Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Ripple-Effect...

The Ripple-Effect is defined as ‘a spreading series of effects or consequences caused by a single event’. We all experience the ripple-effect daily, either by causing a ripple or being affected by one, we just aren’t always lucky enough to recognize what is happening. My ripple-effect started with spring cleaning. That annual ritual of cleaning out the old to make room for the new. I find spring cleaning refreshing and revitalizing. But this year brought a new twist to my ritual. As I was going through the kids’ clothing I was making my usual ‘donate’ and ‘keep’ piles, but this year I was distracted. I had just received photos and information about the children in our Mama’s Wish program at Tongren Middle School. Most students from schools in Tongren County, Huangnan Prefecture, Qinghai Province are from rural villages. There are no specific financial incomes for those villages but they depend on farming and animal husbandry, which are hardly enough to keep them from starving let alone able to purchase warm clothing for their children for the harsh winter weather. At Tongren Middle school there are about 1600 students and there are not enough dormitory rooms. Generally 40 students share one room and two or three students have to share one bed. These beds are in poor condition and should not be shared. There are stories of students being injured because the beds collapsed on them.
Our Orphanage Assistance program usually takes care of a need like this by contacting the adoptive parent Yahoo group, we raise funds and purchase what is needed. Only that doesn’t work for our Mama’s Wish students, Qinghai doesn’t participate in international adoption so there isn’t a parent Yahoo group to contact, making fundraising much more difficult.

Back to my spring cleaning. As the clothes that no longer fit my children were stacking up I found myself wishing I could get them to the Mama’s Wish students—but shipping is extremely expensive and then there is the whole customs issue and duty fees. But the need is just so great.
Then it occurred to me—LWB has a wonderful group of people right in China. What if they would gather their used clothing, and that of their family and friends, colleagues and neighbors, and they sent them to our Mama’s Wish students? Well, the ripples were set in motion and where they went was simply amazing.

I emailed our China staff with my request and offered to pay the shipping costs out of our Special Projects General Fund. Here is what happened: 81 packages were received from many different places in China; 52 packages were distributed to the students in Tongren School, including students who are not in our Mama’s Wish program. The remaining 29 packages will be distributed to poor families in the area. A portion of the clothing came from the classmates of our Fujian facilitator’s son. Not only did these students donate their used clothing but they also decided they wanted to form a partnership with the Tongren school to help on a continuing basis! So, not only did the Tongren students receive help now but they will continue to receive help in the future.

Who knew spring cleaning would help someone more than half way around the world!! Now, on to replacing those beds….

Kate Finco
Special Projects Director