Special kits get orphanages off to a good start

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 December, 1998, 12:00am

Tables, toys and training give orphanage workers the start they need to transform dull rooms with little to stimulate children into lively centres where youngsters are helped to blossom.

The Ing Mei Orphanage Fund, this year's Operation Santa Claus beneficiary, has designed 'starter kits', including an individual evaluation, furniture and courses, to help institutions boost their levels of caring.

Money from the appeal will buy starter kits for orphanages in Kunming and Wuxi, among others.

'The objective of the starter kit is to provide equipment, training and support for orphanages and their staff to establish very simple programmes for disabled children,' president of the Hong Kong-based Ing Mei Orphanage Fund Nathalie Rahman said.

'They provide opportunities for the staff to gain experience and expertise and share experiences with staff from other orphanages.' The mainland orphanages identified by the fund have generally done what they can to improve their surroundings but the kits can help them go further.

'There is a lot of funding for getting the buildings into better shape but the human infrastructure side of things has been left a little,' Ms Rahman said.

She said staff seemed to be very kind and caring people who simply lacked the knowledge on how to help the children develop.

'We provide slatted tables and ladder frames which teach a child to pull himself up by holding on to slats and hopefully the child, with the help of the staff, will soon be sitting and even standing up,' Ms Rahman said.

'When you get results like that it really motivates the staff and then they go that step further. We are a push on the wheel, we may help to get things started, but the orphanages do the rest.' Although the starter kits are designed to set things moving, the help does not end there.

'We always give other back-up so if a child needs to go to hospital or a roof needs fixing, we will be there,' Ms Rahman said.