Over the years COCOA has worked with selected agencies dealing with handpicked orphanages where there is cooperation between the orphanage staff and the people we trust and fund. Some projects are embedded within state orphanages, while others have their own premises but their children still come from the state orphanage.
Grants from COCOA have been used to
- sponsor babies and children in long-term care and children awaiting adoption
- pay for treatment of remediable conditions such club feet, cleft lip and palate, hole in the heart.
- kit out baby rooms and buy necessities such as cots and bedding
- fit out a special therapy room for children with disabilities
- replace the roof of an orphanage destroyed in an earthquake
- train staff
- buy essential winter clothing
- buy specialist equipment such as strollers, physiotherapy tables and custom-made wheelchairs
- fit out and run medical clinics within orphanages
- pay for formula milk for abandoned babies
- provide play and learning equipment
Here are some of the ways COCOA grants have helped improve life for vulnerable orphaned and abandoned children in China.
A COCOA grant funded a medical clinic within an orphanage in Southern China, paying for diagnostic tests and 3 months' basic care for 84 newly admitted babies who were either newly abandoned or chosen from the orphanage as being in particular need of special attention. Many of the babies treated in this clinic have gone on to be adopted while others who cannot be adopted are in our sponsorship programme.
Another orphanage in North-West China was able to buy medical equipment and medicines for its in-house clinic.
NEW - Henan Infants and Toddler Unit
This newly opened unit provides care and nurture for 29 infants and toddlers. All of the children have disabilities and/or health problems and are in need of increased care, nutrition and support services in order to maximise their potential.
Since the project started in 2010 the staff:children ratio has improved from 1:20 to 1:5 through hiring of new care-giving staff. This has had the immediate effect of improving the level of care provided. The provision of training to all new care-giving staff and the on-going monitoring to ensure implementation of new care giving methods has also made a positive impact on the quality of care given to the children.
A local nursery teacher funded by COCOA is now providing educational support to 14 toddlers and preschoolers. The children are learning colours, shapes, animals and how to socialise with their peers and teachers.
Hunan Young Disabled Children
COCOA’s support has had a profound impact on the lives of 36 children in this unit. The children have medical conditions ranging from visual impairments, cleft lip and palate, heart conditions, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and other conditions. We have seen children with mild disabilities or medical conditions who have received corrective surgery or ongoing therapy able to be adopted by local and international families. Other children will continue to receive care long-term.
The focus is on providing for the physical, emotional and social needs of the children and improving their quality of life. The number of children within each care group has been reduced from 8-10 down to 6-8, which has provided each child with the opportunity to receive more individual attention and overall quality of care. The local manager oversees each care group and nutrition for every group is assured through a cook who prepares meals and snacks appropriate for the children.
Hong was found at the front gates of the Welfare Centre in June 2007 when he was thought to be around 6 years old. He was unable to stand, as his muscle tone was very poor, and he could not say any recognisable words. With the help of one-to-one therapy his gross and fine motor skills have dramatically improved. He is now a happy little boy who is really keen to learn.
Hong’s disabilities mean that he will need a long-term home with us and our goal is to provide the love and support he needs to develop to his full potential.
Bi Bi came to us she was very sick and malnourished, with a large tumour on her back. She had been left with no hope.
Through connections with doctors overseas and advocacy on her behalf we were able to treat her. Her tumour reduced to almost nothing, her personality flourished and she was the life and soul of our baby floor. Bi Bi is now with her forever family in the USA and we are sure that she is keeping them busy!
The money raised by the Virgin Atlantic on-board appeal provided all the kitchens and airconditioning units for a new home in Henan province. This state-of-the-art home is now providing top quality care to 127 babies.
Foster and play scheme
In Western China a play scheme and therapy centre supported by COCOA backs up a foster programme. The play scheme provides the children with their preschool education and ensures that they can stay with their foster families and not be returned to the orphanage. The children's progress at the play scheme is encouraging orphanage directors to place children in foster care. The foster carers are receiving training in appropriate physical and play therapies for their individual children and the children have access to specialist equipment to improve their mobility.
CHILDREN'S DAY 1st JUNE 2011 at OUR PLAY CENTRE
Every June 1st is Children's day in China and it is a day for celebrating all children. As a centre we take part in a celebration with many foster families.
We meet at a venue and have a Children's day performance and a meal together. Because we have a wide range of children with differing needs we spend a few months gradually preparing.
Our program consisted of singing, choral speaking rhymes and a story - with signing and dancing or moving (depending on if ambulant) with ribbons. The overall effect was very pleasing.
Our singing included a rendition of The Wheels On the Bus - in Chinese of course. Qi che de lunzi zhuang ya zhuang - the wheels on the bus go round and round! Our story was A Walk In the Woods - what do you see what can you hear ... a lion, a monkey, an elephant .. and so on, with signing.
Our choral speaking was Chinese Nursery Rhymes.... It was lots of fun...BUT ... you have to understand that here nothing is quiet - EVER! So as well as performing there is loud chatter off stage and someone even answered their cell phone ON STAGE! All good fun and a real celebration for us, of all that the foster families achieve with these children and the support that the centre can give thanks to the help that COCOA gives us through funding and support - THANK YOU!
Baby milk programmes
The scandals of tainted baby milk in China highlighted the need for a safe supply of good formula powder for vulnerable abandoned babies. The best brands can cost £20 a can. The Chinese Government provides a grant for cow milk for orphans but for under-1s and even some under-2s formula is essential. COCOA is funding baby milk programmes on an ongoing basis to help ensure these most vulnerable children get the nutrition they need.
Li Feng came was found abandoned at 3 days old with the umbilical cord still crudely attached. He was left in secret so we have no way of knowing why his mother felt she could not keep him. He was tiny and hungry and we were able to immediately place him with one of our most experienced foster mothers and supply him with all the feeds he needs.
He is drinking up to 150ml. He has no apparent health problems and is now settled and sleeps well. We expect him to thrive with the care of his wonderful foster mother. Later, he may well be a candidate for adoption.
This is a children's hospice and palliative care service in the South of China. The home treats children with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. The home has rapidly expanded to 9 beds and offers palliative care and comfort to those children who can not be saved, while at the same time offering others a second chance through loving care and appropriate medical treatment. By providing care and support for families, the home aims to help them avoid the pressure to abandon their sick child.
Finlay came to the orphanage when he was three months old and was probably abandoned due to his complex heart condition. He wasn’t considered strong enough to survive an operation at this time, but when he came to the Butterfly Home aged 9 months, the team worked hard to help him with his breathing and enable him to gain strength. He was able to undergo two major operations and now, at 18 months, he is making amazing progress and growing stronger and more confident by the day.
Patience was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy which makes meeting milestones more challenging for her. She came to the hospice as a tiny baby and it seemed unlikely she would survive but the love, attention and care that she has received means she is now a chubby and much happier one year old who will continue to be nurtured at the Butterfly Home until a suitable foster placement is found.