Isabelle would be starting kindergarten in the coming days and it's another turn in this journey of ours that hurts us so badly inside. How I wish we were together, picking out her first day of school outfit, getting her new backpack stocked with new things and sharing in the excitement of a new chapter.
But we can't. Full stop.
What we can do, however, is see to it that another child gets an opportunity for an education and a hope of a brighter future. And that's where Jia Qi comes in.
I was extremely taken with this young man and the hardships that he has overcome. When I learned that he had suffered Polio as a child it took me back to one of the many conversations I had with doctors, in which I was trying desperately to understand the medical language in her autopsy. The reference to viral inflammation of gray matter (in her brain) was prominent in her autopsy and as it was explained to me, Polio is a Greek abbreviation poliomyelitis (polios meaning “gray” and muelos meaning “marrow.”) Just one of the many things I wish I didn’t have the experience of learning. In trying to understand why the virus that led to Isabelle’s death did not affect me, or her brother or anyone else, they often compared it to Polio. They spoke of the time during Polio outbreaks, in which one person would fatally be infected, one person would not be affected at all, and the others could suffer various injuries somewhere in between.
Huang Jia Qi survived his Polio infection and desperately wants to further his education. He has 6 members in his family: his parents, 3 older brothers and himself. Both of his parents are farmers, whose annual income is lower than 5000yuan ($784 USD). His 2 oldest brothers have been working hard to support the family since they graduated from junior school; they never attended high school, they needed to help support the family.
Jia Qi is extremely hard-working. He is currently working part-time at his university library and they pay him a token sum for his work. He also does other volunteer work to help others
In his first letter, this kind young man wrote:
"Though I know little about you, I want to share. When I was three years old, I fell ill with a terrible sickness. My parents went to many hospitals, but no doctors could help me. Finally, my family gave up. As a result, I can not stand up or walk like other people. I have to use one of my hands to help my feet walk. I recently discovered that my disease is called polio or infantile paralysis. The good thing is that my teachers and classmates like me and treat me well. I like to make jokes and I love life. I recall a beautiful sentence I once heard, but I’m not sure the meaning will translate: For a chance to see the sunshine, I came to the world. It took three days to write this letter, since I am not good at English. I am working hard to learn so that we can communicate in the future."
We are sponsoring Jia Qi through the amazing Sunflower Project. Children living in poverty in China face many obstacles, including the ability to receive an adequate education. The goal of the Sunflower Project is to help students from impoverished families overcome this barrier by providing personal support that empowers them to improve their own lives and then ultimately their communities. Students in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hunan Provinces are part of this important project. All of the students have family situations which prevent them from getting a high school or university education.
LWB has a local project manager in each Sunflower Project location, who personally visits with each student in the program. Donors will receive quarterly reports on their sponsored child, with photos and updates on the child’s progress. Donors are able to write encouraging letters to their sponsored students. Learn more about this amazing initiative through this video:
WATCH THIS VIDEO ABOUT THE SUNFLOWER PROJECT
If you would like to help us support others like Jai Qi, donate here: