We currently work with Hands of Hope and Hearts and Hands in China. Both projects help people with physical disabilities find self sufficiency through handicrafts. Hands of Hope works with the Leprosy Affected and Physically Disabled while Hearts & Hands works with the Deaf Community in China. People all over China have disabilities and are often forced to become outcasts, sent away from their families to hide with shame. However, these two groups are working hard to help give hope to these wonderfully gifted people.
HANDS OF HOPE
Hands of Hope is a non-profit organization developed by a group of skilled, disabled women in China, who have overcome stigma and poverty. Their mission is to assist physically and economically disabled women, including orphans and widows and their families to have equal development and work opportunities to enable them to participate more fully in society.
- Learn income generating skills.
- Design and sew marketable items.
- Participate in group activities that enhance growth and personal development.
- Individual Counseling for special needs.
- Develop a self sustaining micro enterprise.
- Enable women to regain self esteem and confidence.
Your purchase of Hands of Hope products will help the physically disabled to earn a livelihood for their families through their sewing and quilting skills. Some of the products they make are beautiful brocade quilts, neck pillows, aprons, totes, diaper bags, pouches and bible bags.
Lilly is an orphan who became physically disabled at a young age. After her mother died during childbirth, raising a daughter was too much for her father to handle. In desperation, he tried to kill her by immersing her in boiling water. When she didn't die, he took her to the steps of a mental institution and she was taken in by the caretaker of the hospital. She was raised there and lived a very hard life. She was disfigured and only capable of crawling on all fours. When she was discovered by a local missionary at age 13, they helped her receive surgeries to repair her burned and deformed legs. She was then able to stand upright for the first time in her life. At 17, she was taken in by Hands of Hope as a quilt maker and now has a thriving life. She is married now with children!
Mary is in her 50's. A rice farmer's wife, with 2 adult children, she lived away from her family for 5 years in a leprosy village. She only had 5 years of elementary school education and grew up in a poor family. Leprosy (Hansens Disease) affected her father and eventually he was cured but this was how she contracted it. Her case was much worse than her father's. Symptoms included a bleeding nose and pain in her hands and feet. Eventually her nose collapsed and she had problems with her feet. There is great stigma at home, and she became bitter on the inside even though it didn't show on the outside. People stopped talking to her and would turn away. She came to Hands of Hope through Mr. Dong. He visited the leprosy village and invited her over a year ago but she had been caring for an old lady there. The woman died last year and was not a relative of Mary but she was faithful in caring for her and came in March 2011.. Please pray for Mary and Lilly at Hands of Hope!
Pastor John Hansen of Centerpoint Church in Murrieta, CA went to visit the ladies of Dorcas Design in 2011. Here's what he said:
"I had the opportunity to visit [hands of hope]. I was so blessed to see that 'Heavenly Treasures' ministry partner site. For years we have had their items for sale at our church... and it was such a blessing to meet the girls who do the work! I went to each girl and woman there and spoke with each of them (in Mandarin) and profusely thanked them for their good work, for the beauty of their craftsmanship... I told them how much our people back home in the states look forward to seeing and buying what they make, and I thanked each one for their excellent work on behalf of all of our friends back in the states. It was a joy to see first-hand how they are being given dignity, training, safety, shelter, and care. Seeing it firsthand made me even more glad to be partnering with Heavenly Treasures."
Hearts and Hands
The Deaf Population of China, numbering around 72 million and with their own language and cultural identity, could be classed as China’s largest minority people group. They exist in every city, every township and thousands of small villages.
The majority of Deaf young people do not find suitable employment and turn to Deaf-led gangs in the large cities for a sense of belonging. Their means of living comes from petty theft or worse, from drug trade and prostitution.
It was with this in mind that Hearts and Hands began its work in 2000, first as a training class in patchwork and quilting for young Deaf, then as a small handcraft business employing young Deaf people who would otherwise struggle to make a living. Currently we have over 40 workers with hope for greater expansion in the future.
The Hearts & Hands workers are all deaf or disabled, learning useful life skills in a friendly working environment. Our hope in providing this environment is to help them realize “plans that will prosper and not harm them, plans for a hope and a future.” Heavenly Treasures was able to begin working with H&H in 2009 by purchasing handbags, stuffed bunnies, wallets and other cute hand sewn Christmas items. Since then, their lines have expanded and grown. Currently, H&H has 28 staff in the handicraft workshop and store. The woodcraft shop has 7 carpenters.
Meet Hu Xiaoping...what a miracle!
During the three and half years He Xue Lan has worked at Hearts & Hands, she has had two major changes in her life. She became a Christian two years ago and married last year. Her smile is always an encouragement to others. She has been the main “cutter” at the workshop. Her job involves cutting all the fabric for the many, varied designs. her fellows workers enjoy her liveliness and the joy she demonstrates in her daily work. He Xue Lan comes from Nu Jiang in Yunnan province. As with many Deaf in China, she became deaf as a young child because of medical treatment. She was sick with a high fever and was given a strong antibiotic by injection that destroyed the auditory nerves.
She said that the love shown to her at H&H made her very happy. Her out-going personality has been a plus as she helped with special H&H displays at Metro, a German department store, and the Nordica Christmas Fair. She helped with the display of products and assisted customers in their choice of items. Her deafness was never a disability when it came to helping others.
Cao Can Bo and Yin Jian MeiCao
Can Bo and Yin Jian Mei, both in their early 30s, are a couple that have contributed greatly to the Deaf program in Kunming. They were born hearing but became Deaf as infants due to poor medical treatment. They were given strong antibiotics for high fever which affected their hearing. Their joyful spirits and smiling faces give encouragement to others facing difficulties. Cao Bo comes from a family of 5 children. There are four boys and one girl. The oldest son and daughter are hearing but the three younger boys are all deaf because of unsuitable medical treatment. Cao Bo attended Hua Xia Technical for the Disabled in Kunming. He divides his time working as a carpenter at the woodworking shop and teaching the Bible at the Deaf Fellowship. He has also taught foreigners Chinese sign language. Outside of work, he enjoys playing basketball. Jian Mei also attended Hua Xia Technical School. Before working as a seamstress at Hearts & Hands, she taught Chinese sign language to young Deaf people from the countryside in a special program for the Deaf.
Jian Mei is also involved with the Deaf Fellowship. She and Cao Bo attended an international Deaf conference (see photo) in Alexandria, Egypt last year. She enjoys singing in sign and dancing. The couple were classmates and married in 2005. They have a desire to reach out to their former classmates and other Deaf people in Kunming. They offer them fellowship and understanding.
Lei Hong Mei
Lei Hongmei is from the countryside and only has two years of education. She had some deaf friends so she knew a little sign language. When she heard about the deaf training program given by Project Grace (now Bless China International), she decided she wanted to learn more sign language. While in the program, she realized that she loved sewing and handcrafts. So she stayed in Kunming and in 2001 became one of our first workers.
Working at Hearts and Hands has brought her friendship and confidence. She is married now and wants to stay working here as long as she can.
Seven years ago, a medical team from California came to Kunming to perform five cochlear implant (CI) surgeries. Li Bing was 12 years old in 2005 when he came from a small Yi village with his parents. The successful surgeries transformed the lives of the five deaf children. The staff of Hearts & Hands provided assistance to the team and also served as interpreters.
Today Li Bing is finishing his first year at Huaxia Technical Institute for the Disabled. He attends classes in the hearing section and also volunteers at the Hearts & Hands handicraft workshop.
Li Bing (photo above) is standing between Ingrid Chen and Kathy Haixia. Ingrid, director of H&H, assisted as the sign language
interpreter for the team. Kathy has served as Chinese language interpreter for follow-up visits by California team members.