These two week volunteer service teams change the lives of China’s abandoned and disabled.
Posted by Sam Kirk March 29, 2012
Since its founding, International China Concern has been built on the work of China Teams: people from all walks of life that have felt the call to travel to China for a couple of weeks to volunteer and serve those who are abandoned and disabled.
It is because of the initial groundbreaking work of China Teams that the permanent work of ICC in Changsha, Hengyang and Sanmenxia has come to be established. China Teams have often been the pioneers, clearing the path for more formal, long-term agreements with the various levels of the Chinese government.
How effective are China Teams? Can anything truly be accomplished in such a short period of time? Does the work make a lasting impact in the lives of the children?
John Cooper, ICC’s China Teams Manager (pictured above), has been leading groups of volunteers into China to work for several years. He knows the difference they make, seeing first hand the changes in the children from one visit to another. “China Teams so often pave the way for ICC’s long term work,” he says.
Cooper tells a story from one of the most recent China Teams that worked at the local Welfare Centre in Changsha. It was the first time a team had worked in that facility in several years. This team was working with children that are currently in full-time government care, not in ICC’s care. One team member shared about working closely with an eight-year-old boy that the Welfare Centre said had cerebral palsy. The boy was very withdrawn and didn’t move around much.
As the team member spent time with the boy over the next two weeks, it became apparent that there was no evidence of cerebral palsy—the boy just hadn’t been given a reason to move before. Every day he began to come out of his shell, smiling whenever the team member came around. He even took his first few tentative steps, progressively walking more each day because of one-on-one care!
As a result of this China Team’s work, ICC now has the opportunity to send in more teams to the Changsha Welfare Centre in the future, impacting the lives of children that do not receive much love, hope or opportunity.
John Cooper also shares about a young girl named Ping Ping. Today, she’s a bright, confident 12 year old who is caring, diligent and a help to those around her. But that wasn’t always the case.
John first saw Ping Ping many years ago before she was brought into ICC’s full-time care. A resident of the Hengyang Welfare Centre, she was shy and downcast, not knowing what it was like to be loved and cared for. But, in the short period of time that the China Team was there, she began to come physically and emotionally alive.
This short-term impact has proved to be the catalyst that has allowed later volunteers and ICC staff to work with her over the next few years to help her become that confidant young woman we see today.
These are stories that are repeated time and time again because of the work of China Teams. We invite you to be one of many people from around the world who makes a difference in the lives of China’s abandoned and disabled.
Find out more about China Teams and how you can sign up to be part of making a difference.