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Following the devastating earthquakes last month in China’s Sichuan and Gansu provinces, Yao Ming – Chinese center for the Houston Rockets basketball team – felt compelled to do something and to do it quickly… so he created the Yao Ming Foundation.

In the long term, the Foundation will “raise funds and awareness of children’s wellness and welfare issues in China and the United States.” But more importantly in the short term, it will address the immediate needs of the children in China affected by the quake, specifically the need for earthquake-proof schools.

“It is very hard to put into words how difficult it is to see this kind of destruction,” said Yao. “My thoughts and actions are now focused on helping to rebuild the schools that were destroyed in this tragedy and I hope that others around the world will join in our efforts.”

More than 185 schools were destroyed during May’s earthquake. The Yao Ming Foundation’s website says, “A donation of $100,000 will rebuild a permanent school for approximately 300 students while a gift of $3,500 will provide one prefabricated classroom for 50 students, including desks and chairs.” By working with proven charities, the Foundation will build safe replacements schools and then focus on youth related causes on both sides of the world.

The Houston Rockets, colleagues such as Steve Nash, and many others are answering Ming’s call. Launched only a few days ago, the Foundation raised over $3.5 million in the first week.

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