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Orphanage rebuilds children's confidence

China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-27 09:03
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YUSHU-Kelsang was abandoned on the day she was born.

In March, she was found next to a trash can by a community worker. Weighing less than 2 kilograms her body was curled up in sports clothes, with a black hairband tied around the umbilical cord.

"The infant spent four days in the pediatric ICU before we brought her back," said Ngongkun Tashi, head of the Xinhu Welfare Institute in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province.

The nine female teachers at the institute never left Kelsang's side. They slept nearby, fed her every few hours and took care of her around the clock.

"Kelsang is healthy and laughs a lot, often looking around curiously. We love her as we would love our own baby," said 35-year-old Ngongkun Tashi.

In May, local authorities published a request for the baby's parents and relatives to come forward within 60 days. In July, after no one answered the request, an adoption notice was issued and a third-party evaluation agency appointed in the hope of finding a new home for Kelsang.

"We received 10 applications in three days and found the most suitable candidates after evaluating factors such as their jobs, educational backgrounds, their physical condition and how often they visited their neighbors and relatives," Ngongkun Tashi said.

Nearly seven months have passed and Kelsang has grown into what doctors lovingly call a "fat little girl", who will soon head to her new home.

Since July 2018, when the institute opened, a total of 23 children have been taken care of by 24 teachers at Xinhu. Most of the children lost their parents in accidents or to diseases.

"We want to give our children a lot of love, making them feel no different from others," Ngongkun Tashi said. "Every day, the teachers take them to school hand in hand and pick them up after class. They have study rooms in our institute to do homework, with volunteers serving as one-on-one tutors."

The institute has a basketball court, a playground, an activities room and other facilities to enrich the orphans' extracurricular life.

"Every morning, the teachers comb the hair of our 11 girls. Ponytails, pigtails, braided hair … even male teachers can now do nice hairstyles," Ngongkun Tashi said.

The central government allocates 13,200 yuan ($1,970) annually for every child in Xinhu for food, clothing and other daily necessities.

"A good standard of living is guaranteed," Ngongkun Tashi said. "We also pay attention to their mental health, chatting with them regularly to prevent any psychological problems."

Abin, a 10-year-old Tibetan boy from Yushu's Nangqen county, lost his parents at the age of 8 and was sent to Xinhu with his younger brother and sister.

"A shy and quiet boy at first, Abin is now willing to start a conversation with strangers-all because of soccer," said Ngongkun Tashi, who is a fan of the game and was a top player on his college team. "Abin has good speed and perfect ball control, earning him the title of Yushu's Cristiano Ronaldo."

Playing sport boosts the boy's confidence. "Soccer always takes me far away. When I run hard, all my troubles are left behind," Abin said.

Ngongkun Tashi said: "When talking about orphanages, many people use words like 'sadness' and 'pity', but in fact, every child in Xinhu lives happily. They are angels with positive attitudes and sunny personalities, filling Xinhu with the most beautiful smiles."


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