Sunday, October 03, 2010

Special Care for Special Needs! Qingdao, Oct 2009

Perhaps one of the most amazing parts of last year's Trip was our visit to Jiaozhou town to the "home" for many Qingdao children. It is located abour 2.5 hours drive from Qingdao. The staff quite rightly insist on calling it a home, because they believe every child is nurtured and valued as part of their wider family and community here.
It was quite amazing to capture photos of the very rural scenes a thro the window, then suddenly to draw up at the incredible new buildings of the Therapy centre.

The land in a remote area was gifted to Qingdao CWI by the local Civil Affairs and funding received from many agencies to facilitate the build.

Impressive doesn't quite do it justice!!!!!!!

                                                   Our official welcome with Civil Affairs
                                       Getting to meet with the special children and nannies...
                    These were the cutest boys!!!!! I hope some of them have families by now!!!!!!

No words for this beautiful angel.........

However what was even more impressive was the family care received by each of the children here,
many with severe special needs.
Conditions were warm and welcoming.
Staff bright animated, involved and providingone-to one attention for many of the children!

We were treated to a special ceremony which included so many of the children singing,
 playing games together, making music

We were then welcomed to visit the group homes in the Centre and walked along corridors with children's photos and paintings on the wall.

There are apartments within the building where a foster family live with around 4 children. We arrived just as some were waking from a nap in bright, comfy bedrooms with warm foster mamas, fresh cooking, toys lying around...just a "home". The children were happy and confident, very comfortable with their carers.

Ms Zhang Ronghua's vision is that each child in her care will flourish and reach their FULL potential,
 no matter what the need or disability....

And so, while she hopes AND prays that each of "her children" will find their forever family,
she is also aware that many have such needs that this is unlikely.........

So she has planned ahead.......

                                A large market garden grows all the fruit and veg for the Home
The children are encouraged to help and this is to be developed into future employment
for some who will not leave this home

For those not as interested in growing, she has set aside an area for machinery and has made plans to set up a business for her older children to begin making things and supporting themselves as far as possible

Therapy Centres are the "big thing " in China these days, recognising that many of the children in orphanages now have many special needs. Many are trying hard and succeeding, but far too often children are taken out of loving foster care, returned to SWI for therapy where staff are overworked and undertrained and children left to languish.........

The wonderful thing about the Therapy here is that it recognises firstly that the children need a loving family and then builds on that by providing therapy in a variety of different ways to suit each individual child.
This room just amazed us is a sand tray with many different kinds of objects. Children are encouraged to place different objects in the tray and use them to try and describe how they feel about different things in their lives.
        Here was the Craft centre where the children learn how to make beauriful ornaments with beads
The kindergarten where all the fostered children in the area come each day to PLAY!!!!!!!
Some fantastic toys for the children to play with.............
but I was really impressed by the good old cardboard box
which has always given kids everywhere hours of fun :-)
My daughter disappearing under brightly coloured balls
seems to me to sum up so much of the fun and child-centred joy found here in Jiaozhou town.
We had come to visit our youngest daughter's early home and to see if there was anything we could do to help the children still living there.

Instead I think the director and staff there may be able to help us in our work in Guangxi   - we hope to take our H4C staff to Qingdao to see their therapy in action...
and maybe even partner with Ms Zhang Rhonghua training in Guangxi SWI?
Everything happens for a reason........

I will close our 2009 Trip Blog with her words when asked what we could do to help.

"Please help our Qingdao children find their families!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Gemma said...

That's my daughter's jie jie holding the little girl in the blue jacket!

Anonymous said...

We are seeking pre-approval to adopt the little girl with glasses standing beside your daughter in the group photo. We just wondered if you recalled anything about seeing her . . . the orphanage looks awesome and the people very caring. I recognized the nanny who sat beside YiLi when she was interviewed for the 8-2010 Journey of Hope.