Spreading the seeds of hope for Elders and Persons with Disabilities in Chengdu, China

Spreading the seeds of hope for Elders and Persons with Disabilities in Chengdu, China

To implement a better system and reform the current structure in Chengdu, Huang Huei, Director of Chengdu Eden Social Work Service Center, paid a   two-week inspection trip to Taiwan in July, hoping to paint a better structure for Chengdu, by synchronizing Taiwanese experiences with current work in Chengdu. She shares with us her impressions this trip and future plans for Chengdu.

 

Browsing through her personal schedule, the dense schedule of visits to different divisions dazzled our eyes, she had visited 20 centers of different divisions at Eden's; a day before she was visiting the community construction sites in Pingtung, the next day she was visiting the center in Keelung. Although returning to the hotel with tired, achy feet every day, she would not miss any minute in Taiwan seizing every opportunity to ask for professional pieces of advice and information; for the sake of building a better ground work in Chengdu, she would never give up!   

Initialing Elderly Care Services in communities

A blueprint of a caring system for the elders is gradually structuring in her mind during the trip. According to Huang, empty housing and underprivileged elders have become an issue in Chengdu, therefore, she is planning to extend the culinary skill of the young-old, providing meal delivery service to the elders. More than that, implanting healthcare courses is essential as physical functions of elder decrease gradually. The course can slow down the aging process for the young- old, training them to become “Silver-Hair Health Ambassadors”, the manpower for home-visiting and care, extending the service from individuals to the communities.   

Areas of the focus of the services in Chengdu at the moment are, Yu-Bei, Pei-Hua, and Sia Run-Cao, pushing for community exercise and building interactions between communities. “We can raise the frequency of communication, encourage them to share stories of their lives, performing in classes and organizing birthday parties.” This does not only escalate the community participation for the elders but also enhance self-value among them. 

The golden opportunity in Chengdu

“We are also planning to form integrity group, to create a self-service circle”, Huang said, community funds are needed for the operation of elderly communities, apart from donations, forming family volunteers are needed,  for elders to enjoy the process of the bakery with their grandsons, and offering the finished goods as the present for home visits to the other elders. Furthermore, to create coherence within the community; bringing residences closer through assistance from the volunteers with better economic conditions to support the underprivileged families, in order to build up a deeper relationship within the community. In doing so, a circle of love and caring can be created, and community funds can be used property within the community, the resources given will grow and always live in the circle. 

After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Chengdu Eden Social Work Service Centre launched the workshop for wool felts, Huang is planning on promoting its market value, connecting the products to the market and strengthen the products.  After visiting Eden’s wool felt work Shop in Tamsui, which inspired her a lot with the variety of products and quality, she knew the next step for her is marketing and business strategy generation modeling. “First of all, issues in product design and orders needed to be overcome first,” she said with excitement, hoping to extend marketing channels, corporate with communities on exhibitions or public welfare channels such as benevolence supermarkets. The long term goal is to cooperate with enterprises and reaching the high-end market.

The calling for volunteers 

“We have strong equipment and facilities but the lack of human resources.” Huang worried, realizing it is hard to implement the service without human resource. Therefore, campaign for “Be Friendly with Silver-Hair Generation” is needed, bringing volunteers within the community and connecting families, schools and enterprises to participate in public services. Huang once visited elders who lived alone, even though his disabilities caused many inconveniences in daily life, his house is clean and spotless, which impressed her a lot. She realized that eye sight decrease and misread expiration date of medications are the series issues among elders, numbers of volunteers are needed for assisting elders with activities such as medication, house cleaning and phone visits, and spreading the virtue of volunteering within the communities is vital. 

Promoting gospel and welfare in Chengdu

“Eden’s obligation is to promote gospel and welfare, helping social issues and the weak.” Huang was touched after visiting Yilan Education and Nursing Institute and attended memorial services of one of the residents, the memorial video showed a lot of joyful moments at the center, “It is a blessing from services, the residences lived with respects and dignity”. It is very touching that Eden treats the service users like family, even for non-Christians. Although one has rested in peace at God's home, to Huang Huei, warmth and light is filled in the service, “This the beginning of another stage rather than the end of the era,” she said. 

Having attended 4 meetings for promoting gospel and welfare in Chengdu, and witnessed many considerate services and compassion in gospel preaching in the centers, Huang hopes to cultivate services in Chengdu, hoping hope will blossom in Chengdu with the blessing from God.