People Influence People; Life Affects Life.
Knowing Christina is already a matter of four years ago,
At that time, I knew her through a common friend.
After learning her and her brother’s endeavors and contributions, I was deeply impressed.
Christina and her brother Joseph gave up their tranquil lives and careers oversee and came back to Hong Kong, determined to serve the crippled orphans in Mainland China. Christina’s main task was to collect donations in Hong Kong whereas her brother handled business in Mainland.
I am myself a father who deeply feel the unease of raising children. And I further understand the high value of family and its bondage; Christina’s main targets were those children without parents, who are physically, psychologically and spiritually in sickness. She helped them to find a family of foster parents: to fill their broken heart so that life and heart became one.
Chinese traditional thoughts and culture became the main stumbling block for Christina. For many years, although Hong Kong has been influenced by Western culture, but when talking about finding foster parents, one has to cross the hurdle: “to raise the a non-biological child”. This was a difficult task.
And in the even more conservative Mainland China, this proved even more difficult.
Luoyang Children Welfare Institute (LYCWI) looked after these unhealthy children and some were mentally ill, some were physically ill and some suffered both… and the most severe conditions were those who suffered from body and function sickness which render them to lie still on the floor every day hopelessly waiting for their little lives to wither. Under such circumstances, Christina believed immense love like from the sea could give them tiny energy and courage to wait until the next dawn to open their eyes, to look into another day to live on. It was such deep affections which transcend the yolk of traditional thoughts to lead and drive these young children from a different world to meet people from another world and make a living familial bondage.
As such The CEO Foundation’s “Family Anew Program” held its esteems.
Christina and her brother has long been striving methods to help these crippled orphans. And in the past under many hardship, she spent three years, through twists and turns, she finally co-operated with the Luoyang Government in 2003 to implement “Family Agnew Program” until now it’s ten years already. During this period, difficulties big and small were numerous and severe beyond imagination. Although it’s so rough, Christina persevered and loved, spread immense energy to those children and even to the hearts of the foster parents. With consistent counseling, people influence people, life affects life, work continued incessantly.
A year ago, I visited Luoyang with my wife. Before arrival, my wife did not have any high hope, indeed she has ample experiences in charities and so she believed only gathered enough money donations, that would be sufficient.
However, after she has visited LYCWI and the foster families, her views changed. These crippled children were living in loving families. I believed any people could see this. These children understood and valued more both life and soul and the concept of ‘completeness’. The tiny drops of tears from these foster parents, flooded with their immense familial affections make many tiny stories vividly happening in reality. Hinging on the hearts of every persons their plain conversation attached in our minds for very long time. The whole journey was filled with touching tears.
But we remembered what Christina’s taught us— never visit them in sympathy.
Christina is right. The whole journey to Christina and her brother, to the whole “Family Anew Program”, to those children, to those foster parents, we paid our deepest respect. It was admiration, more than sympathy. As visitors, we received more than they did. It was because we understood the real level of deeply entrenched love and concerns between foster parents and their foster children.
The whole project was meaningful. One could only say, only if you participated, then no matter from any angle, any depth, you definitely learnt something.
The fruits of The CEO Foundation, not only promoted by the local government, but became the models of other provinces. The well-known highly esteemed Luoyang Evening Newspaper has many times reported and followed the program and in May 2013, published a 5-page special report on this program. In mid-2017, The CEO Foundation extended to Luoning the service clients extended from crippled children to children of poor and problems-ridden families. And we added having training professional volunteers and teachers, to match with the newly added excellent virtue education. In the future, we hope that this program can spread through provinces or even to the whole country so thousands or tens of thousands children will benefit, And from this we see the contributions and high hope of Christina.
In mid-year this year, under my encouragement, my son joined us to visit The CEO Foundation in 2 children welfare institutes in Luoyang and Luoning and visited my foster son.
I was touched and my eyes reddened, and smile appeared from deep down of my heart.
By Alex C H LAI (HKU Court Member)