In the morning, we worked at Bethel, a foster home for orphans with vision impairment. We worked in a classroom with students who suffered from an additional challenge: Autism. So that means that these kids had three major issues: 1) being blind, 2) being Autistic (many quite severe), and 3) not having parents caring for them. It’s hard to imagine how hard this must be, but these kids are lucky to have the caretakers at Bethel to support their needs. Here’s a little video that shows our students working with the Autistic blind population. As you can see, many of them aren’t very verbal and probably wouldn’t be able to attend a regular school even if they could see.
In the afternoon, we volunteered at a school for children of migrant workers. Under China’s Hukou system, if a person moves cities to work away from their home town, they don’t have rights to the public services in that new place. For example, they can’t send their kids to school or get health care because they are entitled to those services back home. This is a huge problem for many people, because Beijing has millions of migrant workers who come to the city to get jobs. There are special schools set up for these kids, because otherwise they would not be able to get any education. Our students are working on painting the walls of one of these schools, alongside the students. As you can see in the photos, these children are really warm, wonderful souls. They really loved meeting the foreign high school students and getting a different experience for their summer vacation. In many ways, both sets of children were just like any other kids I’ve worked with.