Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jack is Walking!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Jack from Jinchengjiang

Jack has a walker!!!! It arrived safe and sound in late December, and Jack hasn’t looked back since receiving it. He uses it right throughout the day and enjoys the freedom it gives him. As Jack wears AFO’s with very built up soles, it’s impossible to get shoes to fit. This isn’t a problem in summer, but winter is a different story. Fortunately we had a large pair of knitted booties with a fluffy lining which fitted over perfectly!

Jack’s use of signs is increasing all the time. If he has a consequence for bad behavior, he will question the Carer with signs, making sure he knows why. He uses thank you all the time to acknowledge things done for him and will carry out instructions when they are signed to him. He has a very clear sense of right and wrong and will expect and wait for an apology, if someone has done something to upset him. He is noticing the needs of others around him a lot more now too.

His skills are improving all the time and he always notices the small interesting details or things out of place around the Unit. He loves to play with playdoh, and is getting very good at colouring in during the Activity time. He is learning how to brush his hair, but has already learned how to get off the toilet by himself and to pull up his own trousers, helping with dressing. He can now build really nice looking buildings with the wooden blocks. When he’s finished, he’s proud of the result and will pat a Carer on the back to make sure they have noticed.

This report comes from Helping Hands Volunteer Association in Guilin.
I cannot believe what a wonderful change in this frightened little boy who was in so much pain.

                                                                      A HUGE
Thank You
to Hope4China friends and sponsors
and AFAC in Spain
who together have made this possible!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Education for Guangxi Girls...Actions speak louder than Words!!!!!

China changes fast.......

When we began to visit schools in Guangxi in 2005 there was such desparate need for the girls to be able to go to school. Our family had already been sponsoring several girls whose reports and photos had been sent to us.. Students at my school were also keen to support them and raised money to help them.
                                    These are some of the poorest families who needed help.

Over the years it has been fantastic to build relationships with these girls. We still meet with many of them in Nanning each year. Some have left school now and are running their own business, working, but still travel far to come back and meet with us.

                                                          They are friends!!!!!!

         Mainly because our support has not just been about money, but mutual respect, love and support.

This is the same girl from the earlier poorest home
                                                         Blossoming and happy!!!!!!

                                          We helped to pay school fees, and now support fees.

                                                                     All signed for......

                                                                            by girls.....

                                                           .......and their parents

.......and school officials!
with meticulous records kept of all payments.
For many of the girls, although the government are officially paying the school fees, there are many extras which still need to be paid for.
The most pressing need is money for food which can be £120 a year!!!!!!!!

                                      We have also raised money to help pay for medical expenses,

                        This little girl, many of you will remember, was badly burned in a fire Hope4China friends and sponsors raised the money to pay for her surgery and give her back her life

                                         This little girl needed help for her heart problems

Our friend here needs constant medication for her kidney problems. This is made possible by the wonderful efforts of Liz and her Strathaven pupils who have supported her needs over the years.

                  We even raised money to help rebuild a school in remote Qianhe, near Desheng.

with a computer to help in the classrooms!!!!!!!
 We carried out our Warm Winter Mission to provide warm clothes and shoes after a heartbreaking letter from a student who was just cold all the time in Winter.

Sponsors from Hope4China, Desheng Families and around the world have done amazing things to make all this possible.
All co-ordinated by Matthew who works so hard to support the girls with his fantastic staff.
It has truly is a privilege to be part of it.

                          Some of the most wonderful times have just been chatting to the girls

As China has advanced economically there has been more support for rural areas. There are now government built new schools in many rural areas. School fees are now paid by the government for Primary children. In some areas allowances are also paid to children in need. This is fantastic progress, but there is still great need.

In 2009 we changed our fee structure to refelect these changes. Instead of different levels of school fees, sponsors now pay an averaged fee of £70 a year. This now allows us to meet the support needs of the younger children ( which can vary from area to area, term to term, depending on family circumstances, health etc). Support can be money for food, clothes, shoes, extra books and even extra classes in some areas.
     In practice we have found that everything is not actually free!
Just today I had a QQ message from one of our Middle School girls who has had to leave school. We had paid her £40 each term to help with her food fees ( as the girls stay in at school for 5/6 days). It was actually costing her £120 for food and so her father has said she must leave to get a job and earn money for the family.
So heartbreaking!!!!!!!
Underlying the fact that there is still so much need.  
So even with government help and our help, many cannot survive.
At the same time as these changes, unfortunately High School fees and the cost of food keeps rising and many girls need extra help even after the school fees are paid.
We provide what we can, but cannot cover it all.
One very gifted girl asked for extra help to attend an excellent art college.
On reflection we decided that we could not afford to give her all she needed.
Instead we asked her to provide some of her Art Work and we have been able to sell prints, cards, mousemats, keyrings, T-shirts, and even a book using this.
Therefore she now earns her own money to help pay the college fees.
It is so much more important to help build self-respect and confidence.
This is what it is all about, and why we are so privileged to be a part of it all :-)

          We are about so much more than providing an education- important and all as that is for our girls!

Matthew believes passionately that it is all about building friendship, inspiring, motivating and having fun!                                            
                                              Encouraging our girls to follow their dreams..........

                    Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we have gathered along the way.
                                           Singing Mo Li Hua together on the bus en route to the park
Parrot swooping in to grab the Yuan from our hands
our girl swinging on the elephant's trunk
first time ever to swim in the ocean
celebrating together on the beach
sharing gifts and photos from friends in Scotland
singing Auld Lang Syne together
talking and crying together over decisions about staying at school or leaving to earn much-needed money
enjoying gifts from sponsors
receiving gifts, letters, photos from sponsors
and sharing communications........

Oct.29 of 2010

"Dear Woodwards,

How are you! Wish you are happy everyday!

I am so sorry and so silly. Maybe you feel strange that why I so long not write to you. I knew you were my sponsor when I was in Primary School, but every year Linda and Cindy come to meet us and play with us, so that make me have a mistake that they are my sponsor. And after I joined the camp and knew many kind person like you. Many good persons face in my mind, so I was confused who is my sponsor exactly.

But now I know I am a foolish girl. On Oct.19 of 2010, Linda came to Yizhou again, she brought many lovely toys. She said that my toy came from my sponsor. I got the toy which is very soft and very comfortable when I touch it. I was very happy and then I saw a paper from you. I knew I made a mistake. So I hope you can forgive me. I want to say thanks very much for you.

After I study at high school, my expenses very expensive, everything needs to pay. It make me worry. But don't worry about me. I am ok now.

Best wishes for you and happy everyday!"

I hope that these few precious photos out of the hundreds we have gathered thro Matthew's amazing work can capture what a joy and privilege it is to be able to share in the lives of these young Guangxi Girls.
 There are so many more who need help.

                                      It costs £70/$120 a year to support a girl.
             Please contact us if you would like to share in the girls lives and offer them hope for the future!
                         We are so thankful to all those of you who are part of this great adventure
                                                 and I know that the blessings are yours xxxx