Wang Zhi Hong - A Sponsor's Story
Judy Elliott, ICC's Development Representative in the UK, shares her experience
Posted by Ben Chhoa April 4, 2013
I first met Wang Zhi Hong in the autumn of 2004 when I visited Hengyang on my first ICC China Team. At that time Hong Hong was about seven years of age, he had cerebral palsy and so was immobile without access to any specialist equipment. The conditions he was living in at the time were appalling. He was abandoned, hungry, cold, wet, and neglected but what touched me about him was that he was always smiling, in spite of his suffering.
One day when it was raining heavily, the whole team and most of the kids (around 50 of us) were in a tiny room together. Wang Zhi Hong and I sat on the floor in the middle of the room, oblivious to the noise and chaos around us. We played jigsaws for around two hours. We only had three of the kind that toddlers use to learn shapes with in the west. But Wang Zhi Hong was happy to do these over and over again. I will never forget how proud he was that he could do the fireman jigsaw.
Over the years I have had the privilege of seeing him every year. He knows I’m his sponsor Mum and that he has a family in the UK who care about him. We love him, he’s our boy. We are so proud of him and the young man that he has turned out to be.
Now, he is living in a community group home with his brothers. Living in the community, learning to become independent, to shop, to cook, to choose. And he is regarded by the others as the ‘big brother’ because he looks after the smaller ones.
Last summer he and the other boys went on a summer camp to help them all to settle into this new family environment. They talked lots about what it means to be part of a family and to love and respect each other. At the end of the week Hong Hong said, “I may not have any parents, but I know I belong”. I am so delighted to be just a little part of this young man’s story. It’s taken many others to help him to get to where he is today - living in his own home and loved by his own family. He really does belong now.