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Orphans find homes in Tianjin
By Li Dapeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-13 01:18

Some 23 disabled orphans have a new home in Tianjin.

Called Prince of Peace Children's Home and Children Rehabilitation Centre, the orphanage is funded by two international charities, the Prince of Peace Foundation (POP's Foundation) and World Vision International (WV).

Prince of Peace marks a first for the country: Never before has the Chinese Government allowed a foreign organization to build, staff and manage an orphanage.

More flexible recent policies connected to the management of foundations, allow more organizations to work with the Chinese Government to help in poverty relief and children-focused work.

"With the insistent help of local government, POP's Foundation and WV brought in advanced management styles and well-trained personnel, which will allow the orphanage to take good care of the disabled orphans," said Li Liguo, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Civil Affairs yesterday at the orphanage's opening ceremony.

Located in a residential quarter in Wuqing District of Tianjin, the orphanage and rehabilitation centre is filled with people's love for children.

"We are trying to offer orphans younger than six years old comprehensive care and rehabilitative practices to help them grow healthily and upgrade their living capacity," said WV China's Chief Executive Officer Thomas S.T. Chan.

The 23 children, who range in age from six months to three years and 10 months, suffer from complicated inborn illnesses such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and albinism.

However, in the orphanage, the children, who were abandoned by their parents, are treasured.

"What we do is to make the children know that they are loved and valued, and they are not different from other kids," said WV's President Dean Hirsch.

"We believe they, too, can have a better tomorrow," said Hirsch.

In the orphanage, each nursery governess takes care of three to four kids. Everyday, the children are fed five times with food tailor-made for them.

In addition, they are divided into several groups to take part in rehabilitation activities and play simple games.

There is a card hung at each baby's bed, with detailed information, ranging from the baby's name to its health condition and any hobbies.

"The children are very lovely," saidWang Yunping, a nursery governess who has been working for the orphanage since it opened last November.

"Due to their inborn illnesses, even the oldest baby cannot speak, which really makes it difficult for us to communicate with them. But we can feel their mood and attitude in the expressions in their eyes."

"We do feel they're happy when they are gently embraced and touched," Wang said. "Their smiles always make us happy and moved."

However, compared with other children, the babies' special health status often bring the workers much trouble when they are taking care of them.

"Sometimes, it takes us more than one hour to feed them dinner," she said.

"But I'm very proud of my work. If we don't have enough sense of responsibility and patience, we can't insist on doing our job."

The orphanage also offer professional rehabilitation for disabled children living in the community as well as counselling and training for their parents.

Dandan, a four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, could only lie in bed in his former life. But now, after a half year, he can sit and even stand up.

Guo Haisheng, Dandan's father said, "Dandan is so lucky that he can get good help here when he is still little."

"Now my son, who was isolated before, can have a good time playing with other kids."

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