Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 was quite a Year!

2009 was quite a Year!

Hope4China started 2009 with the story of the Starfish......and we will move into 2010 with an exciting new venture New Hope4SpecialChildren which will help many, many more stranded starfish.

During this year, Hope4China, working with our amazing staff and friends in China have discovered so many needs of the children in China both in orphanages and villages, and together we have managed to throw back many little starfish. There are still so many needing help, but as we look forward to the year ahead and how we might work to help meet these needs, it is important to stop and reflect on all that we have achieved together over the year.

We started the year with the news of our little girl, badly burned and in urgent need of help.
Some incredible people sprang into action :-)

The good news is that due to the hard work and excellent fundraising of some amazing H4C supporters, she had her first operation, was wonderfully supported by the GGEF staff and Guilin girls. Money has been kept aside for her to have any follow up surgery needed or perhaps cosmetic surgery later on. We were delighted to meet with her in October where she joined in the fun with our Nanning girls and their KFC Birthday party.( blog to follow :-)

Working along with Desheng Families we were also able to help provide much needed clean water for babies and children who had long suffered the effects of giardia at Desheng SWI.

The Warm Winter Mission with GGEFwas planned like a military operation by Matthew and his team delivering Love in the form of warm quilts, jackets, socks, shoes etc to over 400 girls around Guangxi.
H4C and GGEF sponsors around the world together made this possible.

I still love the magical photos which capture the sheer scale of the operation and the love, laughter, warmth and hope it brought to so many precious girls.
Check the Slideshow at the start of the Blog to see them again.......

Then our hardy and inspiring UK Marathon Runners sprang into action, training hard over many months, pushing themselves to the limits to raise very substanstial sums which have gone to help start up Foster Care Programmes, support girls at school and help meet the needs of our children with special and medical needs. This work would not have been possible without their sterling efforts and the money behind the scenes to make all this possible.

The wonderful work Matthew does to help impoverished girls in rural China needed sponsorship, and so we were able to work with The Blackford Trust and Prentice-Events to enable him to continue this work in conjunction with GGEF.
The synergising teamwork which makes all this possible just amazes me !!!!!

In my own classroom at Dunfermline High School, students had been eager to learn more about life in China for the girls we work with. They met together at Asda to do a Bag-Pack which raised enough to send most of our Nanning girls to school for a year! The Drama Dept also worked hard to raise funds at the We Will Rock You Show to help pay for the surgery for our burns victim and pay some fees for school.

It became clear that Hope4China had outgrown Iain and I, and this was the year to expand and share the work. So we set up Hope4China'sChildren Yahoo group to enable all friends and sponsors to share in the work. We have been so appreciative of the support of our many faithful sponsors on a regular basis, but we now have the added pleasure of sharing the news of what WE TOGETHER have achieved more effectively, and also giving the opportunity to many to help raise funds themselves to participate in the work.

We set up Everyclick - Give as You Live - which gives us 1p every time we click! At this moment we have raised around £23 - which supports a child in Foster care for one month. If everyone used it regularily, we may be able to support a child for a year- please check it out here :-)

Our major fundraising venture this year was Iain's sponsored walk around Skye, which thanks to his valiant efforts AND the amazing generosity of people in Skye, Dunfermline and around the country raised an amazing £6000 which made possibe our return to China and many programmes to help the children!

In September we were able to raise eleven new sponsors which helped to get the new Foster Care programme at Yizhou SWI off the ground. Due to the nature of the group homes there, this new venture could not have worked unless we had sponsors for all. I was so proud of the sponsors who rose to the challenge of making this possible for these babies and teenagers who had been through so much! It was a privilege to meet with all of the children in October and see the difference this made to their lives.
Thank you all!

Just before we travelled back to China in October we were delighted to hear that we could provide a wheelchair for Patricia, one of our very special children whom we had supported since 2005.

There are probably many more things which have happened over the year, and many more who have helped.........thank you all :-)

Of course, the most amazing help is the steady and faitfhful giving of sponsors month by month which enables the life-changing sponsorship in foster care, education to roll on..........

Please check individual blog entries for more details on the children in all our programmes and how they have been helped.

Out trip back to China in October was just so amazing at so many levels that I cannot even begin to describe it here...I am still working on the Blog entries to try and share the experiences thro the photos........but let me just end this resume with the best news EVER!!!!!!

We have been able to work to help babies out of orphanages in to Foster Care,

We have been able to work to help girls trapped by poverty, into a Life of Hope,

We have been able to help with individual and medical needs....

....but we have always lacked the resources to provde real life-changing and long term help for these children with severe special needs.

Until now...........

In 2010 we begin a new project New Hope for Special Children. This is just the BEST news!!!!!!!!
And we are SO thankful to all who have helped make it possible.
I think we will make it the first Blog of the New Year :-)

So, A BIG Thank you to all for the wonderful support and work throughout 2009!
We look forward in anticipation to all that we can do together in 2010!!!!
Blessings to all,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Desheng Days- Desheng Primary School - Links with Scotland

It was as exciting as ever to draw up outside the
familiar gates of the primary school in Desheng town. It is just a little down from the SWI, and is of course the school many of our children would have attended had they remained in China.
My heart always jumps just a little.........

Desheng Nongxian Primary School -
I am loving beginning to recognise some of the characters at last -
 with the second last character meaning little, xiao ie Primary
I LOVED this noticeboard as we entered the school & thought it looked so cute....until I asked Matthew what it meant...
Instructions for prevention of spread of swine flu!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh well, it looked nice :-)

It was great fun to walk up the driveway to the school & see the children playing, excited to see their visitors. We did have a few shots at basketball with them...but they just laughed at our attempts.

Soon the bell rang & the children were all back in the classrooms.
We visited a very lively class of 11 & 12 year olds - around 50 in the class!!!!!

It was easy for them to show me China on the globe...

........but we had a bit more difficulty trying to locate Scotland :-)
It was fun to try &a explain a little about Scotland, and Eilidh's Primary school there. Real Global Citizenship! We handed out photos & info from each member of Eilidh's class & friends. There was great excitement as the kids all looked at the photos & the English writing.

Then Matthew explained how they were to reply to their Scottish friends at Commercial Primary School
And so we took home 50 cards from the Chinese pupils to match up with the photos when we got back & give to each Scottish pupil (that will be another story - when I get all the permissions in)
It took quite some organising but eventually  the pupils in 2 classes at Commercial Primary had a card from their Chinese friends!
There was GREAT excitement as they looked throught the Photoshow I made for them and they pointed out "their friend".And real excitement at reading  & trying to pronounce their new friends names :-)
 Now the photos will wing their way back to the class in China and we will see where this goes.......
Active learning across the Globe :-)

Some tartan pencils from Scotland to share....
and we were on our way,
........waving goodbye to our Desheng friends...til next year!!!!!!!

Next stop, the Party for all our GGEF Desheng girls:-)))

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Qianhe School, Desheng

We drove out of Desheng town, through the mist and the hills into the remote area of Qianhe where several of the girls have been supported by GGEF. It brought back poignant memories of the last time we visited .....( see 2006 entry)

There before us was the school we had helped to finance...and now things had improved even more as the government had provided another building for the children.

It was certainly a lot quieter than our last visit.

It was good to see the old plaque again thanking Hope4China, Desheng families &Portree High School who had all helped to raise the money to build the school.

It was great to enter the clasroooms and see bright , attentive pupils excited to see their visitors.

The teacher was bright & animated, and after some introduction it was good to see the pupils break into groups for some activities & shared learning experiences.

Then it was time for some introduction from their visitors where Cindy shared some information about Katelyn's Primary school in the US.

Having received lovely letters from US pupils, the Chinese pupils were excited to write their own replies in Chinese. They also drew some wonderful pictures to take home to the US class.

It was so sad to say goodbye to them...but we drove thro the remote roads to some local homes.

                            ...... where they were working with silk -worms.
It was fascinating to see all the varying stages of the work!

                               And the locals of varying ages seemed quite fascinated to be seeing us :-)

I just love the character etched on the faces of these women who have lived thro some troubled times. They do remind me of some of the Highland faces of women who have battled against poverty all their lives.

Soon we were driving back to Desheng Town, where we would meet another Desheng class and our special Desheng girls!