Little Ming(*) is a rambunctious child, always running around, laughing and chatting. And for the last two years, he has also been undergoing intensive rehabilitation at Sunshine Foundation following major burn injuries. During this time, he stayed at Sunshine Half-Way House, going to school nearby in the morning, then doing rehabilitation at our Center in the afternoon, all the while undergoing a series of reconstructive surgeries for his scars. Burns have brought a lot of pain and disruptions in Little Ming’s life, but his stay at Sunshine wasn’t devoid of happy times, and he experienced many new things and befriended many new people.
On the last week of January, Little Ming finally “graduated” from Sunshine and began preparations to return home among his family. But how do you put two momentous years filled with laughter and pain behind you? Saying goodbye to the people and places you have grown attached to is never easy, even more so for a little child. So Sunshine’s worker discussed with Little Ming how he wanted to mark the end of his rehabilitation and together, they decided to embark on a trip down memory lane.
Over the course of one day, Little Ming went back to Sunshine Half-Way House, Sunshine Rehabilitation Center, the hospital where he was treated, as well as the kindergarten and elementary school where he studied to say goodbye to the people important to him: his doctor, his therapist, his guardian, his teachers and classmates. This trip not only celebrated the ending of Little Ming’s two years of rehabilitation, but it also helped him sort out the complex mix of feelings of happiness, sadness and apprehension that inevitably arises when it’s time to leave and return home. Saying goodbye helped Little Ming find strength to face his future.
Your support over the last year has been crucial in helping burn survivors like Little Ming “graduate” and find the strength to return to a normal life. Now during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day on February 12, you have the chance to maximize the value of your support because GlobalGiving will be matching gifts made to Sunshine Foundation at 30%. This means that your donation of $100 will receive a $30 match!
Bonus Day will be held on…
Taiwan time: from Wednesday, February 12 at 10:00 PM to Thursday, February 13 at 11:59 AM.
US time: from Wednesday, February 12 at 9:00 AM EST to Wednesday, February 12 at 11:59 PM EST
On behalf of Sunshine Foundation and all our clients, a huge thank you for your support!
PS: We encourage you to make your donation early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.
(*) Name has been modified.
Today is Christmas Eve. Although Christmas is not a main holiday in Taiwan and is not as widely celebrated as it is in other countries, for clients at Sunshine Rehabilitation Center, it's still a special day. That’s owing to a special tradition of the Rehabilitation Center: every year for Christmas, clients and staff dress up in holiday-themed costumes, then go out singing carols and distributing candies door to door to our neighbors.
Starting on December 24th up until Christmas day, the atmosphere of the Rehabilitation Center suddenly becomes festive as everyone gets ready, deciding what costume to wear, or practicing the lyrics of their favorite carol. Then everyone sets out, going from floor to floor, from office to office, spreading holiday cheers and singing happily (although not necessarily on key, but nobody minds!). This is a way for our burn survivors to thank our neighbors for the support and the care they have shown us throughout the year.
We would like to take this opportunity afforded to us by the Holiday season to also thank all the GlobalGiving donors who supported us during the year 2013, and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for accompanying burn survivors in Taiwan on the long road toward recovery!
For 17 years, Fong-Yi has been working at the Rehabilitation Center of Sunshine Foundation, offering crucial rehabilitation services to burn survivors. No one knows better than her the challenges and the pain that burn survivors must go through during the rehabilitation phase. But she also knows that although it seems like the pain will never end, eventually things will get better and easier. As a therapist, her work not only consists of helping burn survivors recover their physical functions, but also of encouraging them and giving them emotional support.
Not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is the hardest part of rehabilitation.But no matter what, never give up on yourself!
This is the message that Sunshine Foundation's most senior therapist wants to convey to burn survivors going through the difficult process of rehabilitation...
See how our therapists support burn survivors through this difficult process.
Your support gives burn survivors the strength to go on and makes it possible for our therapists to accompany them in the process. Thank you!
The following is an e-postcard from Sandra Dickison, a GlobalGiving Representative in Taiwan.
Often ignored. Often indoors. Often forgotten. Sunshine Foundation seeks to help those that "shun the sun" because they have burns that cover much of their body by providing rehabilitation services, advocacy for burn survivors, and livelihood opportunities for clients.
On August 6th, Ana and I visited Sunshine Foundation's Taipei Rehabilitation Center. This is the main center for Sunshine Foundation; however, they have 6 regional centers spread throughout Taiwan. At these Centers, Sunshine not only provides rehabilitation services, but they also make the bandages worn by clients. Ana and I were amazed at the intricacy in measuring and creating the garments - every knuckle is measured, every centimeter counts because these garments put pressure on the skin and help with healing - they are also worn nearly 24 hours/day.
Besides visiting the sewing room and meeting with staff, we also had a tour of the rehabilitation center where we saw clients practicing what may appear to be simple exercise - such as squeezing a ball - but are actually exercises that take a lot of concentration and practice. Each client has a specialized rehabilitation plan and they come to the center every day, from 9-5 just like a job. They also live in Sunshine's Halfway House where they find support from their peers (an important part of the healing process) and they gain the confidence to venture out and be in the sun. For example, everyday for lunch and dinner, the clients must go outside to a vendor or a restaurant. With the support of their peers and Sunshine Foundation, burn survivors build the confidence they need to succeed.
For young burn survivors or children with facial disfigurement, part of returning to a normal life after long months of physical rehabilitation means going back to school, among their peers, and pursuing their academic goals. This is especially important since the long process of recovery, with multiple hospital stays and continuous rehabilitation, often disrupts and even interrupts schooling.
However, school re-entry can sometimes be a difficult process not just for the child, but also for his parents, for the school and for his peers. The child might fear being treated differently by his peers due to his different appearance. If schooling was interrupted, there are also worries about having to catch up. Parents will also be apprehensive; after all the pain and suffering their child has gone through, the last thing they want is for their child to face negative attitudes or rejection from his peers.
Teachers might be unaware of the best way to support the return to school of the child or how to prevent and deal with negative attitudes or behaviors from classmates. These negative attitudes and behaviors generally stem from a lack of understanding on the part of classmates who don’t know what it means to be burned and are unaware of the best way to interact with someone who has a form of facial disfigurement.
Fear, apprehension, lack of understanding and uncertainty can make return to school a difficult experience, but Sunshine Foundation has developed a model to work with the child, the family and the school to facilitate school re-entry process.
During the rehabilitation program, prior to the child returning to school, social workers and psychological counselors will work with the child and his parents to prepare them for life in the classroom by dealing with feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Social workers will also facilitate communication between parents and the school, helping teachers understand the needs of the burned child and clarifying the needs and expectations on all sides.
In order to facilitate the return to school of children with facial disfigurement, the Foundation also organizes (upon the request of the child and parents or school) activities in the school to raise awareness towards burn prevention and acceptance towards people with facial disfigurement. Social educators have devised activities and games to help schoolchildren understand and experience the physical and emotional difficulties their classmate encounters. The goal is to reduce misunderstandings, avoid prejudices and facilitate integration of the child. For example, by playing games in which children must wear pressure garments, they can experience for themselves the discomfort of their classmate and feel more empathy towards his situation.
Because I was severely burned, I had to stop going to school and only returned in Second Grade. I had to wear pressure garments and a pressure mask; people in school would laugh and point at me, I would be the subject of never-ending conversations. When I returned home, I told my mother I didn’t want to go to school anymore so she immediately discussed this with my teacher. They decided to call Sunshine Foundation and ask a social educator to come to my school to organize educational activities. Only then did I return to school.
Hsiao-Kai, burn survivor
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.