Gifts of the heart

By Liu Xiangrui(China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-02

Gifts of the heart

Jeanne Riether. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"I felt like my hometown had gone through such terrible tragedy," explains Riether, who had lived previously in Chongqing near Sichuan for seven years and knew the area well.

She soon realized that there were few trained psychologists available to help the local children.

She collaborated with Sichuan Children's Center, which was among the earliest to take in children who couldn't find their parents. She coached parents, teachers and volunteers to relate to the traumatized children.

Riether and her partner organizations gathered material and created a handbook for disaster recovery.

The handbook of international cooperation was approved by China's Ministry of Education for use in the disaster zone, and more than 20,000 copies were distributed for free.

Inspired by the relief-work results, Riether began to help children in other crises, such as disease and abusive situations, by adapting the materials she'd collected for Sichuan and ctraining new volunteers.

Riether says she started to love voluntary work for children after she became a mother in 1980. Having published a number of books on different topics, Riether is interested in how to use stories to help children.