I have come to realise that half of my year is spent preparing for a Trip to China.
The other half is spent recovering and sending out all the information gathered!!!!!!
A pretty good way to spend a year :-)
We were SO busy preparing for this special trip that I had no time to even mention it here.
However before the Team begin to share their experiences here, thought we should let you know how we got there..............................So as I sit at 3am in Jetlag fog, maybe now is the time to begin.......................
Our aim was to continue the steady growth and development of our work with foster families and children thro Grace& Hope for Children, meeting with the families and children, having fun, sharing gifts, meeting any needs - medical or otherwise and encouraging the foster mothers in their so important jobs.
In addition to continuing our work with our Guangxi girls thro GGEF, we wanted to move our developing relationships with the girls to a new level. We spend a lot of time and effort communicating with the girls over the year, building relationships between the girls and their sponsors. Our work and support is not about money - it is about inspiring each girl to believe in themselves and reach for their dreams. As they have written to us about their hopes and fears, we want to continue to visit, building trust and sharing our hopes and fears.
So this year, in addition to the fun we always have, we wanted to introduce more reflection with the girls to create more confidence and self-esteem.
Continuing our work at New Hope for Special Children, we wanted primarily to encourage our dedicated staff, and build on her excellent work with the children and foster families. And then to put new training in place to help each child develop to their full potential.
I have long wished to visit the unique area of Da Mo, a remote Miao minority village in Jingxi, where a friend, Shelley helped to set up programme to help girls there. This time I also hoped to work with another friend to set up a doll & embroidery business to enable the Da Mo women to share their skills and become self-supportive.
Amazingly as we communicated with friends in China to plan our trip, all of the above areas and more, were incorporated into in our itinerary. We are so thankful for their help in these areas.
We were set!!!!!!
Then the real work began working with sponsors we prepared gifts and photos for all the foster families we would meet - a big task in itself!!!!!
The Teddy Bear's Picnic was created in my mind...and off we went on an amazing journey connecting so many people around the world, to provide a Teddy Bear and clothes, accessories for each girl. This took many, many months of planning with special help from Build-a-Bear in Glasgow and Edinburgh
Wonderful sponsors around the world sent donations, teddies and outfits