...In the life of ICC
Posted by Communications Staff November 13, 2014
Hengyang project in 2008
Our first steps, our first words, the first day of school, our first love: journeys are made up of milestones. They are the events and places that allow us to chart the route we travel — both in life and geographically.
For ICC, milestones are most often events: David Gotts’ earliest trip to a welfare centre where he saw, firsthand, the need of abandoned and disabled children. Or ICC’s 20th anniversary, celebrated in 2013.
ICC marks two significant milestones in 2015: the ten-year anniversary of the Hengyang project, and the five-year anniversary of ICC’s project in Sanmenxia.
Prior to 2005, ICC China teams had already made several trips to work with children at the Hengyang Welfare Centre.
As relationships with Hengyang government leaders grew, the government issued a formal invitation to ICC to become partners in care for the disabled children living at the welfare centre. In 2005, Kyla Alexander led a group from ICC in Changsha to establish a permanent presence in Hengyang.
Ten years on, new group homes enable children to live in family-style groupings. Old buildings have been renovated into classrooms and craft workshops. Hengyeng now boasts administration and medical offices, special education classes and physical therapy programmes. Mortality rates of abandoned children have fallen dramatically — from 80 to 30 per cent.
In a joint ceremony with the Chinese government in May 2015, the project’s tenth anniversary will coincide with the official opening of the brand-new five-storey children’s care centre in Hengyang.
It was 2009 when the first China Team went to the city of Sanmenxia in Henan province to work at that city’s welfare centre. ICC was in discussion with both city and provincial governments to establish a more permanent presence there. In May 2010, ICC became part of the actual management structure of the welfare centre through a formal five-year partnership agreement.
Sanmenxia buildings in 2010.
A cost-sharing arrangement enables ICC to hire increased numbers of care staff, therapists and special educators, decreasing the ratio of children to care givers — thus dramatically reducing the mortality rate of the children.
Through this partnership, ICC is creating family-style living arrangements for groups of six to eight children. ICC’s integrated model — encompassing education, therapy and medical care — is helping to create real change for abandoned children in Sanmenxia.
ICC and the government in Sanmenxia are beginning a second set of negotiations towards another five-year agreement, all in the hope of changing more lives in Sanmenxia.