Sichuan Earquake Update’s Wendy Wu, who is also the CEO of charity Mother Bridge of Love, visited Sichuan and Yunnan during September and October. Here is one of her reports, from a village orphanage run by Kunming Children Welfare Institiute in Yunnan:
Altogether I have managed to visit families in three villages. The reason that they have decided to place the children in the countryside for various reasons: a) more space for children to play around B) safer in the villages, no busy traffic, more convenient to set up recovering center for various physical treatment for disabled children C) appropriate human resources as much that much labour work needed in the field. d) fundamentally countryside family has been approved that being able to provide sustained support in a long run. Why, I don’t know, I guess, life pressure is much lighter, and countryside family is much less materialised somehow. One mother told me in tears, her fostered daughter is so close to her as if they were akin mother-daughter. The girl doesn’t want them to introduce her to people as a fostered child. The longer she lives, the deeper love has being developed, both side they can’t face departure while the girl has to move to a town school, which means that the government has to seek another family for her. I had a chance to look at every room of the local courtyard, surrounded by loads of sweet corns. When we knocked on the family’s door, the flower shape pepper looks so amazing.
A policy memorandum published today by Ministry of Civil Affairs and Sichuan Provincial Government has highlighted the principles regarding the care of earthquake orphans. The priority is given to children’s relatives and parents who lost their children in the earthquake.
In short term, orphans and children with missing parents must be taken care by the local government, in separation with other victims. While in the process of identifying their parents, the authority must arrange the children to be taken care by social welfare organisation, temporary foster families or boarding schools in other areas of Sichuan with better conditions, or other provinces.
In long term, the momorandum has highlighted several principles in terms of child adoption and fostering. The priority will be given to children’s relatives, with the support of local government. If relatives can not be found, or are not able to support the child, those families who lost their children in the earthquake will be given the priority to adopt an orphan. The orphans can also be fostered by other families in China who are willing to help. The memorandum stresses that consent must be sought from the child if he or she is over 10 years old before being adopted or fostered. Some orphans may be taken by orphanages.
CEO, Mother Bridge of Love
04 June 2008