Thanks for contributing, Claire!
This post was written by a guest writer, Claire Hamilton.
Thanks for contributing, Claire!
Although prior to my internship I was unfamiliar with the Chinese sociological concept of ‘face’, it is highly important in how society functions. ‘Face’ is considered of fundamental value in all aspects of Chinese society. From my understanding during my short time in China, ‘face’ can be described as a person’s reputation and feelings of prestige within spheres such as the work place, family, friends and society generally. Face is more than just enhancing your ego as we may think of in the West and is closer to the concept of honour. Perhaps in the West our reputation is considered individualistic, Chinese face is more relational, focused on how a person and all his family and community is viewed by others; it can be earned and equally can be taken away. These ideas are thought to be related to the teachings of Confucius who taught, “with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously.”
This concept may seem far-flung from the difficult realities found in everyday life for the children of the Chinese orphanage. However, taken to its extreme this concept of Face influences the attitudes towards the children of the orphanage. Despite Chinese law declaring various rights for disabled children CNN reports that, “Today, almost all of China's orphans have disabilities.” Often their parents feel unable to keep their children at birth as they are considered to have ‘defects’ or they do not match up to the high standards which society unknowingly perpetrates. Furthermore, Chinese cities have a poor infrastructure and are not equipped to support those in society with disabilities. The law says that children with special needs are entitled to proper schooling, but there are no provisions for funding. Without financial aid and community support it is unsurprising that young parents often from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not feel capable of keeping these children.
Hope Station realises it’s of fundamental importance to go further than the concept of ‘face’. Rather than concern over their reputation or a place in society, Hope Station exists to serve and provide lasting solutions for the children they support. Despite often difficult cultural attitudes, the goal is not to work against the efforts of the caregivers or community, rather it is to partner with and support them. Through this unity Hope Station aims to provide permanent solutions for vulnerable children by supporting childcare centres, advocating for adoption and raising community awareness. Through supporting Hope Station and spreading the word about this work, we hope that these children can take their place in society realised as unique, highly valuable individuals. I would love to see the importance of relationship in Chinese society work for and benefit these children; with their value and diversity being important to the community around them. The nannies care for their children but can only do so much. They deserve to be loved as the highly treasured individuals that they are. Please stand with Hope Station in seeing this vision come to life. Join us in praying for, supporting and encouraging the wonderful children of Hope Station.
A note from Rebekah...
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to start a nonprofit from the ground up, to open a home for ORPHANS with special needs in CHINA, you've come to the right place.