Sunday, 25 December 2011

Irene: Now found at a good University!

Some of you may remember a girl we called "Irene" who was thrown out by her parents because she was unable to speak due to the fact that she was hearing impaired. When I recently asked the headmaster of the ChangSha Deaf Centre, Mrs Wang, about "Irene" her face lit up with a warm smile. Irene has just been accepted at one of Chinas top 10 Universities. Quite the Christmas present! This in itself is amazing for a girl from the countryside in this vast country. When you remember that she is hearing impaired, this is even more incredible. Looking back, it now seems almost unreal for her incredibly proud parents to imagine that they only 12 years ago gave her to the headmaster of the deaf school and had no intention of seeing her again.
Without the Deaf Centre in Changasha, it is questionable if Irene would be alive, be able to speak or have any formal education. Irenes story is one of many life stories that shows how life can turn out when Gods love is poured on people and igniting hope really can change more than one can imagine!
If you would like to read the rest of her story, you can read about it in English or Norwegain depending on your preference. It is really a pleasure to see the joy in this deaf centre!

Monday, 19 December 2011

The International Biogas Project: China & Madagascar

In June 2011, 13 project leaders from Madagascar visited China to study NMS Biogas projects and meet the leaders in Amity Foundation. On this trip, Amity discussed closely with Malagasy friends and partners in Hunan Province about future management of the project as well as the technical details of biogas construction.
Because of the very different contexts of the two countries (China &Madagascar) Amity staff learnt a great deal from the interactive workshops and discussions during the visit of the Malagasi visitors. Amity`s local partners also learnt a great deal from the perspectives of the Chinese visitors, and despite obvious language challenges, friendships were made. After the Leader trip in June, but before the July assessment trip to Madagascar, Amity consultant Chris GongSheng went to Yongshun County and Baojing County (the two areas the leaders visited) and held meetings with the Overseas Friendship Association of both counties to evaluate the June trip and share experiences.

From July the 20th to August the 16th, Amity consultant Chris GongSheng and Mr. Chen JiaHai, Director of Biogas Association of YongShun County (In HuNan Province) travelled to Madagascar. Their purposes of going there was as follows:

I.                   To make a biogas survey:

Chris GongSheng and Mr. Chen JiaHai did field visit to many household that already did have biogas systems and tried to come out better solution to make improvements. They also did several family interviews and attended meetings with local government officials to get an understanding of local attitudes to biogas. They found that biogas is perceived to be urgently needed in Madagascar because the environment is deteriorating and people cannot access alternative clean renewable energy. They are forced to cut trees to improve family incomes.

II.                To help local technicians build a steel mould and a wooden mould;

Amity worked closely with the Tombotsoa School, an agricultural school in Madagascar to build respectively a steel mould and a wooden mould. A total of 32 people from different programs of FLM were involved in the construction process. It finally took five days to finish the steel mould and four days to make the wooden one.
Proud makers of the steel moul- Yes! Together we can do it!
III.             To provide technical training for local technicians about mould training;

The steel mould made in Madagascar this year.
Under the support of FLM, Chris GongSheng and Mr. Chen Jiahai did a series of training programs for 32 local technicians that will be further trained next year. Mr. Chen JiaHai spread the knowledge of mould construction by drawing design and giving good examples. He was very impressed by the keen interest and understanding of the Malagasi participants. The evaluation showed that most participants understood the training contents very well. If you would like to read about this project in Norwegian, take a look here or here.

Merry Christmas, all readers!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Annual report from the ChangSha Deaf Centre

One of my favourite jobs is coordinating support to the Changsha Deaf centre. This has been an exciting year for the centre.
16 teachers have taken the Hunan Province teacher certificate and passed. They have also attended other training courses throughout the year. Most of the teachers are very young and work very long hours, for very little pay because the centre just does not have the money to increase their wages. As a result, teachers do become burnt out and there is a high turn over rate in the staff. Having said that, the teachers are very dedicated, it is obvious that they love the children and due to their amazing dedication the centre has gone from strength to strength.
The centre continues to hold parent training courses, which have proven popular and an effective way of helping the parents help their children.
The centre serves many families who cannot afford the school fees. For this reason, though the cost of living has increased in China, the school and boarding fees haven’t. Of course, this means that the school struggles. Teacher’s wages are low, the school itself is very basic and is in need of some desperate repairs. In fact, the centre could really do with new premises.
The school has a floor in a residential block of flats and many of the neighbours are very unhappy that the school shares their building. The school has a small outdoor area that other flats can see into. Before the children used to play there, but because neighbours used to throw things at them, they have had to stop that. Now the children do not go outside unless they are taken for a special trip to the park.

During the summer we took our three children, Natasha, Kari Sophia and Jakob to visit the Deaf centre, so that they could see what kind of work NMS does. Whilst we were there, our kids got to play with the children in the centre and both sets of children entertained each other with little shows. Our children liked meeting the kids and spending time with them. They were touched by how basic the centre was: the number of children sleeping in each room, the smell of the toilets, the food, the mouldy ceilings and the heat in the centre because they can’t afford to use aircon. We later found out that it hadn’t just been our children who had enjoyed the visit. Apparently, the children at the centre loved meeting and playing with the “foreign “ kids, talked about it for days and even told their parents how exciting it was!!
Changsha Deaf Centre has greatly benefited from your support. It literally would not be able to operate in the way it does today if it wasn’t for you who support this project. Thank you for your support! From Marieke