Something good is about to happen for the children at the orphanage where Henry lived in Pingliang, Gansu Province, PRC. They are about to be moved, this month or early next, to a brand new set of buildings at a larger site on the outskirts of town. The old buildings at the current site are worn from overcrowding and were shaken in western China’s massive earthquake in May 2008.
Of course the bad news is that although in a new facility the children will still be in an orphanage, one with limited resources, and nearly all of these children have special needs. More than a third have facial cleft anomalies like Henry but, with new arrivals, increasing numbers have cerebral palsy or similar physical disabilities that are difficult long term challenges for the orphanage staff.
We know it is very common for children with special needs to be abandoned in rural China. We do not know why there are so many children with special needs from birth defects in this particular place, but there are. And at this orphanage, in this highway town along the path of China’s ancient Silk Road, there are more than 130 of them.
To cope, one of the new orphanage buildings will be devoted entirely to physical therapy. In partnership with Love Without Boundaries, we would like to help the orphanage pay for physical therapy training for more of its staff. The orphanage already has raised the equivalent of $1,000 USD locally for this effort and LWB has pledged to match this amount from its general donation fund. But about $500 more is needed for the training program planned and any additional amount we raise would be directed to the purchase of physical therapy equipment that is much needed too. If you would like to join us in making a contribution go to the LWB web site and in the upper right corner of its homepage click on the icon labeled “Donate Now.” Under "category" select “Orphanage Assistance,” enter "For Pingliang Physical Therapy" in the “Notes” section, and then complete the form. Meanwhile, LWB is still looking for more sponsors for its nutrition program begun at the orphanage last spring.
In China’s turbulent transformation people are leaving places like rural Gansu Province in droves. They are heading for industrial cities, especially the large population centers in the central and eastern portions of the country that have become new economic development zones. It would be easy to feel left behind in the rural west, perhaps for no one more so than a disabled child in an orphanage there. Yet it can be remarkably easy for us here to is to reach all the way across the planet to try, at least in this small way, to make things just a little bit better for that child.