Bethel China

Bethel empowers the visually impaired Chinese orphan community by providing foster care, education, therapy, and livelihood opportunities to VI orphans and by training everyone with the same vision. Bethel provides a safe and stimulating environment in which VI orphans of all ages and abilities can live, learn, and laugh in the process of becoming independent and participating members of society. In addition, Bethel aims to strengthen existing Chinese institutions by capacity building caregivers using workshops, e-learning, consultancy and training materials that focus on raising the quality of care for VI orphans.
Dec 2, 2013

We ran the Beijing marathon 2013!

On the 20th October 2013, 19 children with visual impairments ran 4km in the Beijing Marathon, accompanied by over 100 volunteers. It is an amazing achievement for each child and it was great to see so many people support our kids!

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Many of the runners who did the mini, half and full marathon crossed the finish line wearing a blindfold to raise awareness of visual impairment. In a culture where blind people are rarely seen in public, apart from begging, it was a wonderful opportunity for thousands of people to see children with visual impairments running.

One of the highlights was seeing so many men get involved. Over 3/4 of our kids in this age group are men, and they need good role models and mentors.

It was a great opportunity to share Bethel China’s vision with the world: that children with visual impairments CAN live life to the fullest!

Thank you for supporting the kids as they ran in the marathon!

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Oct 1, 2013

Beijing Marathon 2013!

Tracy running
Tracy running

Running is in the air at Bethel! This time of year is a great time to go outside, exercise and have fun with friends and supporters.

Following the success of last year’s Beijing Marathon, we have 18 kids who will be running 5km in the Beijing Marathon on the 20th October 2013. Running alongside 30,000 other runners, each child will be paired up with an adult  to finish the race.

In a culture where disabled people are rarely seen outside, these kids are doing something very unique. In running, they are proving to the world that they should be taken seriously, that their visual impairment does not need to impair their life, and that they can do almost everything that a sighted person can do.

Thank you for partnering with us to ensure that our kids live life to the fullest, one step at a time.

Katie running
Katie running
Alan running past the Gate of Heavenly Peace
Alan running past the Gate of Heavenly Peace

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Sep 10, 2013

Treating Children as Individuals

As children become teenagers, it is even more important that we treat them as individuals.

Dong Fang (Eric) is a 12-year-old boy who has been in Bethel’s care for three years. He is very clever. He had never learned Braille before coming to Bethel, and after just a few weeks, he could read! He was one in the first group of children who started going to the Beijing School for the Blind.

dongfang

Dong Fang’s first year at school was a struggle.  As he is very clever and picks things up quickly, he was often bored in class, and he chose to push the boundaries of what he could get away with. He frequently ran away from his school classroom and his teachers were very angry. They resorted to asking his ayis to always stand outside the door to catch him on his way out.

Eventually, his ayis and teachers realised that whenever Dong Fang ran away from class, he headed straight for the elevator. He has a very technical mind and he loves anything to do with engineering. He kept asking questions about how the elevator worked.

At the beginning of the semester in March this year, Dong Fang was told that if he stayed at school during his classes, worked hard, and passed his exams, then he would be able to visit an elevator factory for his birthday. Thinking of this reward was the motivation that he needed. He worked hard, and during the summer holidays, he was allowed to visit the Schindler Offices in Beijing.

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The Schindler team were wonderful! They spent some time giving the kids a presentation about the electronics behind elevators, and told them about the fastest and strongest ones in the world. Their presentation was fun, interactive and creative-perfect for children who are blind.

After the presentations, they took the kids to the escalators and elevators to see how the theories are put into practice. The whole day was very hands on and educational.

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Dong Fang loved it! At the end, the Schindler team gave him a hat for his birthday.

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The kids that we have at Bethel are like any other child. Each one is very different, they need different motivations, goals and rewards, and they need to be treated as individuals. It was a wonderful experience for Dong Fang’s caregivers and teachers to see him so excited to learn about different engineering projects. He is such a sweet boy!

Thank you for supporting Bethel’s vision to see every child with a visual life life to the fullest. We believe that children like Dong Fang can grow up to be an engineer. He has the mind, and the drive, and the determination to do so. It is our job to give our kids the opportunities to learn about different careers that they can work towards.

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