“Every time the dance teacher came to give JunJie a dance lesson, he would be surrounded by his neighbors,” Family Strengthening Program Manager Erica Xu shares. “At the beginning, everyone was curious about whether the child could actually dance. Or whether the teacher was willing to teach someone with Down Syndrome.” Unfortunately, this is all too common of a perception in China.
We met JunJie’s mom in a hospital waiting room.
She was crying, overwhelmed by her son’s needs, with no one at her side to support her. Not long after that, their family joined our Family Strengthening Program. Mama, Dad, Grandma, little brother, and JunJie have been getting regular home visits, training about Down Syndrome, emotional support for the whole family, and… dance lessons for JunJie!
“JunJie has been getting dance lessons every week for the last 7 months,” says Erica. “Now, we see Junjie dancing confidently in front of the neighbors, and everyone always compliments him “good dancing! good dancing!”
“I can’t help feeling that this is a huge victory.”
Special needs children shouldn’t have to hide.
Unfortunately, children with special needs in China are often excluded from schools, extra-curriculurs, and special events. People in the community don’t know how to react to someone who looks different or acts different. Watching JunJie win over the mini crowd in his neighborhood is nothing short of a marvel.
Erica insists that “Special needs children shouldn’t have to hide. It’s wrong for the public to discriminate against these children! Children themselves are not wrong or bad, it’s just that the society doesn’t accept them. I hope that through activities like these, we can advocate for children with special needs, so that the community and society will accept them.”
Thanks to his generous sponsors, JunJie is growing up in a loving family that is supported and equipped for the special needs journey. If you’d like to sponsor a family like JunJie’s, click here.