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People's Daily Online>>China Society

All Family Here (4)

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

10:57, November 20, 2011

State-run orphanages are more proactive today about helping people with disabilities, he says, but the infrastructure isn't there and the needs are great. The Gauvains see the Bethel facility, where nearly 100 staff members include primary care-givers, as a first step. An outreach program would have "mini-Bethels" inside one State orphanage in every provice: the first will open in Zhengzhan, Henan province very soon. And the foundation is creating manuals, for parents as well as institutions, to develop a new sense of possibility for caring for kids with special needs.

"Now, when the children get all the way through the orphanage school," he says, "some places will have to move them directly to an elder-care facility. Sort of fast-forwarding their lives," he says with a rueful smile.

Traditionally there have been few alternatives for people who need special care and have no skills or job training.

"This is one reason we build houses for the residents here, not dormitories," he says. "They live in a family atmosphere (about a half-dozen students in each house). They have chores and other responsibilities in the house and at the school. They become proud of that very quickly."

Residents learn how to work buttons and zippers, and master other routines of daily life once they can dress themselves. They learn English and may also learn French and Braille, depending on their individual abilities, in an environment that strives to be personal, not institutional.

"Our philosophy is: We don't help blind children, we teach them how to help themselves," Guillaume says.

For the ablest, there is a life plan waiting when they pass school age. Several Bethel students live in apartments in Beijing near the State school for the blind. One has begun a job at the Doubletree Hilton; others will get practice dealing with the public - and a cash register - at a new arts-and-crafts store that Bethel will open soon in Beijing's trendy suburb of Shunyi.

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romanov at 2011-11-2180.94.16.*
2011-11-10.They be people"s every day"s help child"s.To act in real but in shadow.

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