Aids no bar to success

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am

A group of children from Aids-affected families in central China had a rare opportunity to visit famous landmarks in Beijing last month.

The trip, including tours of museums and skyscrapers, was part of a six-day programme aimed at supporting children whose parents have died or are suffering from the deadly disease.

The camp was organised by Chi Heng Foundation (CHF), a Hong Kong-based charity dedicated to improving the well-being of Aids-affected children in China.

The free trip was also a reward for the children's academic achievements in the face of adversity.

'This is the first time I have visited Beijing,' said Xiao Chen, a primary school student from Henan who lost both parents to Aids.

'It is great fun to come to the city and do all the interesting activities during summer.'

The children visited world-renowned landmarks, including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, as well as Tsinghua University, in the Chinese capital.

The trip was led by a group of university students who also came from Aids-ravaged communities. Having benefited from CHF when they were children, the students were eager to give something in return and happily agreed to act as mentors for the group.

'It's important to show the children that nothing can stop us from pursuing what we want in life,' said university student Xiao Wang.

'Even though our families have suffered so much because of the deadly disease, we can still succeed if we work hard in school.'

Aids activist Gao Yaojie, who helped expose illegal blood selling on the mainland, accompanied the children on a tour around the Summer Palace. The 75-year-old shared her experiences of fighting for the rights of Aids sufferers with the participants.

Organisers believe that Aids-affected children should be involved in social activities, which is the key to helping them regain their self-esteem.

'By bringing them to Beijing to visit all the modern establishments and well-known landmarks, we can show them what they can achieve if they work hard in school,' said CHK founder Chung To.