Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Can You Help?

A wonderful group of people, made up of families who have adopted children from Yunnan (Mei Lin's province), have started a non-profit organization to improve the lives of orphans in Yunnan Province. Yunnan Kids International (YKI) is now fundraising for orphaned children in western Yunnan who are living in very sad conditions where there is not even an institution to care for their basic needs. The letter below was written by a YKI board member and explains what they are doing to help.
(I'll add photos of the area and the children later)

**I would love for any family and friends considering sending Mei Lin gifts when she comes home, to INSTEAD make a donation in her honor to help these children.

Mei Lin is NOT in need of any toys or clothes, but these children desperately need the most basic provisions of food and clothing.

Thank you for any help you can give!
Pat and Cindy
Here's the note from YKI:

Dear fellow parents and friends,

The focus of our first new project will be to help orphaned children
living in Long Chuan County. Long Chuan County is located in the
western part of Yunnan in the Golden Triangle and borders Burma
(Myanmar). You may know that the Golden Triangle is synonymous with
the trafficking of opiates.

Long Chuan County is inhabited by the Jingpo and several other minorities. Luliang village is one of the towns in the county. The situation of children orphaned in Long Chuan is haunting. For most of these children, their fathers got addicted to drugs and shared needles in the process. The fathers have either died from drug overdoses or from AIDS. Some of the mothers have also died of AIDS. Others have left the area out of misery and in doing so leave their children behind because the
local customs do not permit a mother to take her children should she leave the family.

There are almost 500 abandoned children in this county (with a
population of about 170,000). The PRC has reported that 10% of
these children are HIV+. The local government is very poor and
provides very little funds to help these children. There is no
orphanage, no foster program. Children stay with whomever have been
willing to take them in, extended family, a neighbor and others yet
these families do not have enough money to adequately feed and cloth
the children. The only service the county government has provided
is to try to keep the children in school; otherwise these children
often turn to trafficking drugs or prostitution. As of last month,
there were 143 orphaned children in the school. The local
government gives the school a meager amount for school supplies and
12 yuan a month per child for their food; that's about $1.50 (US
currency). Even in China, that doesn't buy much. Each child gets
one bowl of rice each day and meat once or twice a month.
Besides the situation with food, the biggest need is clothing. Each
child has one set of clothing only, which donated by a US non-profit

YKI Board members have decided we would like to start to
improve living conditions, by purchasing a second clothing set for
these children. This would permit the opportunity for the other
clothes to be cleaned. A set of clothing is about $13 (in US
currency). For 143 children (88 in elementary school and 55 in
middle school), the amount need is $1859. The Board members of YKI
would raise $2000 in case clothing for some children costs slightly
more. Any additional amount beyond the target $2000 can be used
for school supplies.

Yunnan Kids International will be partnering directly with Peggy
Gurrad, M.D. ( and Altrusa International to provide
the clothing. Dr. Gurrad, a U. S. doctor, has been working to help
with needs of Chinese orphans since the late 1980's. She has spent
much of her time in the Jiangxi province. I am sure most of you
know about Altrusa but I am attaching their international web
address for your reference:

The logistics for this effort will include purchase of these clothing sets by a trusted coordinator in China that works with Dr. Gurrad. The worker will buy the clothing and deliver them and insure that the children receive the clothing. We have asked for photos after delivery of
new clothing, for accountability purposes.

It is easy, but also heart breaking, to see the despair in their faces. Would you consider helping with this effort? If you would like to help, please make a donation at
CLICK ON: "Please help the children of Long Chuan, some who are HIV+.
Make a donation"

Thank you,
Iris Culp, Board Member, Yunnan Kids International

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