Nov 23, 2020

Q3 2020 Summer Covid Update

This is our teacher Guo with student CiCi
This is our teacher Guo with student CiCi

Covid Update

Since our last update, we are happy to announce that the Bethel Training Center in Beijing has reopened! Susan Qu, Bethel China's Country Director said it best:

"During Covid, We learned that no matter how restless and turbulent the outside world is, as long as we persist in serving the hearts of visually impaired children, everything will change for the better.”

The Beijing center is now reopened to 22 visually impaired children whom come from all over the country (the furthest of them coming from Xinjiang province). The Beijing center is essential for Bethel as it is not only the headquarters for the Bethel School but it is the central hub for our satellite project sites and home to most of our national trainings. Bethel would like to give a special thanks to Gulf For Good for their immediate support to help Bethel make the facility Covid compliant with the new regulations and keep our children safe. 

 

National Training focussing on family depression, anxiety, and acceptance 

Every time Bethel does a training, we collect data from parents, teachers, and health care professionals to better understand how Bethel can support the VI community. The vast majority of families said that their biggest difficulty was dealing with depression, anxiety and acceptance of their child’s condition. Families reported that their depression and anxiety was affecting how they were interacting with their child and educating their child at home.

To respond to this need, Bethel teamed up with doctors to develop a program that focus on parent's depression and anxiety. The program consisted of three online training courses and launched tailored groups to provide continuous support. Session topics included, nonviolent communication techniques, how to recognize the needs of your visually impaired child and how to teach life skills to visually impaired children. The multi-day online training's were launched on August 14th and were attended by 1,197 people

Parents who participated in the support groups reported that having a group of other parents who could relate to their experiences and the psychological support alongside the informational trainings made a much larger impact on them and how they interact with their child. 

 

Bethel USA

This past January, Bethel launched a monthly partnership project with the Children's Tactile Art Club based in Colorado. The project distributes free tactile art projects each month made by the Children's Tactile Art Club to Bethel adoptive families in the US. Unfortunately because of Covid, production of the educational materials had to be suspended. I'm proud to say there is positive momentum to the project resuming. If you are interested and want to know more please feel free to email Zach (zach @ bethelchina.org).

 

2021 Bethel Calendar

Each year Bethel develops an annual calendar comprised of the amazing art work that our children have created throughout the year. Sales from the calendar help pay for things that it is tough for us to fundraise for (teachers salaries, utility bills, etc). Inside the calendar you'll see our children's pictures, their beautiful artwork and you'll also find a quote from Bethel's founders, Guillaume and Delphine. Even though the calendar has not come out yet and it's not quite Christmas yet, the next newsletter will come out next year so I thought it would be fitting to end with Guillaume's 2021 quote to everyone: 

"This year, all families from around the world have had to learn to cope with Covid, Bethel included. We have always been the biggest cheerleader of children with visual impairment in China no matter what. All of our centers have now reopened and we want to say a special thank you to our staff for not giving up, and our supporters for standing by us. We look forward to 2021 with hope and wish you all good health!

Guillaume and Delphine

Geng mama and her great heart for the children.
Geng mama and her great heart for the children.
Fall fun with Cici and Bei Bei
Fall fun with Cici and Bei Bei
We upgraded some of our VI educational kits
We upgraded some of our VI educational kits
Guillaume and Delphine, Bethel Founders
Guillaume and Delphine, Bethel Founders

Links:

Jul 24, 2020

Q2 2020 Spring Covid Update

Covid Update

Throughout the last quarter school’s in Beijing have been closed due to Covid, which gave Bethel an opportunity to focus on outreach, while being able support our children in other ways. Because Bethel’s main school has been closed for several months now, expenses continue, and we’ve had to furlough and lay off several of our amazing staff members due to the shortage of scholarship and sponsorship funds that support the school. We are really hoping that the guidelines will permit the school to open up as soon as possible. Outside of Beijing, our satellite school centers have now all opened back up (Zhengzhou on March 16th, Nanjing on April 13th, and Jiazuo on May 18th). 

 

Supporting Our Centers 

While in the midst of the outbreak, Bethel’s China Director Susan Qu and the Bethel Team helped source and distribute hundreds of much needed supplies to our partner sites in Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Jiazuo and Jingdezhen. Bethel was able to send supply kits, which included masks, cleaning supplies and toilet paper to the sites to support all of the children and staff in the orphanages.  

 

Reaching the Blind and Visually Impaired Community 

Bethel’s mission is to empower children who are blind or visually impaired and their caregivers. One of the ways we do this is by providing education and support to institutions, communities and families of children who are blind or visually impaired. To continue our outreach, throughout March and into Q2, Bethel launched a new outreach video series networked through Bethel’s WeChat platform, that has already supported close to 600 people. The series, features content from eight of Bethel’s teachers in our Beijing, Zhengzhou and Jiazuo school’s and features new topics on VI early intervention, fine motors skills and speech therapy. To learn more about our new series, visit Bethel’s official WeChat channel. 

 

Hippotherapy 

While the Bethel school is not currently open, we were able to safely take several of our students and family members to hippotherapy on May 27th. Along with aquatherapy, Bethel has used hippotherapy to support our children for many years now. To understand how VI children can benefit from hippotherapy, certified therapeutic riding instructor Wanda L. Ritter states: 

Beyond the freedom and selfconfidence that is gained by riding, visually impaired children reap tremendous physical benefits, as well. Posture is often affected when a child is blind or has low vision. Riding a horse approximates a normal walking gait in the pelvic, trunk, and upper body area of a person. This is very helpful for blind children who shuffle their feet or tend to walk in a circle because of a dominant leg.” (National Federation of the Blind)

This was a great opportunity for our children to be active and connect with the horses especially with school on hold. 

 

Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club

On Children’s Day, Bethel was graciously invited by the Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club to enjoy a safe sports day. The club spent several hours playing with our children going on sports drills and talking about the game. Bethel has a five year relationship with the team and they have been a joy of inspiration to both our students and teachers. 

 

Thank You

As with everyone, navigating through this situation with Covid has been difficult, but Bethel will keep going. We are preparing to open the school with special guidelines that are now required. Things like automatic temperature machines, sanitizing stations are all mandatory. Financially, things are very tight so any support would go a long way. We thank you for your continued devotion to support us in our endeavor to help the blind and visually impaired. Stay safe and be well. 

Health support supplies sent to one site.
Health support supplies sent to one site.
Bethel's Online Training Platform
Bethel's Online Training Platform
Hippotherapy Lessons
Hippotherapy Lessons
Kicking it with the Beijing Football Club
Kicking it with the Beijing Football Club
Practice makes perfect!
Practice makes perfect!

Links:

Mar 26, 2020

Bethel China Special COVID-19 Update

Current Situation 

The last three months have been an interesting and trying time for everyone in China and around the world. We had just celebrated the first month of our two new teenager vocational skill programs in Jiang Xi Provence and Zheng Zhou, both of which were opened at the end of 2019, when the corona virus began to spread across the country. With the rapid spread of the virus, our school and our partnered satellite site schools (much like many other institutions) have been mandated by the government to suspend operations until cleared to reopen. 

Since then we have been allowed to help children in Beijing and Zheng Zhou where we have been focusing on making sure our children are healthy and well cared for in this quarantine period. Our staff has put special emphasis on keeping the facilities disinfected and clean every day to prevent the chances of the virus in the centers. The children’s safety is our main priority. 

Being Proactive

While the quarantine has slowed everything down, we’ve chosen to be proactive. 

Susan Qu, China’s Country Director and Bethel’s School Principal, Fang Laoshi are taking online classes at Perkins School for the Blind, which will help implement new concepts and ideas into Bethel’s Programs. Our staff have been busy designing and building new sensory equipment that can be used in the VI community, while also preparing for upcoming trainings. In January, Bethel launched a monthly partnership project with the Children's Tactile Art Club, which distributes free tactile art projects each month made by the Children's Tactile Art Club to Bethel adoptive families in the US (with hopes for the project to expand to multiple countries in the coming years).

Future Plans

At this time, Bethel currently has seven trainings scheduled for 2020. Due to the uncertainties of the current epidemic, if need be, we have made the proper arrangements to hold the training’s online. Bethel’s annual summer camp is currently pending. There are 432 people planned to receive the free trainings this year. Once the quarantine is lifted and we have permission to reopen, Bethel will open our schools that provide education for 88 amazing children! 

Your Support

This has been a tough time for everyone around the world. Bethel’s fundraising this year has been hit especially hard, so any support or sharing of our project would be greatly appreciated. Bethel’s projects  support the foster care, medical care and education of orphans throughout multiple Provences in China. We are only able to continue to support these wonderful children with your support. 

If you have time in the next coming weeks, please check out our new Bethel website that we just launched at bethelchina.org. If you have any feedback on the website, fundraising questions or anything else please feel to email us at any time.

In this time of uncertainty, we do hope this finds you and your loved ones safe. We are all in this together. From all of us at Bethel, we send our blessings. 

 

New Sensory Ideas
New Sensory Ideas
Bethel with the Children's Tactile Art Club
Bethel with the Children's Tactile Art Club

Links:

 
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