PERSPECTIVE | Seeing Change In Families and Communities
In ICC, every child deserves to be loved, and to have a future filled with hope and opportunity. FPP Local Manager, Alice shares how simple acts of love can transform people and bring hope to vulnerable families.
“In 2013, I was introduced to ICC by a friend and became a volunteer at the FPP summer camp. It was my first time working with children with disabilities.I was helping the FPP team to take care a girl called Lili. Lili and I became good friends, and we have kept our friendship to this day.”
Alice officially joined FPP as staff in 2018.
FPP focuses on supporting families caring for children with disabilities. Alice sees the parents and grandparents as heroes, “There’s a mother who is raising three children. Her eldest son, Yiyi, has cerebral palsy, her youngest son, Xuanxuan, has severe autism. They used to live in a town which was about a four-hour drive from Changsha. In order for them to have a better quality of medical care for their children, the parents gave up their comfortable rural life in their hometown and moved to Changsha city. They now live in a rented iron hut on the top floor of a residential building. Their living condition is poor but that’s all the family can afford.
During the virus outbreak, our team delivered supplies to their home and the mother was always happy to see us and always showed gratitude towards us.” Alice shares. “Her positivity is also affecting her children.”
Their mother would then think of ways to do home therapy and schooling with her children. Alice sees that the parents taking the initiative to teach the children will help their overall development immensely. “Our therapists and special education teachers would suggest techniques and various ways for therapy during their session. We hope the parents or grandparents will be able to apply what they have learnt when they are doing therapy or teaching the children at home.”
Alice shares a story about a boy named Junlin: “He couldn’t sit with his legs bent and this causes delay to his physical development. But through therapy, he can now sit comfortably for 20 minutes.” Alice remembers how his grandmother smiled when she saw Junlin’s improvement. “For me, this is one of the highlights in my job, to be able to see the transformation in the children and their families.”
“Through FPP’s support, usually the children’s condition begins to improve within one to two months.” Alice remarks. “It brings joy to the parents to see they are making progress, and the children in return also feel more confident about themselves.”
FPP therapists giving a therapy session at home with Jinxin (middle) and his grandmother (left).
In China, people are beginning to be aware of the children with disabilities that have experienced abandonment, and many are willing to help and support. However, Alice has noticed that getting similar support for the families caring for children with disabilities can be challenging. “At this stage, it’s important for us to raise public awareness and education in this field.”
It was through the FPP summer camp that Alice had the opportunity to meet with children with disabilities. “When you spend time with the children and see the difficulties they are facing, you come to empathise with the families.”
FPP has been using social media to invite more volunteers to participate in local community events such as this, and encourage them to get to know the families.
“We hope to expand our programme to support more families caring for children with disabilities as well as young adults. Right now, we are looking into vocational training programmes for young people, to help equip them for the workforce.” FPP hopes that the children will have ample opportunities and live to their fullest potential, wherever they are.
“Love produces hope and opportunity, and to love is to believe that every individual’s life is precious, valued and deserves to be loved. We hope that we will bring love to these multi-generational families and make an impact in their communities.”
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