FEATURE | Bonding Hearts at ICC
In this feature, we want to share a few stories of our local staff who have dedicated themselves to caring for the ICC children. Many of them have been walking with ICC for many years to help bring love, hope and opportunity to the most vulnerable children in China.
A Factory Worker Who Became a Caregiver
Uncle Chen is the only male caregiver working at the Hengyang Care Centre.
He and his wife used to provide foster care to a few of the children from the government welfare centre. Some of the children lived at their home for more than a year before moving on to their adopted home.
After his daughter finished her studies and no longer needed his financial support, with encouragement from his wife, Uncle Chen left his job at the factory and came to ICC to work as a caregiver in 2013.
Not Giving Up
At the Hengyang Care Centre, Uncle Chen looks after eight young men in the Dolphin family.
The Dolphin boys were in their young teens when he first started his role as a caregiver. Many of them have special needs, and they require full-time help daily. As he began to spend more with them, Uncle Chen also came to know each of the boys very well. He realised that these young people needed a lot of love and assurance because they had experienced abandonment when they were little. With this in mind, he encouraged them not to let their disabilities be a hindrance and take as many opportunities as they could to learn new things.
Uncle Chen with the young men and staff in Hengyang Care Centre.
A Bonding Experience
Once he accompanied one of our young people, Feifei, for a check-up at the Changsha hospital. It was the first time for Feifei to travel away from the care centre, and it can be daunting for a young boy who has never been on public transport before. Uncle Chen, who had never been up to Changsha City, took the responsibility of looking after Feifei and kept him safe during the trip. The experience has enabled Uncle Chen and Feifei to have a special bond. Uncle Chen also commented on how much he enjoyed seeing the scenery while riding with Feifei on high-speed rail for the first time. His love for life and his willingness to take on challenges has made him a role model for the young people in ICC Care Centre.
Children’s Needs Come First
Jing has been working as a therapist for many years at the Changsha Care Centre’s Enquan Yuan, a cluster of group homes for children with moderate to severe disabilities. The team calls her “sister”, and she is wellloved by the children. Earlier this year, Jing found out she was pregnant and was very excited that she was going to be a mother.
Working On a 15 Days Shift
In May, the therapist and special education teachers were required to work on a 15-day rotation at the Changsha Care Centre, and they have to live in the quarantine area 24 hours a day. Because Jing was pregnant at the time, her supervisor removed her from the 15-day roster. But she was the first employee in the department who asked to be put on the list so she could continue to work.
Over the 15-day shift at Enquan Yuan, Jing was responsible for running the therapy programmes and had a busy schedule during her time there. Along with the other therapists, she slept on wooden rehabilitation beds which the children would use for therapy sessions during the day.
The team was concerned that she was overworking and not taking enough rest. But Jing never complained about her difficulties. “Don’t worry! I can take care of myself!” She is the happiest when she sees the progress made by the children:
“I don’t mind being tired as long as the children are doing well.”
We are so grateful for many staff like Therapist Jing, who is serving sacrificially so that our children can be kept safe during this challenging season.
We are pleased to announce that Therapist Jing has recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Mother and daughter are both healthy!
Caregiver Li Xingping
23 Years with ICC
Community-Group Homes Manager
“I started working at ICC 23 years ago and was part of the very first group of ICC staff. As an organisation, we went through many transitions, and I am in awe of seeing the transformation in the children. The change in the young people’s lives is the result of the love and care brought on by the ICC team and our generous supporters.
I remember when I first arrived at the Oasis House many years ago, the children lived a very different life. The change began when the teachers and caregivers started to guide them through self-care with constant support and therapy. Many of the ICC young people are now working outside the care centre, and have their own places. Some are working at the ICC vocational training workshop. This was not something we would have dared to dream about many years ago.
The children and I have been together for more than 20 years now. We have a very strong bond; they are like my children. When I officially retired in February this year, I chose to stay with the young people. When the outbreak began, I stayed and lived with them in their community home for a total of 81 days. If possible, I would like to continue to stay with them, as long as my body is still able!”