Ten months ago, we learned about an orphanage in rural Anhui who was in need of some essential assistance. We were so grateful to the donors who quickly stepped forward to provide their first heating system, extra formula, new cribs, warm blankets, and medical care. When we met with officials they told us that the help that has been given has truly changed lives forever. However....so much more remains to be done.
As we meet with orphanages, it is always wonderful to find those that will take the aid given to them and use it in every way possible for the children. This is one such orphanage. They have many children with moderate to severe special needs, and what they have done with their limited resources is truly remarkable. When the PTs from Anhui Children's Hospital who work with LWB's mobile medical unit explained the type of exercises the children would need to do, the Fuyang SWI staff rolled up their sleeves and HANDMADE the equipment they would need to help the kids. They showed us with excitement how they had taken material and stuffed it to make bolster rolls to help the kids have support (the blue rolls in the photo below), how they had taken blocks of wood to create handmade steps for the children to practice climbing, how they had cut pieces of wood to make leg and arm splints for the children. Then they showed us each child's personal exercise book and how they work with the kids each and every day. The determination of both the aunties and the children in that makeshift PT room were truly inspiring.
As we visited the different rooms of the orphanage, we made mental notes of all of the things that could be provided to help the beautiful but often fragile babies here: more formula, warmer clothing, glass windows, an on-site doctor, a refrigerator to store vaccines, simple medical supplies. As we walked to the older kids' area, we learned that the kids do not have a working bathroom at the moment, so they have no place to shower. They showed us a nice sized room with a toilet and pipes which had broken, and told us that a total renovation would cost just 10,000 rmb. ($1300). All of us on our team agreed that this is an ESSENTIAL project.
While we oohed and aahed in one of the baby rooms over their newest arrival with cleft lip, I couldn't help but think how I wish I could give this orphanage everything it needs to give the children here the best life possible. As I looked at her tiny face, I thought of how innocent she was, and how she had not been given a choice in her fate. How important her life is, and how deserving she is of our assistance.
It was clear during our meeting that the staff here are trying their absolute best with what they have. While definitely limited in resources and in one of the poorest regions of Anhui....the Fuyang orphanage is an institution truly worthy of our help. Yes, their needs are great... but their determination and desire to help the babies in their care is REAL. So is our commitment to partner with them in any way possible to make a difference. Thank you to everyone who has given in the past to their needs. Since they have only done a few international adoptions in the last few years, there is no parent group yet to make a long term commitment. We absolutely could not help them without your support, and we have seen with our own eyes what a difference has already been made.