In the wake of China’s devastating earthquake in 2008, Liu Gangjun has rebuilt his life with support from a Red Cross livelihoods programme.
Liu not only lost his son in the earthquake, he also injured his leg, which had to be amputated. No longer able to do his regular job at the mine, he and his wife faced a bleak future.
Liu is one of hundreds of people helped by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies livelihoods programme, which the British Red Cross is supporting.
With limited options, Liu managed to set up a small convenience store, which he called ‘Dream Taking Off’. He says: "We wanted a name that didn’t remind us of our suffering. After the earthquake life had changed so much and I was depressed for a long time.”
He completed a two-month computer training course and developed skills to run his new business. “The teachers were very patient and flexible making it easy to learn," Liu says.
Many of the people being trained have disabilities as a result of the earthquake and the Red Cross provides transportation to and from classes. It also offers a follow-up service offering further advice once training is completed.
Becoming self- sufficient
Business is improving day by day, but one obstacle to growth is that the shop is located in a housing compound, not on a street, so there is a limited number of customers. Recently, some of Mr Liu's disabled friends gathered to discuss the possibility of opening a bigger supermarket somewhere with passing trade. For this, they need to raise enough money to start the new operation.
Although he has big dreams, for now Liu’s grocery shop covers his rent and brings a little extra income, but it has more than just economic value.
Liu says: "I don’t want to beg from others. Now I am self-sufficient and I feel more fulfilled. Helping people start a business is a great way to assist those who were injured and who dream of being self-reliant once again."
More about recovery after the China earthquake
Read about our other recovery programmes