From Scholarship to Solidarity
COVID 19 and THE FLOWER OF FRIENDSHIP
The delivery of facial masks to the RED CROSS has been completed in these days.
The Solidarity of Chinese alumni of the University of Trento,
former students, researchers and scholars living and working in China
Trento, April 11, 2020
But the story begins some time ago.
It was February 5 when the Mission of China to the European Union begins to spread official communications on the status of the Coronavirus - Covid19 which has been affecting the province of Hubei and the city of Wuhan for over a month. There are around 25,000 cases worldwide, and nearly 500 deaths, mainly in Hubei,
In Europe 26 people distributed in 9 countries contracted the virus but no deaths.
On 11 March, the spread widened, there are around 110000 cases in the world, of which more than 16000 in Europe. WHO has declared the pandemic and while in China the spread rate decreases, Korea and Italy are the most affected countries, after China.
In this scenario, starts the solidarity of the Chinese world with Italy : on 6 March a load of 2,300 boxes arrives in Turin: 2,300,000 masks from China with a significant sentence of Baha'u'llah "We are waves of the same sea , leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden "
It is in this context that Gangfeng Zhang, a professor from the University of Zhejiang who in 2001 obtained a doctorate in Sociology and Social Research in Trento and still collaborating with the University of Trento, launches an appeal on the Chinese social Wechat to the alumni of the University of Trento who returned, live and work in China: to organize a donation of medical materials to the University and the city of Trento to fight Covid.
The answer is positive and immediate.
A 14-person task force - composed by Bian Jieping, Zhang Hongbo, Shi Daqian, Chen Yan, Li Xuezhi, Yuan Zhizhong, Fang Enzhu, Huang Gang, Li Chengyi, Wenren Xing, Xu Hao, Yang Shuo, Yu Weiwei - with the coordination of Gangfeng Zhang, Xing Wenren, Hongbo Zhang, Daqian Shi and the Association of Chinese scholars and students in Trento - begins to move in different areas of the country, each one in its own geographical area, circle of friends and / or University.
For several decades the University of Trento has had relations with China: bilateral agreements with many universities –Zhejiang, Tongji, Nanjing Normal University, Jilin University, Jiangsu University, Shanghai International Studies University, Henan Normal University, Nanjing University and others -, European research projects and 10 years of cooperation with Erasmus Mundus have brought hundreds of students, researchers and scholars to Trento and Europe, and they are clearly still very close to their Alma Mater..
The first to answer the call are Chen Yan, Li Xuezhi, Yuan Zhizhong, Bian Jieping, Liu Yizheng, Yu Jin, Fang Enzhu, Wang Minghua, Wu Huayong, Gui Hua, Xu Hao, Chen Xing, Huang Gang, Ma Tao, followed by other 139 people, alumni but also friends and a company who in 3 days manage to collect 131.295 Yuan and medical materials (2400 KN95 masks, 1000 surgical masks, 200 N95 masks and 60 FFP2 masks).
Meanwhile a small operating unit composed by Zhang Gangfeng, Zhang Hongbo, Chen Yan, Huang Gang, Shi Daqian, Li Chengyi, Yang Shuo, has started to search and select possible suppliers and on March 18 they are ready to send the medical supplies to Italy.
Unfortunately, things are moving quickly internationally, all shipments from China are blocked, many countries seize the goods in transit, now vital for all, and Alibaba has also stopped all the deliveries.
Only after finding a cargo flight, which however passes through Korea, on March 24 the first load with 30,000 masks leaves from Shanghai and th Asiana Cargo flight reaches Milan on the evening of March 28 .
It is a first success. The masks, which after some contacts in Trento on behalf of the University and the M. Martini Center are destined for the Italian Red Cross - Provincial Committee of Trento, finally arrive at their destination.
The second shipment with 4700 masks, 4550 KN95 masks and 210 protective goggles, which left Hangzhou on March 25 for Shanghai and Shanghai for Italy on March 28 was due to arrive in Milan on March 29-30 but reaches its destination only on April 4 and is dispatched on April 7 in Trento.
On April 6, a third parcel reaches the Italian Red Cross - Provincial Committee of Trento, it contains 200 N95 masks and 60 FFP2 masks, intended for healthcare professionals
The Red Cross immediately took charge of the material, redistributing it among the different units scattered throughout the provincial territory to face the emergency with greater security, given the chronic lack of safeguards worldwide. All the material, masks of different type and level of protection and protective goggles were absolutely indispensable for carrying out the rescue operations and assistance to the population, two major sectors in which the Red Cross is engaged and which still have very intense levels of activity , considering that after more than a month of emergency, a really long time, the situation is still very demanding.
The number of items received is substantial, 39,000 masks of which over 36,000 at CRI: the quantity seems enormous, but considering the number of volunteers - 120/150 volunteers serve the area daily- it is clear how the material donated is absolutely precious and how indispensable it is to manage every single piece in the most scrupulous way.
Therefore this gesture allows the Red Crossers to operate with greater peace of mind, overcoming the difficult moments , and the pick reached a few weeks ago, in which the shortage of safeguards and protections and, not to forget, the blocking of aid in other European countries, had panicked healthcare workers throughout our country.
Meanwhile, China is starting to produce again and the spread of the virus has reached unimaginable dimensions. In the world it has exceeded one and a half million (to date over 1700,000), almost 700 thousand cases in Europe, and the USA is the first country by contagion with over 500 thousand cases.
And while we try to give our days in isolation an appearance of normality, we think of friends in various parts of the world and, with gratitude, of Chinese friends ...A friend in need is a friend indeed.
A complex collaboration at a distance, which involved many people and the story of a strong and resilient friendship: precious human relationships capable of overcoming the barriers of time, bureaucracy and national borders.
From China With Love
Warm thanks to
List of donors
Centro Studi Martino Martini - Martino Martini Research Center
President Prof. Maurizio Marchese
Address Centro Studi Martino Martini -Via Tommaso Gar 14, 38122 Trento - Italy
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