Nationwide plan for better care of orphans

By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-29 07:00

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday more welfare institutions for orphans will be built in the next five years.

Dou Yupei, vice-minister of civil affairs, said the ministry would allocate 200 million yuan (US$25 million) annually between now and 2010 to build welfare institutions in each prefecture-level city across the country.

The institutions will have multiple functions, such as better care, education and rehabilitation, Dou said at a donation ceremony yesterday.

The plan, called the "Blue Sky Plan," means orphans will live under the same blue sky as normal children. This was advocated by President Hu Jintao during a visit to a children's welfare institution on June 1.

China now has 66,000 orphans living in public welfare institutions and more than 570,000 living with families, according to the ministry.

Half the orphans living in welfare institutions suffer from physical disabilities or congenital diseases.

Dou said another children's welfare plan, the "Tomorrow Plan," has achieved fruitful results since it was launched in May 2004.

The Tomorrow Plan, which provides rehabilitation to all handicapped orphans, has brought new life to more than 25,000 children, 10 per cent of whom have now been adopted by families.

Orphans suffering from congenital diseases or physical disabilities receive free treatment or operations.

Dou said the new plan, implemented by the China Centre of Adoption Affairs under the ministry, is expected to be completed by May next year and would be extended to children of poor families.

"China is still a developing country with limited government funding for welfare," Dou said.

"We are very grateful for the donations and support from home and other countries and hope more warm-hearted organizations and individuals will join our cause in the welfare of children."

(China Daily 12/29/2006 page2)

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