NANCHANG, China — For two consecutive weekends, Nanchang Cares4Kids, a volunteer group founded by Nanchang-based international Ford families, visited Nanchang's School for Deaf Children, bringing stationery and necessities, while spending some rewarding time with the young students aged 3-10 years.
About 21 volunteers, including staff from Jiangling Motors Corporation, Ltd. (JMC) – Ford’s commercial vehicle investment in China – and four children, joined the visit on February 18, bringing specially-shaped balloons and coloured origami flowers to cheer up the students.
Divided into smaller groups, volunteers and their children had a great time with the kids: playing darts, outdoor ball games, molding play dough, building interesting things with Lego bricks and other hands-on toys.
Many of the kids at the school come from underprivileged families where parents spend long hours working to ensure good medical care for the children. While some children see their families once a week, others may see their families once or twice a year. The children are cared for by compassionate and devoted school staff, however, they rarely leave the school grounds and have little or no interaction with others outside of the school.
Volunteers of Nanchang Cares4Kids visited the kids again on February 25 as the first visit had given them such a moving and memorable experience. This time, over 30 volunteers joined the visit and a small birthday celebration for two volunteers and one of the school’s students. Reporters from Nanchang News were also there to report on the event and widening the awareness of the school to the Nanchang community. The children had fun making party hats and eating cake in addition to lots of coloring and playing with the volunteers.
"With each visit, we see bright eyes, wide smiles and curious minds," said Camilla Cherian, organiser of the event and one of the founders of Nanchang Care4Kids, and wife of Praveen Cherian, MCA Chief Program Engineer at Ford / JMC. “Our goal is to make regular time to play with the children, time where they can be creative, make things or sing songs or simpy play one-on-one with volunteers. We are planning to visit twice a month for the next 3 months and if we discover that they need more time with volunteers, then we will provide that. We also plan a special outing on June 1st for Children’s Day. This will be coordinated with Spring Garden Children’s House, a local Chinese Kindergarten whose teachers, parents and children have also participated in these volunteer events”, said Mrs. Cherian.
These visits were the latest event the Ford families have organized for the benefit of underprivileged children in Jiangxi Province. Joining hands with other volunteers and local communities, the group held a fundraising party for an orphanage in December 2011, following in the footsteps of a visit to SOS village in November, as well as a successful "Bring Me Hope" (BMH) summer camp in August. . “It’s exciting seeing the Nanchang community, both expats and local Chinese, coming together to serve the needs of these children and others in their community. Without the volunteers, these type of events could not be possible,” said Mr. Cherian.
According to Mr. Cherian, the group's blog will start in a week or two, and it will get more public attention on underprivileged children in this eastern province of China.
Bright smiles: ISE families brought colourful balloons to cheer the kids.
Bright eyes: children having a great time with the volunteers and their children.