Saturday, April 16, 2011

Volunteering in China's Orphanages

Many of you may know or heard about China's (and many other parts of the world) challenge of overcrowded and understaffed orphanages. These are a vulnerable, helpless population that rely on the kindness of childcare workers to survive. Some are lucky enough to get adopted (but mostly from international adoptions - these orphanages are filled with many medical/special needs children and females.

Unfortunately China- while pushing forward into modernization- still cling to the traditional notions that male children are better and with the One Child Policy many couples rather have a son as their only child.

Studies have shown that lack of physical and emotional interactions with others in early childhood deeply affects the child in physiological ways- many literally die from loneliness. Many people wish they could volunteer at these orphanages to provide more than just basic needs, but love.

However through my research and some contacts with people who run the orphanages- China's state run orphanages usually prohibit foreigners from volunteering for fear that they are just there to "baby shop" or to spread foreign influence.

If you truly want to just lend a hand and a heart, there are ways. Many US citizens or other people from Europe have started their own private orphanages and they welcome volunteers. However, a lot of the work would be on your own - to plan where to live, what to do, how long, etc.

China Care - is an organization founded in 2000 by a young teenager who really had a heart for these children in China. Now there are "clubs" all around the US on college campus to raise awareness and support. China Care Bruins is the UCLA Chapter that does great things like a Mentorship Program for adoptees from China and fundraising for life-saving surgeries for orphans in China. They do not have an international component, but CCB show that you can help just by being on campus.

Blue Sky Healing Home in Beijing

Volunteer through IFRE

New Hope Volunteer in Xian, China

I have heard that going through a church is the easiest instead of going by yourself, but -remember- do your research and understand the dynamics of religious institutions and the Chinese government. Happy hunting!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    My name is Anish Neupane, and I am the Director of Volunteer Nepal National Group (VolNepal) which is a non-profit organization in Nepal. VolNepal was founded in 2000 and registered with the Chief District Administration Office and the Social Welfare Council, in Kathmandu in 2004.

    Our organization was created to implement new initiatives and platforms that could better answer the need for communication between volunteers and community groups with NGOs operating both locally and internationally.

    VolNepal currently works to assist and improve the welfare of the underprivileged in our society. Our work includes community rural sustainability development, education and capacity building, teaching, technology, literacy, economically self-sustaining activities, women,children and gender issues.

    We would like for you to consider partnering with us, since our goals appear to be convergent and the co-operation will, in our opinion, be mutually beneficial. We would like to running some Climate Change program in Nepal in near future.

    We provide volunteer opportunities in the following areas :

    1 Teaching in a school
    2 Pre Medical Interns
    3 Working in Orphanages
    4 Working with Women
    5. Awareness and capacity Development
    6. Environment

    For more info please log on:


    Anish Neupane

    Skype: Volnepal