Monday, April 28, 2014

Visit to Nanning SWI October 2013

Every year we visit Nanning SWI, we seem to be rushing at the last minute to make name tags for the kids so that sponsors can see their children having fun!
Of course, these are not real names - the children have Chinese names! but we use these names for the Grace and Hope for Children Foster Care Programme to maintain privacy.
So on the bus en route to Naning SWI, Xiao Xiao and I are quickly adding English & Chinese names to the labels :-)

 And then the labels are soon on the lovely children who are waiting to meet us their along with SWI staff and their foster families

Great excitement as we pull out the updates from families who have adopted children from Nanning SWI - with staff and families eager to see how "their" children are doing in their new homes around the world
 Xiao Xiao wonderfully checks each update, shares the news with those there who know them

 And for families who were not in our group that day, staff take the updates and gifts to pass on to the relevant families.

Then we shared the gifts we had bought with some donations from families connected with Nanning SWI - beautiful scarves for the foster mums, and new back packs for the children

     Group photo with Doris, Ida, Jacqueline, Ruth, Shirley, Heidi and Hannah 
( Melissa is hiding in this one)
                              Steve, Rita and Darlene came along later....
all sponsored by Hope4China'sChildren

Lots of happiness and nonsense
Rita just loved the bag and scarf!
                           and could not wait to give us a wee twirl :-)

                                  And our Darlene was not to be outdone!!!!!

                        Just LOVED these wee cuties, examining their gifts :-)
                                           And then, it was time for off......
Always wonderful to see the difference that Foster care makes in the lives of these children.

If you could help make this difference for a child, you can check here

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Three months in Guangxi with Hope4China!

I was in my 5th year at Buckhaven High School in Scotland when I decided that I would like to do some volunteering abroad. The main reason for this decision was to take a break from formal education and experience things that I couldn’t in a classroom. 

In September 2013 I finally achieved this when I went to China’s Guangxi province to work with Hope4China’sChildren for three months. 

                      Here I am met by Lucy and Matthew at Nanning airport...

                     and here was my home for 3 months (when not travelling)

I first heard about Hope4China’sChildren in my 4th year at Buckhaven High School studying Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies with Linda Greenshields, and had been very interested about the work they did. 

Hope4China’sChildren provides both financial and emotional support for girls growing up in rural Guangxi Province, China. They also work to help children with special needs, and raise sponsors for foster care.

The Guangxi Girls Education Programme helps girls by obtaining financial sponsorship to allow them to go through formal education and also allows the girls to meet and socialize with other girls who are in similar situations. 

During my three months working with the Hope4China’sChildren Team it became clear to me that the work was about much more than financial aid. 

Everybody involved with the programme, staff and girls alike, has much to contribute to the development of the others and in this way it is like a big family. 

The girls can talk to each other about any problems they have and get help from another girl who has experienced the same thing or has overcome a similar problem in the past.

It is quite difficult to sum up the whole experience in a short piece.
However there are some things that definitely stand out for me:
  • the people I met;
  • the places we travelled;
  • the fact that it even happened;
  • and also Matthew, Lucy and Helen.

During my time in China I met so many amazing people. People who have had a big impact on me and have helped me learn, develop personally and also gain some perspective. All of the places we visited were amazing to me, yet so boring to the young locals. This reminded me of how I thought about the place I live in Scotland.
However I now appreciate the place I live in much more because I know that there are other people somewhere else who wish they could be where I am and have what I have.

Another thing that was an important part of my experience in China was the fact that it even happened at all!
This alone taught me that with enough motivation, encouragement and commitment we can do anything we put our mind to.

Last, but definitely not least, are 
Matthew, Lucy and Helen (the Hope4China staff). 

All three of them looked out for me from the moment I arrived to the moment I left and without them it would not have been possible for me to have the experience I did. They are all personally dedicated to what they do and they all bring their individual personalities together to make a great Team which helps so many people in need of support. 

Without them, and everybody else involved with Hope4China, it would be even harder for the girls to progress in life.

 I think this shows how much of a difference people can make and that we can all find some way to help others. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience this for myself in China.

You can follow the work being done here on FaceBook 
and on the Blog here

You can also check out more of my photos and adventures while I was there