supplies, and encouraging personal cleanliness.

As the government commandeers trucks and moves supplies arriving from all over the country to distribution points, ordinary citizens are ensuring their delivery to individual refugees here.

Sometimes they are doing jobs that might ordinarily be done by the government: A group of 30-somethings, who met on an Internet chatroom and who normally engage in social activities together, have set up a missing persons registration bureau at the wide crossroads around which rural refugees have gathered.

“If we don’t have enough people there are volunteers to help us,” says Feng.

[Emphasis mine.]
Young people volunteering. Online social networks coming together to help. This is really amazing. It’s good to see something so inspiring during such a sad time in China. And it’s encouraging to think that what we’re doing here with social media can build these same sorts of networks. 
(Reuters photo via Yahoo News)

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