Child Sponsorship: Love, Life and Opportunity – Story of Gang
That day, outside the Little Ark, the leaders were served coffee by Gang, who had the widest smile on his face, as he enthusiastically served the guests in his brand new smart uniform. Reflecting on Gang’s story, and seeing how well he was doing in his new job, a job that he loves, and gives him so much pride, made me so emotional.
Gang’s story began around the same time as my story with China and ICC started.
Gang (also known as James) was born in October 2000. His condition was immediately life-threatening if he did not receive surgery. His parents had left him in a basket outside the office of David Gotts, the founder of ICC, with a letter pleading that his finders would help pay for the surgeries he needed. David immediately sought permission from the government to help him. Gang did well post-operatively and was discharged into the care of ICC’s Hope House in Changsha.
A few months after his birth, I joined the ICC team in China as a language student. I remember this cute and beautiful baby growing up in the baby room. As he grew, it became apparent that he had quite complex medical needs and a significant hearing impairment.
The Child Sponsorship Programme enables ICC to provide holistic care to Gang throughout his childhood, from 24-hour care, to in-house special education, and later arranging for him to attend the special education school in Changsha. He grew up loved by all the staff, who enjoyed his company and his funny nature.
About two years ago, further surgeries were needed. During that time, Gang got very sick and was moved to ICC’s high care area for closer observation from our medical staff. Eventually, he bounced back to stronger health and began to take on some of the responsibilities in the community home — helping out with cleaning, clearing-up and taking care of the more dependent children.
Living with purpose
When he turned 18 years old, Gang was taken on as a vocational trainee in a newly-designed mobile food truck called ‘Little Ark’ (published in the June Newsletter). He learned to make coffee with the aid of visual prompts and guidance from our long-term volunteers.
Gang serving coffee
From making coffee to using the popcorn machine, he is now working as part of a team, communicating with sign language (as a result the whole team received training on a new skill!) and he has started to earn his own wages.
He has also been coming up with ideas, such as putting an awning on the front of the food truck to help to provide shade, which he had seen at another place.
When he greets the guests his face is bright and animated, you can tell just how excited he is to be part of something and to have a purpose.
Gang with the Little Ark team: Jessica, Melody (Local Volunteer) and Matt Pitt (International Volunteer)
ICC has walked Gang’s whole life with him: through life-saving surgery as an infant, to special education as a child, then more surgeries and critical care as a teenager, to vocational training as a young adult. His life speaks volumes about ICC’s vision to provide love, hope and opportunity to children and young people with disabilities, transforming their lives. And now, he is serving others… coffee and popcorn!
Become a Child Sponsor and walk Hand-in-Hand with ICC’s children!