The world is abuzz with news the corona virus, officially known as COVID-19. It all started in January in Wuhan, China, which is about 800 miles from the Hope Station headquarters in Chengdu.
While the virus is subsiding, life in China is far from normal.
Our Sichuan province, home to 81 million people, only had around 300 infected at the epidemic’s height. But local society has suffered a massive blow. For weeks there were empty streets and nothing but grocery stores open. Mail and delivery services were shut down and businesses of all kinds forced to close their doors indefinitely.
Now, shops are slowly reopening and people are venturing out of their homes. Malls are open, delivery services resumed, and public transportation is available. But, schools are still closed, with many switching to online classes indefinitely. Apartment complexes (no one lives in houses here) are restricting residents in the number of times they can come and go each day and refusing entry to all non-residents. Restaurants are all still closed, with the exception of some that allow take-out but not dining in. At entrances to every mall, shop, office, or bank there are temperature checks and registration requirements.
Current information about the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.
Local orphanages are staying strong.
Orphanages across China have been locked down almost completely since the end of January. This includes both Hope Station’s partner orphanages. Kids are not going to school (though some are attending online classes) and toddlers and babies are cooped up inside all day. All caregivers have been working 24/7 with no breaks, and will continue to until this situation subsides.
Since our visits have been postponed indefinitely, we’ve had to get creative to support the kids and caregivers from afar.
In week 1, we collected video messages from the 1on1 volunteers and sent the collection to the kids to remind them we were thinking of them.
In week 2, our staff team made a group video call to the orphanage to say hi and wave and ask how everyone was doing.
In week 3, we sent care packages to the caregivers. They are sacrificing a lot and working so hard to keep the kids clean and healthy!
In week 5, we collected notes from all the 1on1 volunteers and sent a letter in the mail for the kids to read.
Families with special needs children need support now more than ever.
Crises like this always affect the most vulnerable first, and local families with special needs children are no different. Children are stuck inside all day every day with no where to go. Schools and therapy centers are all closed indefinitely, and online class is just not possible for a lot of differently abled children. Parents are struggling financially, due to lack of work, and emotionally, without their usual support systems.
Our team has stepped up to support these families in need. In January, we were serving 3 families, but now we have more than 7 families depending on us for support. Each week, Erica (our Family Care Specialist) checks in with each family personally. She offers therapy ideas that are easy to do at home, encourages overwhelmed parents, and asks if they need anything. While we can’t visit them in person, we’ve sent care packages to each family that include:
“Indefinitely” is the buzzword of the season.
There’s no knowing when we’ll be able to resume our normal activities. But we have been so encouraged by the messages many of you have sent to us. We firmly believe there is hope in all of this, and we will not subscribe to fear. Rather, we hold on to the “peace that surpasses all understanding,” peace that comes from the One who cares for us better than anyone else can.
Thank you for all your support for the kids, local families, and our team in this season.
Blessings to you,