Aug. 8, 2012
-- The recent news of Chinese Grandmother Lou Xiaoying rescuing abandoned orphans is highly unusual, but applaudable says Judy Elliott International China Concerns (ICC) National Officer. But why do so many families abandon their children? International China Concern have been working with the Chinese government for almost twenty years caring for abandoned and disabled children. They have first hand experience of receiving babies discovered in rubbish heaps, by riversides, in train stations and outside local welfare centre gates. Sometimes these children have notes pinned to them asking that the centre take care of their child as they are now unable to, for all kinds of reasons says Judy.
“Many parents are faced with no choice but to abandon their child. For instance, a rural family would be unlikely to afford premature baby care in a hospital for weeks. Babies born to poorer families are at risk of abandonment simply because the family have no way of paying for medical or surgical treatment for the chid. Families who have a disabled child are often isolated, prejudiced against, and unlikely to receive any proper support as they would in the west. Most of the stories we hear are that parents are literally at the end of their resources and have no way to pay for the services that we take so much for granted.”
Ordinary British volunteers play a key part in the love and care given to the hundreds of Chinese children within ICC’s care. The charity organise volunteer teams who spend up to two weeks working in groups in their projects in Hunan and Henan Province. These volunteers and the teams they attend are a critical part of ICC’s vision to bring love, hope and opportunity to China’s abandoned and disabled children. Anne Ellis, a Class Support Worker from Chester recently spent 12 days in ICC’s Hengyang project. Anne 49 has sponsored a child with ICC since 2007.
“I wanted to visit my sponsor child and I knew that ICC was really making a difference in his and many other children’s lives. My time as a volunteer was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life”
The British charity has a long term commitment and vision to make a difference in China. Judy explains “As China grows economically we believe that NGO’s like ICC can have a huge influence on the development of Social Welfare Policy in the country. Our Community Outreach Programme is working at grass roots level to educate, support and resource families who are at risk of abandoning their disabled child. We have found that local government are eager to work with us and keen to raise the level of care and support that ordinary Chinese people need in these situations. For us, it’s an exciting time to be working and serving in China. We really do believe that we can make a difference. Lou Xiaoying and Anne Ellis, two women from different continents prove that."
ICC is currently caring for over three hundred disabled children and providing support to over six hundred families caring for their own disabled child. This September hundreds of volunteers around the world will walk in their Walk the Wall event - a 10km sponsored walk. Find out more at www.chinaconcern,og