“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
(- Thich Nhat Hanh)
Meanwhile, Love Without Boundaries (LWB) has begun a new support program at the Pingliang Children’s Welfare Institute (CWI), the orphanage in Gansu Province in northwestern China where Henry got his start. We have noted here before that almost all of the 145 children at the orphanage have special needs. For some children at the Pingliang CWI hope lays first in medical assistance, before they can hope for adoption.
Indeed this year the orphanage staff hasn't submitted files to the government for any children to be considered for adoption because it feels so few would be adopted. There are about ten children still there whose files were submitted last year, some matched to families and the others not. Others with more severe issues have little chance of ever joining a family. The orphanage's director reported recently that as the children grow older their needs seem to be increasing in severity.
This past Spring, LWB began to retool and in some cases phase out its infant nutrition sponsorship programs because its costs in distribution and monitoring were increasing while orphanages such as the Pingliang CWI were saying they could afford formula and cereal bought locally and could better use the help in other areas. The organization is continuing its aunties sponsorship program that provides children with more caregivers. But we were looking to switch our monthly nutrition sponsorship toward something the orphanage was more clearly unable to provide on its own. So we contacted LWB’s executive director and orphanage assistance team to come up with a program that seemed to best fit what was happening in Pingliang, which resulted in the new Special Medical Projects Program there. Its funds are already being used to transport a little girl who LWB is calling “Trish” to a hospital for cleft palate surgery. She had earlier received a lip repair through a NGO charitable program, but without palate surgery she would be unable to learn to speak. Two more Pingliang children needing palate surgeries are next in line. Child surgery costs include those for both the surgery itself and travel, since the modern hospitals with capable surgical staff and facilities are a long distance away. One hospital the orphanage has used for cleft surgeries is in Xi’an (Shaanxi Province). Another in Kunming (Yunnan Province) is recommended by LWB and offers free surgeries supported through Smile Train. While a trip to this hospital would have higher travel costs, it would be cheaper overall. LWB will allow Mrs. Yang, the orphanage’s director, and her staff to make the choice, since one of them will need to accompany each child on these long but important journeys.