“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”Love Without Boundaries this week asked if we would be willing to organize another fundraiser to help send additional staff from the Pingliang Children’s Welfare Institute (CWI) to physical and occupational therapy training. Absolutely, we agreed. Our first training project appears to have yielded very good results and the orphanage director now says the need for more staff members trained in physical therapy is a top priority.
- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
The training takes place at Xinqiao Hospital in Chongqing, a huge urban administrative district of 29 million people located about 350 miles southeast of Pingliang, which is in mostly rural Gansu Province. It is a fairly extensive instructional program, lasting a couple of months.
The Pingliang CWI in its new quarters has a special facility for treating children with physical disabilities and two orphanage staff members were sent for the same training in our first physical therapy project. The PT/OT trained staff at the orphanage today are providing regular daily physical therapy for about 40 children who live there, but they have also begun to provide outpatient therapy services for about a half dozen children now brought in each day by families from outside the orphanage.
The orphanage staff would like to do more, which means treating a greater number of children who live at the orphanage while also expanding services for children with disabilities from surrounding communities. A Love Without Boundaries program coordinator thinks the availability of this kind of outreach service may somehow encourage families in the area to keep and not abandon special needs children. It couldn’t hurt.
This latest project seeks to support the costs of sending to the training program the orphanage’s staff doctor and one more additional caregiver (about $1,100), and could be expanded to support more staff attending if more funds are raised. You can join us in making a donation toward this project by using the online form here, selecting the category Orphanage Assistance Fund. In the notes section of the form just type: "Orphanage Assistance: Pingliang PT Training." The orphanage will use local funds to cover the staff members’ travel, housing, and other expenses.
Henry was cared for by the same general staff when he lived at the Pingliang orphanage at its old site; from the time he was first found by a roadside in September 2006 to when he joined our family in June 2008.
The orphanage does receive from occasional adoptions extra revenue that is restricted to use for capital expenses, but nearly all of its children have special needs and this limits the number of children adopted. There are a lot of children there, today about 140 of them ranging in age from a few days to 16 years old with a large portion (about 70 children) between 2 and 8 years old. There is a relatively equal balance of girls to boys. Some of the children have mild special needs while many have more serious issues including blindness, cerebral palsy, acute hearing impairments, or any of a range of developmental disorders. Many have cleft issues, like Henry.
Aside from all its other benefits, physical therapy gives these children, in this setting, special opportunities each day to be physically touched by people trained in how best to do so. Physically held.