Letters of Recommendation

Excerpts of Letters of Recommendation

Gu Xiu Lian, Former Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People’s Congress and Chairperson of the All China Women’s Federation.

Beijing, 2008

In a calligraphy dedication written for the Healing Young Hearts Handbooks and distributed in Sichuan:

“Great love without boundaries. Healing Young Hearts Volunteers, we salute you.”

The National Training Section of the China Ministry of Education:

The National Training Section recommends the use of the handbook to assist the teachers and children of Sichuan with their psychological health…We hope in this way the teachers of Sichuan will continue to receive psychological support.

Sichuan Provincial Education Department, Liao Dong Hui, Foreign Affairs Division, after the first draft of the handbook was evaluated by the psychologists of the Sichuan Psychological Rescue Committee, Chengdu, July 2008

I would like to, on behalf of the people in the quake-affected area, express our sincere appreciation for what you’ve done for them…The teaching materials…are useful and practical, with some minor changes and integration with the local culture, they’ll be perfect…We firmly believe that the materials could help these people get out of the shadows of the earthquake.

Heilongjiang Provincial Education Department Training Section

To the Healing Young Hearts Project Heilongjiang Children’s Center Volunteers

Harbin, March, 2009

The Sichuan Provincial Education Department has contacted us about their wish to receive 218,300 free books to give to the schools in the disaster zone areas. They have posted the details of the number of schools in each area, and provided detailed addresses of the schools and areas affected by the earthquake. We are including a copy of their letter to us so that you may establish a relationship with them in the future. We wish you the best in your efforts to supply them with these books and our hopes that all the children in the disaster area can benefit from the book, and so that they can fully recover emotionally.

National Education Inspection Supervisor, Director Meng Fan Jie, Heilongjiang Provincial Education Department, in a preface to the Healing Young Hearts handbook

Harbin, 2008

The publishing of this book marks a milestone in an effort to supply practical teaching material to facilitate the emotional healing of children traumatized by the Sichuan earthquake. The role of teachers is often varied, but after the Sichuan tragedy, educators in the affected areas find themselves shouldering the monumental task of guiding their students towards emotional recovery.  Though teachers are trained professionals, they are not psychologists, yet they are often called upon to help children in matters of mental and emotional health, especially in remote areas of the country where expert psychological care is not easily available.

In a disaster of the magnitude of the Sichuan earthquake, schools can provide stability and a venue for emotional nurturing in ways no one else can. For the long term, it is the teachers on site who have daily contact with the children, who have the potential to make a great and significant impact in the lives of the students. For this reason, training is essential.  We owe it to the teachers to provide them with the tools they need to do their difficult and sacrificial job to the best of their ability.

While excellent material has previously been published by Chinese experts dealing with the subject of disaster, both psychologists and teachers agree that there is a profound absence of practical teaching material available for use in working with children recovering from trauma.  For this reason, Jiang Nan (J. Riether) and Yu Guo (H. de Gaalon) the authors and developers of the Healing Young Hearts project, met with the Heilongjiang Department of Education.  The Department’s commitment to disaster assistance in Sichuan’s Jiange county led to collaboration with the authors on this project, in order to produce material for the teachers of Sichuan, and for use in future disaster recovery when needed elsewhere in the country.

Hugues de Gaalon and Jeanne Riether headed up a research team, calling on experts from Chinese and foreign universities for counsel and advice. Following the earthquake, Jeanne Riether and other experts visited the Sichuan Department of Education to discuss the project. In meetings with the Sichuan Psychological Rescue Committee, they reviewed ways to adapt the material to the unique cultural needs of Sichuan, while conforming to the requirements of the teachers for practical material.

One of the most touching aspects of this project is that it was undertaken as an entirely volunteer endeavor, with foreigners and Chinese working side by side to help the teachers and children of Sichuan. The individuals involved donated their time conducting research and compiling suitable material, writing, editing, translating, proofreading, producing art and worksheets, testing and demonstrating teaching methods, filming and countless other tasks.

It is our wish that the teachers benefit greatly from this material and that the doors of the classrooms of Sichuan will be opened wide to healing. The greatest reward for all those who worked so hard on this project will be to see the shadows of pain and fear chased from the hearts of the children.

Heilongjiang Children’s Center, Director Feng

Harbin, December 2008

Jeanne Riether (Jiang Nan), and two members of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, Hugues (Yu Guo) and Anna de Gaalon, in co-operation with the Heilongjiang Department of Education, have created and developed a comprehensive program to be used by the Sichuan Education Department, to aid teachers working towards the emotional recovery of children affected by the Sichuan earthquake. Gu Xiulian, the former Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People’s Congress and Chairperson of the All China Women’s Federation, has graciously agreed to do the calligraphy for this book, in order to promote awareness of the project and the needs of the children of Sichuan.  UNICEF has officially requested to use portions of their material in their organization’s program with children in the earthquake affected region.

Even though months have passed since the earthquake, the memory of the trauma will linger in the hearts of the children for years to come. Until now the teachers have lacked practical resource material and training to help the children recover from the tragedy. For this reason, Jiang Nan, Yu Guo and Anna authored a 188 page text book, “Healing Young Hearts: A Handbook of Practical Teaching Material for Disaster Recovery” which provides teachers with training and practical classroom activities to aid children in long-term recovery of emotional trauma.

The creation of this handbook is entirely a volunteer project, born from a desire to assist the people of China after the tragedy of the Sichuan earthquake. Their efforts involved thousands of hours of research and intensive labor to create a program that will help teachers and children in a practical way.  This handbook can be used by teachers working with children over the next several years to help chase the shadows of fear from the hearts of those affected by the earthquake.

The material Jiang Nan, Yu Guo and Anna created drew on advice and assistance from experts in disaster relief from three American universities. The handbook was reviewed and approved by the Sichuan Committee for Psychological Rescue, the Sichuan Education Department, as well as psychological experts from universities in Heilongjiang and Beijing who assisted in Sichuan disaster relief. In consultation with Chinese experts, the handbook was tailored to meet the unique cultural needs of China.

By providing this training material to such a large sector of teachers from the public school system, China is setting an example to the world of effective disaster recovery leadership. No other nation worldwide has ever attempted to provide practical training of this nature to teachers on such a vast scale. This handbook and project is unique in the world, a one-of-a-kind effort to create and compile such a comprehensive variety of practical teaching material for disaster recovery, and make it available free-of-charge for teachers to use.

Experts from UNICEF who are directing disaster relief programs in Sichuan reviewed the “Healing Young Hearts” material and enthusiastically endorsed its contents. UNICEF found it so valuable that they requested permission to use portions of the “Healing Young Hearts” handbook in their own projects.  Jiang Nan, Yu Guo and Anna agreed to donate the use of portions of their handbook to be included in UNICEF’s “Child Friendly Spaces” project. This project provides emotional recovery activities in special centers for children in 33 disaster camps in Sichuan operated by UNICEF.

The Beijing National Children’s Center has taken great interest in the Healing Young Hearts project, and met with Yu Guo and Jiang Nan to discuss ways to cooperate together to assist Sichuan’s earthquake recovery. Yu Gu, Anna and Jiang Nan were invited to participate in the National Children’s Center’s activities with Shuangyou, when all of the Children’s Centers in China participated in an effort to raise sizeable donations to help build a music therapy classroom in Deyang, Sichuan. The Beijing National Children’s Center invited Yu Guo and Jiang Nan to speak at the annual conference in Chengdu, to address the heads of all the Children’s Centers in the country about the benefits and methods of music therapy in emotional recovery. Afterwards, they provided music therapy training for teachers from Deyang county.

The material that Jiang Nan, Yu Guo and Anna have created will profoundly benefit the quality of the training of teachers in China in emotional recovery methods. News of their project has traveled far in the media and among academic circles. Even before their handbook has been officially published, they are receiving requests of copies of their work from post-graduate psychology students researching their theses. The Heilongjiang Children’s Center is very proud to be a part of this, and commend them for their efforts to help the people of Sichuan.

Beijing National Children’s Center, Director Cao

Beijing, 2009

The Beijing National Children’s Center would like to thank Hugues and Anna de Gaalon, and Jeanne Riether for their contributions to our national effort to assist the people of Sichuan after the tragic May 12th earthquake.  Material from their book, “Healing Young Hearts: A Handbook of Practical Teaching Material for Disaster Recovery”, was used by our Center in a teacher-training program in Sichuan, and has provided an effective method to help traumatized children recovery emotionally. We found their methods practical, uplifting and easy to implement in the classroom, useful in both urban and rural schools in Sichuan province.

Hugues de Gaalon and Jeanne Riether accepted our invitation to participate as foreign experts in our National Conference in Chengdu in November 2008, at which time they addressed the leaders of the nation’s Children’s Centers on the subject of utilizing music, puppets, stories and games in practical therapeutic activities. Leaders from the Centers throughout the country participated in a hands-on demonstration of these therapies. Following this conference, the leaders attended the inauguration of a music therapy classroom in Deyang, which was donated by the national charitable organization, Shuangyou. At our invitation, Hugues de Gaalon and Jeanne Riether provided training sessions for teachers from Deyang county using methods from their handbook.

We found their methods valuable and informative and look forward to cooperating together in the future.

Sichuan Children’s Center, Director Cui

Chengdu, January 2009

We would like to thank Hugues de Gaalon and Jeanne Riether for their participation as visiting experts in the teacher training session conducted in our center in Chengdu for educators from the earthquake-affected area of Deyang county. Their efforts to help the teachers are much appreciated.

The teachers stayed at our Center where they received training in music therapy methods from psychologists, music therapists, and experts in the field of emotional trauma recovery activities. The classes in the training program equipped the teachers with an understanding of the background and effects of trauma on children, and instructed them in methods to help children suffering from post-traumatic stress, fear and depression. Hugues de Gaalon and Jeanne Riether demonstrated the use of stories, puppets and game activities in a musical therapy program. A condensation of “Healing Young Hearts: A Handbook of Practical Teaching Material for Disaster Recovery” was distributed to those attending the training session. All teachers who completed the program received a certificate of training.

Their work is much appreciated and we believe their contributions will help the children of Sichuan along the road of recovery

From Dr. Jeyathesan Kulasingam, International Red Cross, Sichuan

Health & Psychosocial Support Program (PSP) delegate, Sichuan EQ Operation, East Asia Delegation.

Chengdu, 2008
I have just received the books titled ‘Healing Young Hearts’ and from our review it is very beneficial and absolutely the kind of resource materials we would like to provide the teachers & students with.
I am hoping for some favourable response and advice about our future cooperation. I am looking forward to hear some feedback about how we can expand this cooperation.

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Just to update you about the book distribution, we have been able to use the book as a ‘starting point’ for volunteers working in Sichuan. These are volunteers who were working in the earthquake affected area but most important is that they are still working in the communities. We had 50 participants who came for an introduction session organized by the Sichuan branch of RCSC. It was well received with these volunteers going to school to spread the information.

100 books have been shipped to Yunnan because of the earthquake Yunnan suffered on the 8th July. We have been working with the Yunnan branch developing a psychosocial programme down there. They wanted a quick tool to use to implement community programmes. I have always found that HYH books are a good tool.

Dr. Jeyathesan Kulasingam

From Yang Xue, Program Officer, International Red Cross, Sichuan:

Chengdu, 2008
It is always very nice to receive your emails. As for the book, we have about 100 schools in Mianzhu, so it would be great if you can give us 1000 copies for all those schools.

From Dr. Zhang Qiuling, Child Psychologist, Beijing Normal University, Consultant to China UNICEF

Beijing 2008

Thank you so much for your donation of the Healing Young Hearts to the Child Friendly Space project. I contacted the project officer, Ms. Hu Dao Huam of NWCCW. They wanted 400 copies of the book for the 40 centers to use. Thank you so much for your love and passion to Sichuan.

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