Sunday, October 26, 2014

NDNorth: Big Inspiration

When we first started working with one particular orphanage they were eager for many things. They were eager for supplies, resources, staff, materials, training... and most importantly, inspiration. Running a Children's Welfare Institution is rough work. They never know when a child will arrive, left at the front gate or carried in by a policeman. They have no control over what types of children are admitted into the orphanage, how many arrive during a given time, or how much care the children will require.

It's an overwhelming position to be in.

New Day can do many things. We can supply formula for the littlest babies to ensure that they are receiving proper nutrition. We can weigh and measure the babies each month and help the staff come up with action-plans to help the little ones thrive. We can bring in therapists to train their therapists, we can donate equipment, assessments and orthotics. We can gather donations of warm baby clothes, specialty bottles, developmental toys and books. We can arrange for medical treatment and surgeries. And although we are doing all of the things listed above, none of them is the most important. Not one of them is enough. With just the practical helps we can only do so much.

There is one thing that really ranks above and beyond all of the hands-on ways we help this orphanage, and that is inspiration.

It's hard to put into words just how impactful New Day's inspiration has been on the orphanage. At the same time New Day North was founded near this CWI, the CWI sent some of their staff to New Day's Beijing campus for training.

I still remember clearly one of the nanny managers asking me back in August, "Just send me the links of things that we need to buy. We want to change this place and make it better for the children."

Would they do it? Would they actually make big changes?

They sure did. It had something to do with us encouraging them to get the babies out of their cribs and on the floor or in rockers play. It had something to do with our confused eyes when we asked, "do you have any toys for them?" and the nanny shook her head.

But it had everything to do with inspiration.

The babies used to spend all of their time in old metal cribs, staring up at a dirty ceiling... they spend their days tucked warmly into bouncy seats, looking at colorful walls and toys.

The rooms used to be plain, sunny, yet cold.

Now murals are painted on every wall. It's a way for community artists to give back, and for the orphanage to brighten. Notice the ceiling lights? New Day has fun-shaped lights in the Beijing foster home, and the orphanage was convinced that they needed creative fixtures as well.

Before there was one green ball to play with, and the toddlers spend their days in cribs, fighting over whatever toy somehow appeared. 

Now, preschool happens every day. There are toy-shelves (which look an awfully lot like the ones in the New Day Beijing preschool) and the children have their own chairs with their own pictures taped on the back (exactly what you will find in the BJ preschool!)

Before, the children with cerebral palsy had no options but to stay in bed or lay on the floor. Now they are moved to positioning chairs and the staff try to include them in daily activities.

Before, the staff knew that they were missing something. They knew that there was so much more that they could be doing for the children. Thanks to New Day's big inspiration, big changes have happened in this orphanage.