Thank you very much for supporting Bethel's mission. As you may know we are closing our GlobalGiving donation channel. Thank you for cooperating with us in that matter by switching your donation from GlobalGiving to one of our other donation channels. If you have not yet switched donation channels then you can click HERE to set up a recurring donation on our website.
Through your support, we have been able to give our children an excellent education tailored to their visual impairment, a loving home with dedicated nannies, and the tools they need to become individuals who live life to the fullest. Thank you so much for your generous support!
With friendly regards,
The Bethel Team
The theme for this project update report is "Family!"
Families are important, and we strongly believe this at Bethel China. In the past two months, seven of our children have been adopted. It has been beautiful to see new families come together and we are thankful that these kids have such a bright future ahead of them.
In order to share some stories about families who have chosen to adopt a child with a visual impairment, we have published an Ebook called "Exposed to Hope: Stories from families who have adopted a child with a visual impairment". Thirteen families submitted their stories for the book. You can purchase a copy for $2.99 via this link.
Although we advocate for adoption, and love to share these beautiful stories, the fact is that all adoption stories begin with loss. Loss of family as children are abandoned because of their visual impairment. One reason that families may abandon their child is due to despair that they will not have access to educational resources and, medical care, and without this, a children cannot grow up to live a fulfilling life.
Bethel's Family Outreach project is a way to support families who have a child with a visual impairment. We run trainings and create and publish educational materials. At our last training in June 2014, over 40 people attended, including mothers, fathers and grandparents and teachers. Bethel teachers go through a series of topics related to education, and families also have access to our materials (including blogs, a manual and a DVD series).
As well as this practical training, Bethel's Family Outreach provides a foundation of emotional support. Parents who have a child with special needs often feel lonely and without hope. By introducing them to other parents in the same position, we see hope renewed and restored, as they share their joys and challenges with one another.
Families are important. That’s why at Bethel China, we operate as a big family, we promote adoption, and we help to give hope to parents.
The Lighthouse – Expecting Babies!
For the past year and a half, the ‘Lighthouse Project’ has been home to our 6 children and young people aged 10+ who have multi-disabilities. They have all flourished living in their home with an amazing team. They live on an amazing site in a converted French monastery in North Beijing.
Now we have been able to renovate more of the site, and we are going to open up some more of it as an Early Intervention Centre for babies. Five little ones have just moved in, and we are so excited to see them grow up!
The babies are all aged between 1-2 years old, and they include Yang Yang (Richard), Chen Fei (Faith), Yan Feng (Freddie), Qiu Ye (Luke) and Peng Peng (Priscilla).
Yang Yang and Qiu Ye even have little videos about them!
Early intervention is vitally important in the lives of children. Learning to walk, talk, play and love requires a lot of attention and love from Bethel China's caregivers and teachers. As well as this, there is a medical aspect to early intervention. Children born with some eye conditions can be treated to prevent vision loss, but in the majority of cases it should be treated before the age of 3 years.
Apart from these reasons, we also think that babies are so cute and we want to cuddle them from as early an age as possible!
Once these babies are settled, we hope to open up the home to welcome more children. More importantly, we want the Lighthouse Baby Home to be an example of good quality early intervention for blind children in China.
To sponsor one of these babies, or any of the other children in Bethel China's care, please visit www.bethelchina.org/sponsor-a-child. Payments can be set up monthly through Global Giving.
Thank you for your support!
Bethel China is getting ready to celebrate 10 years of working with orphans with visual impairments! On the 13th December 2003, Guillaume and Delphine Gauvain took 3 blind orphans into their home in Beijing, China.
The Bethel family grew and grew, moving into larger homes, establishing a primary school, homes in the city to encourage independent living, a safe space for children with multi-disabilities, a home inside a government orphanage and educational outreach training for parents and orphanages across China.
From just 3 children, over 140 children have now been a part of Bethel China’s family in the past 10 years. We continue to see life transformation happen on a daily basis, as children learn to grow in a safe and loving environment.
Whether you have been following Bethel every step of the way or just became a new sponsor in the past year, thank you for your support for Bethel China. We could not be where we are without the individual contributions of so many people. Stay with us as we journey on through the next 10 years!
If you are in Beijing, don’t miss our 10 year anniversary party!
Read all about Our Story on Bethel’s website.
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.
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.
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.
Dong Fang loved it! At the end, the Schindler team gave him a hat for his birthday.
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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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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