10 years ago hundreds of children lived huddled away in an orphanage in China. As many as 85% of them would die infants, abandoned by their parents out of desperation.
This was Hengyang orphanage a decade ago. Understaffed, under resourced, and unknown to most the centre was a place of desperation; babies’ cries would become silent, as they learnt that no-one was coming for them. Some even named centres like this across China “dying rooms.” There had to be a better way.
And a better way was being discovered. 120 miles away in a similar centre International China Concern (ICC) was working with the Chinese government to better children and young people’s lives. Mortality rates dropped; children who would have died without surgeries were receiving them and lived; infants who had never walked because of their disabilities were took their first steps. And deathly silence was replaced by the laughter of children, with the cries of babies who knew someone would come for them; if hope was a sound, this would be it.
All this happened with the help of hundreds of people, who became thousands of people, believing in a better way for China’s abandoned and disabled. They believed the fullness of life was possible for these children. And it is.
Hengyang orphanage, or welfare centre as it’s referred to in China, is unrecognisable today. The dying rooms are no-more. The work has spread not just to a third city, but to begin preventing abandonment by coming alongside families raising disabled children. The stories and miracles are innumerable.
You can help keep the movement going, saving more children and keeping more families together. This summer thousands of people all over the world will come together to collectively walk the length of the Great Wall of China, raising funds and awareness for ICC’s children, and the families they keep together.
You can join them – taking part in a walk, or even starting your own. Go to www.walkthewall.org and begin changing children’s lives in China. Raising £300 will make sure a young boy called Tan Gang keeps receiving special education, growing more independent and overcoming his deafness. Or Sun Wu, a young woman close to completing her grade 8 piano and dreams of becoming a teacher herself, having found an occupation Spina Bfida doesn’t limit.
Today, three homes in three Chinese cities stand as a testament to the vision of ICC. Hundreds of children are guaranteed a home for life. Many are saved from death with emergency care, and even more have their lives enriched through life changing therapies and surgeries. Dozens of young adults have been able to move onto live partially or even fully independent lives with ICC’s help.
To learn a little more about ICC’s story, visit www.chinaconcern.org/our-story