An overwhelming majority of infants and children in China’s welfare centers have a disability. Abandoned by their birth parents because they could not care for them medically or financially, these orphans have a range of disabilities ranging from the easily treatable to high-risk special needs children.
But this doesn’t mean orphans don’t have people who love and care for them. Some of the most at-risk orphans are sent to private foster care centers around China. Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village is one of them.
Shepherd’s Field was started in the late 1990’s to provide a nurturing home for orphans with the greatest needs. To date, they have cared for more than 4,000 children, have provided more than 3,000 surgeries and medical procedures and have helped over 900 children find their forever families and adoptive homes. Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village is an organization that LIH Olivia’s Place is proud to work with and over the last few years, we have provided direct therapy for some of their most at-risk children. However, although effective, one-on-one therapy impacts only one child. LIH Olivia’s Place has found that by training caregivers, we can empower them with the knowledge that will benefit the children each and every day.
When Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village requested training for their caregivers, we were very enthusiastic. We have worked with Shepherd’s Field for several years, and were pleased to see the effort they put in caring for their children. In August, hosted by Shepherd’s Field, LIH Olivia’s Place conducted an impactful two-day pro-bono seminar for caregivers and therapists from Shepherd’s Field and local welfare centers in Taiyuan.
Titled “Feeding and Positioning,” the two-day seminar focused on feeding and positioning techniques for children with severe disabilities and the highest needs. Conducted by Eva Ma, Occupational Therapist, and Chelsey Contillo, Speech-Language Pathologist, the training provided basic knowledge on anatomy/physiology as well as hands-on practical workshops. Eva and Chelsey also conducted a number of assessments and evaluations of Shepherd’s Field children, creating impact for these children immediately!
This two-day event also helped create a stronger relationship, trust, and bond between LIH Olivia’s Place therapists and the caregivers and therapists taking care of the children every day. It gave our therapists a chance to understand the living environment of these children so their recommendations could be more effective. Most importantly, it was a heartwarming two days working with the delightful staff and children of Shepherd’s Field.
We are now continuing direct therapy in our clinic on a pro-bono basis for a number of Shepherd’s Field children. Their caregivers also attend and receive recommendations to help the children at the end of each session. It’s wonderful to see the children progress, and the caregivers become more confident in their work. This is why we love what we do!