It’s easy to get caught up in the difficulties in everyday life and forget that the world is full of people, many of whom are children, who endure daily struggles we cannot imagine. This is particularly true of children who are impacted by HIV/AIDS, and there huge numbers of them in China. The Chi Heng Foundation (CHF) works to improve the lives of children in China affected by HIV/AIDS by providing for the cost of their education and living expenses.
For this week of July 16 to July 21, CHF is sponsoring its annual summer camp in Beijing for AIDS-impacted children. The camp, participation in which is based on student performance during the school year, sends forty secondary school students to Beijing for a week of fun and educational field trips. The aim of the summer camp is to motivate the campers to handle life’s challenges, expand their horizons, and inspire them to create their own destinies.
The first two days of this year’s summer camp included Olympic-themed activities in the morning and a visit to the Forbidden City in the afternoon. In the evening the campers visited CK Dance Company to enjoy a hip-hop performance and learn to do a little hip-hop themselves. The following day the campers went to the Science and Technology Museum and spent an evening at an art class painting.
CHF, a non-government organization (NGO), was started in 1998 and has offices in multiple cities in China, including Beijing. Supported by donations from private individuals, businesses, and other NGOs, Chi Heng does not fund children’s living conditions by running orphanages or foster homes. Instead, donations go directly to schools and family members who have taken the children in. Rather than isolating the children CHF supports, the foundation places them in schools that encourage combining the children who are affected by HIV/AIDS with children who are not. Support for the children is not just financial; CHF provides additional emotional and social support for their children.
Central China has an enormous number of children affected by HIV/AIDS. In the 1990s, many poor peasants in central China sold their blood as a way to help make ends meet. The rural blood clinics did not observe proper sanitation regarding needles and blood, and hundreds of thousands of people, and their children, became infected with HIV.
To find out more about the Chi Heng Foundation, visit their website.