Orphan's plight started charity

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 1998, 12:00am

When Nina van Toulon saw a young girl, trapped in her own body, at an orphanage four years ago, it changed her life.

Moved by the plight of Ni Ni Vo, stricken by cerebral palsy and never played with or taught how to sit up, Ms van Toulon started taking supplies to En Mei Welfare Court and months later arranged training for its staff.

When she started raising money to help the orphans and the workers who care for them, she set up the Ing Mei Orphanage Fund in 1995.

And though Ms van Toulon, a Dutch antiques dealer, has left Hong Kong for Amsterdam, she keeps in touch with the charity and is delighted it will benefit from this year's Operation Santa Claus appeal run by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

At En Mei the changes are clear. 'Children that I saw as babies just tied on to potty chairs are now walking and children who were just lying in bed are also up.

'That gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see how the children are doing so much better,' Ms van Toulon said.

Ni Ni Vo, who is now aged 11 or 12 - staff are not sure - is one of the youngsters who now lives a totally different life.

She hopes En Mei Welfare Court will now be an example for other orphanages on the mainland and that the fund can help centres which want to improve by introducing the starter kits of training and equipment, which are the focus of the Operation Santa Claus appeal for the Ing Mei Orphanage Fund.

'I hope it will continue and build up a network.' she said.

'Even though I'm now back here in Holland and can't visit so often, I keep in touch and there are so many dedicated and talented people working for the children that I know everything is continuing to do so well.'