THE firm formerly known as Deacons Australia, which merged with Norton Rose this year, has been making charitable tracks in China.
The firm has announced the official opening of the Norton Rose Hope School in Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province. Constructed with funds supplied by Norton Rose LLP for earthquake relief efforts, the school was built with cooperation of the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) under its Project Hope programme.
The school will serve 100 children in a town located 10km outside of the city, which was devastated by the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Peter Martyr, Group CEO of Norton Rose Group said: “The enormity and tragedy of this earthquake caught the attention of the whole world but it was the plight of the region’s children that was most distressing. We wanted to do everything we could to make sure the children and teachers in this region could make a fresh start following the trauma they suffered as a result of the earthquake.”
Norton Rose LLP chose to donate money to this area so that it could benefit a specific community. As well as constructing the school, the donation includes basic equipment such as desks and chairs. An extra contribution was made for setting up a library including desks, chairs and books. On top of this, stationary and sporting equipment (basketballs, table tennis equipment etc) and musical instruments were also supplied. Funds were agreed in July 2008 with construction of the school beginning in early 2009.
Feng Bai, Director General of the Education Bureau of Li Zhou district, Guangyuan City said:
“Outside assistance has been a real driving force in getting the region back on the road to recovery following the earthquake. Getting the children back to school and continuing with their education was one of the best ways to help them put this tragedy behind them and get on with their lives.”
“We appreciate very much the efforts of Norton Rose and the sincerity of their staff during the construction process. I am particular delighted also that Norton Rose’s Group Chief Executive has made the trip to visit us on this day,” he said.
Initial donations for the school came from staff at Norton Rose’s Beijing and Shanghai offices. However, since building a school requires an investment greater than that raised by staff, the Norton Rose LLP Charitable Foundation also made a significant contribution so that the entire project could be supported.
Martyr said that Guangyuan City and the surrounding area was a key target for relief and one in which private donations were particularly welcomed. When completed, Norton Rose LLP was entitled to name the school.
Located in the northern part of Sichuan Province, Guangyuan City has a population of 3.1 million and was badly damaged during the 7.8 earthquake.