I joined Chunhui Children
Three years ago, there seemed to be nothing more important than my own ordinary life. I was a worn-out mother, a whiny wife and an unworthy daughter. But after I joined Chunhui Children as a child supervisor, all these negative self-concepts disappeared miracu-lously.
First encounter with Jiajia
Now, my life is still uneventful, but I know that I am no longer the person who kept looking for the purposes of life but always felt at a loss. In Chunhui Children, I have found something that I want to commit to, “my dream”, I would say. I hope that every child like "Jiajia" in Guizhou villages won’t have fear or loneliness anymore.
I still remember the first time I walked into Jiajia’s home. The dimly lit apartment has three bedrooms, one living room and some simple furniture in the corners. I even heard an echo when I spoke. There are no more appropriate words than “bare walls” to talk about it.
Jiajia has been living alone since she was 10 years old. How has the little girl managed to do this? I looked at her innocent little face and thought of my own child who would even run into my arms and hold my hand whenever it thundered and rained. But Jiajia was all alone. "Are you scared, Jiajia?" At my words, she seemed a little hesitant, looked at the room and said, "Get used to it." I don't think anyone in this world can get used to being lonely. No one would believe that a 10-year-old can be brave enough to stay alone throughout the night, without crying or trembling with fear, for all these years.
"Everyone has his/her own life, and I don't want to be a burden to anyone," Jiajia said. She has a father, a mother, a grandfather, and a grandmother, but no one of them gives her a home. She doesn’t want to be belittled or ignored. So, she must toughen up, brave against the struggles of life and prove that she can do it. She keeps herself beautifully dressed every day and at school she is one of the top ten academic achievers of her grade.
In the past three years, I gave Jiajia plenty of support. I promised her that I would always be there for her. So, she texted me whenever she had trouble. It is more difficult to establish a relationship of trust with Jiajia than with other children because she is so withdrawn.
I visited her home as often as possible, brought her nice food or stuff she needed, and invited her to our activity center. Over time, she began to open up and talk to me. I listened to her, gave her advice or help her with immediate problems, like fixing the pipeline or lamp in her house.
She came to trust me, and I learned a lot more about her. When she was sick and couldn't get up, she would hide under the quilt and cry; she didn’t have the courage to approach her mother when she saw her on the street; she would break down crying when overwhelmed with challenges; she remained silent even when she was bullied at school. Jiajia is a forgotten girl. Her parents remarried and both have their own children now. Her family's neglect and the pain of living alone have taught her that she can’t be too careful with each of her steps forward. Even the slightest mistake may throw her into hot water.
I realize that I have developed a close bond with the girl, and I need give her more support. I will let her know that she is not alone. Although I am not her mama, I love her and she could count on me.
“Ms. Tian, could you please go with me to my new school and help me check in?”
“Ms. Tian, I ranked in the top ten again. Would you treat me to a hamburger as you promised?”
“Ms. Tian, could you pick me up after school today? I find someone is always following me……”
I am glad to receive her calls and messages. Now, we are friends, teacher and student, and even “mama” and “daughter”. She says no one knows her better than me. I am always ready to listen, rather than simply say “hi”.
Jiajia regained hope for life
After Jiajia graduated from her elementary school, she felt lost about middle school enrollment and friendship development. I helped her weigh the pros and cons of each school accessible and taught her how to maintain relationship with friends, how to say “no” and how to protect herself. On her first middle school day, I went with her and helped her check in. I was so proud to see that the girl was blossoming and embarking on a new journey of her life.
Now, I am working to improve the relationship of Jiajia and her parents. It might not be easy, but I will make every effort to help the hurt girl because she ignited my passion for philanthropy. Thank you all, our dear supporters. With you by our side, we have helped tens of thousands of at-risk children like Jiajia regain hope for life.
Please believe that many child supervisors like me are working so hard every day for our shared goals and dreams.