SIHONG, China — Employee volunteers from Ford REC, the company’s Research and Engineering Center, recently visited orphans in Sihong County in eastern Jiangsu Province, following up on the Orphans Charity Project, which the company was involved in during last year’s 7th Global Week of Caring.
After a three-hour bus ride, 15 local and international employees, together with volunteers from the Amity Foundation – the biggest NGO in China, which initiated the project – went their separate ways to see 30 orphans who live in several villages.
At 10-year-old Song Qiqi’s home, volunteers saw many school prizes hanging on the walls — one of the few decorations in her barely furnished room, and volunteers had an inspiring conversation with the third-grade model student. When asked about her favourite subject, the self-effacing Song said “English” in hushed tones and counted from one to ten in the language. REC employees warmly encouraged the girl in her study, hoping they can converse in English during their next visit.
Although it was a long day for the volunteers, they all agreed it was one of their happiest trips and that the children’s smiles were incredibly rewarding.
“I really appreciate a project which gives me an opportunity to spend time with these children,” said Helen Hua from Human Resources. “I could not forget their angelic faces and heart-warming smiles. Their living conditions are unimaginable for us who live in the cities. I hope more people will join us, so we can let these children to see the beauty of the world.”
There are many children like Song living in the villages in Sihong.Most of them have lost both of their parents in tragic accidents. Volunteers also gave stationary and clothing to the children in a bid to support their studies.
“It is an honour to be here,” said Tim Cleary, an REC international employee from Australia. “Although their living conditions are depressing, these children are well-mannered and polite. It is important for them to keep getting access to education.”
REC disbursed US$5,293 to support the education of 22 orphans, while employees voluntarily donated another US$13,500 to help 58 children during last year’s Global Week of Caring. Volunteers will also visit other orphans in Hunan Province this year.