Roughly ten years ago, most of China’s orphanages were filled with healthy girls, a reflection of the one-child policy and a cultural preference for boys. Now, two years have passed since the policy was lifted and the Chinese authorities are estimating that currently 98% of abandoned children in China have disabilities. This is primarily because the parents of these children simply cannot afford their care. (Source: The Globe and Mail)
To address the needs of disabled children and their caregivers all over China, WFCF (World Forgotten Children Foundation) in cooperation with the ICC (International China Concern) are stepping in to provide the services and equipment needed to greatly improve the quality of life for disabled children in China. The ICC takes care of more than 350 disabled and abandoned children and young adults in China, providing holistic care in six main areas: rescuing abandoned children, training China's special needs caregivers, providing education, offering nourishing food, providing housing and support, funding surgeries, and working hard to prevent parents from abandoning their special needs children.
Many of the children in the ICC’s care have Cerebral Palsy and face physical challenges every minute of every day. Having an appropriate apparatus that suits their individual needs and growth rates, greatly relieves pain and enhances their quality of life. Having properly fitted and updated equipment also minimizes the potential risk of diseases which can stem from infection.
In 2016, the WFCF funded US$ 10,227 in support of the ICC project to purchase custom-fitted sleep aid systems for 14 children in Hengyang, China as well as 4 to 6 additional sleep aid systems for children at the Changsha Center. Then just recently in 2017, WFCF funded an additional US$ 11,155 in support of the ICC project to purchase two Rifton HTC Shower Chairs, one Leckey Advance Shower Chair with stand, one Nimbo Walking Frame, as well as wheelchair upgrades (cushions and lateral supports) for two wheelchairs.
As ICC Children grow up, their old equipment no longer fits. Thus, creating the urgent need for new adjustable custom equipment. There are 25 children and young adults (three children, one young adult, and three group families) who will now have the apparatus they need to keep up with their continual growth rates. This will undoubtedly have a profound impact on their future by reducing the potential health risks caused by improper posture and offers them a level of independence and mobility that they did not have before.
Shower time is a personal thing and being able to develop independence is important to all people. One of the young men benefitting from a new Rifton HTC Shower Chair is Liu Xiang. Xiang recently moved into a new home and he needed a new shower chair that would fit into a regular bathroom, but still give him the comfort and stability that his body needs. His old chair was made of metal and fabric and needed to be repaired several times. As he grows, the stretching feature of the new chair will prove invaluable. Xiang shared his excitement, “my caregiver would let me sit up and lay down when showering, in the previous one I could not”.
This equipment is not only benefitting these children and young adults in their current lives, but certainly will also be an invaluable gift for the future.
Vanderklippe, N. “The tragic tale of China’s orphanages: 98% of abandoned children have disabilities,” The Globe and Mail. 25 March 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/the-tragic-tale-of-chinas-orphanages-98-of-abandoned-children-have-disabilities/article17625887/ (14 March 2018)