Thanks for the Employee Volunteer Program, I got chance for my third volunteer trip and luckily, to be able to serve at Hope Harvest International (HHI) for an amazing week.
The therapy center there is called “The Starting Line”, like its name and our new EVP logo imply, it does light hope for many local families, and the love people receive and give is infinite, and it never ends.
The Starting Line is mainly targeting on special need children. With the help of HHI, it managed to take care of dozens of them, build up community for their parents to encourage and support each other, and connect to local orphanage to make consistent and positive influence. Something I did not expect before this trip is that most local young people get married at around 20, so it's interesting and meanwhile shocking for us to know a teacher there who just turned 19 got a fiancee, and we have to call 40-year-old aunties grandma. What surprised us even more is that they commit themselves and serve full time at their early age. In some way, they are teachers for us too, as they literarily demonstrate love, patience and faith without saying much.
The kids here are all unique, Hanhan is one of them. He is a 4-year-old strong buddy, and this buddy sometimes talks like a grown-up. Few weeks back, Hanhan moved back to the home village with his grandma, as they need to resume working in summer time to support family. To make sure Hanhan can keep up with the therapy while he is off, grandma spared a whole room and built a "Rehabilitation Center" at home!!! She told us with tears in eyes, "Hanhan always tell me to take a good rest after a day's work. When we are in the middle of therapy, Hanhan said to me: Grandma, you can just rest there and watch me, OK? You only need to come and hold me up when I fall down. I never feel tired every time I hear that". Our heart was touched too by this caring and strong little man’s words.
Thursday is an outdoor activities day, which is a day-off for all parents. Zhang Jie, who is one of the chief organizers, finished this artwork with flowers and leaves together with some families. Zhang Jie said: Did you see the girl there, whose one leg is a bit shorter than the other. That’s one of the special need kids we want to care for, our kids! My dream is to build up an environment for these kids. They can live there well without harm and discrimination from outside world. They grow up, get married and can have their own babies. I know it is hard, but we are getting closer."
We started missing there already on our bus back. This trip has been such a blessing. We served there, we learnt from them, and we are really grateful and proud of that.
Right before we left, we got to know that with the help of Liferay Foundation and rest of the society, now they are about to move to a new house in very near future. How fantastic!