Community Life Brings Community Love

Because of your generosity, older children living in community group homes can take steps toward greater independence

In 2012 we opened the Rich Hubbard Community Group Homes in Hengyang, two specially renovated homes for older children within a neighbourhood that is close to schools, markets and buses. Many of the children living there attend local schools and learn how to live within the community, the first of many steps toward greater independence. 

One of the aims of having the community group homes is to give the children the opportunity to participate and engage in their local community for everyday life experiences. Very recently the boys and girls were able to do just that by planning and shopping for their own meal. They were put into pairs and given a budget and each pair had to decide on one dish for the meal. Then they went shopping for the ingredients and helped their carers prepare and cook their dish. There was much excitement the morning the first group left for the supermarket. The children went inside in pairs with the help of their teachers, to get the ingredients they needed. Some needed tomatoes and eggs, others needed meat and others vegetables. The children were eager to learn how to choose the freshest vegetables and different cuts of meat, as well as count out the right amount of money and pay. 

We don’t always know how people will respond when we take children with disabilities as visible as ours into the community. It can be a nervous affair. But on this day we were very touched by how the supermarket staff treated the children, treating them no differently than any other child or person. One shop assistant was particularly helpful in weighing out the vegetables and finding spices. She commented to one of our Hengyang project leaders about how happy the children were.
The experience was full of life lessons, from choosing a meal and sorting out the ingredients, budgeting, finding the food in the shop, choosing the freshest vegetables, paying for the food and helping prepare and cook the dishes. Because of your support, the children will continue to have the opportunity and confidence to be active members in their own communities.