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A home beyond their wildest dreams


Custom-built for the orphanage

Dirt and debris rushed down a hillside and crashed into some of buildings used as orphanages in East Asia, destabilising the surrounding ground. Thankfully, no one was injured. 
 
The landslide left both the hill and the buildings unsafe. Staff had to evacuate all the children to a temporary location in the government welfare centre next door.
 
Fortunately, the orphanage was already in the process of constructing a new five-storey building nearby. The original housing was more institutional-style, and staff really wanted to see family homes instead. 

Construction of the new home
 
There was a hive of activity over the next few months as work continued on the new building. Bathrooms went in, kitchens were installed, windows and doors fitted, and custom furniture made and delivered.

Bathroom installations
 
Excitement grew daily as every child anticipated the move into the beautiful new building. Not a day passed without a small group of kids and their carers heading out to inspect the new homes and see how much progress had been made. You could ask almost any child what they thought of their new home and hear the reply, with an enormous smile, “It’s SO beautiful!”
 
As the date drew nearer, the elation became almost tangible. Each day one of the team would be pulled aside and asked, “When are we going to move? Is it today? Tomorrow?”
 
Teams of older kids and their carers spent hours with brooms, mops and rubbish bins making their homes and classrooms clean and tidy; sticker murals were applied to the walls in every room – flowers, hippos, monkeys and trees all adding brightness and fun to the beautiful homes. Plaques with the name of each new family group were placed at every doorway. Flags and pots of (plastic) flowers were lined up along the balconies to add some colour.
 
Decorating the balconies

Decorating the rooms

Finally, the day arrived. On the Thursday the older boys moved into their new home on the fifth floor. Delight was evident as they explored each house and saw their new playroom. Fei and Gong were intrigued to be able to watch the sunset from their very own balcony.

Watching the sunset from their own balcony
 
The following Tuesday was moving day for the rest of the children. Babies and toddlers came up in the arms of their carers. Older boys and girls helped carry clothes and books from the old building to their new homes. Carers and office staff hoisted the heavier items or rode them over on electric scooters. The students helped to move over all the classroom items, confident that they would then be ale to start classes the next day!
 
After countless trips up and down the hill and staircases, squabbling and re-arranging of furniture, and last minute fixing of taps, everyone was in! Squeals of joy permeated the air from every level as children saw their new beds and quilts, their cupboards and play mats. Smiles were abundant.
 
Numbers were made complete the next day when 26 children from a welfare centre joined their new families. New brothers and sisters were greeted with hugs and made to feel welcome.
 
One month later all is going well. Although finishing touches are still being made, the building echoes with shouts of joy and laughter, children and staff calling out to each other across the open area.
 
This work was started more than 20 years ago by a young man from England. It has since grown to include three projects (working alongside, with or in existing welfare centres). They provide care for abandoned, disabled children and young people in East Asia. Care includes family-style homes, education, therapy, vocational training and community outreach projects.

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