Last week we interviewed Kerry Schottelkorb, Director of Advancement for Christian Action Asia, about his organizations work with disabled orphans in China. Here is the story of one of the orphans they have cared for.
Zhou Ma, a Tibetan child, was only five when she came to the Huangnan Children's Home. The burns on her face and left hand were testimonies to yet another accident by fire. Zhou Ma and the other children living at the home only had two-minute noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week. Christian Action (CA) was invited to co-manage the home and immediately began to provide nutritious food and care that all children must have for growing bones, muscles and brains.
Zhou Ma’s situation was not life-threatening, but CA had to intervene to surgically help her overcome the challenges of a disfigured face. This was not simply a cosmetic surgery. The skin on Zhou Ma’s face was pulling one of her eyelids down and the tension on her eyelid restricted her from blinking. If this tension continued, too much of Zhou Ma's eye would be exposed. The surface of the eye would not be regularly lubricated and the cornea would dry out, causing blindness.
In 2010 when a group of doctors from Hong Kong spent some of their precious holiday time to visit Huangnan Children’s Home, they noticed Zhou Ma and stated that they could repair some of the damage done to her face and hand. The following year, Zhou Ma and her social worker boarded a plane from Xining to Hong Kong for the adventure of her 12-year-old life! When she arrived in Hong Kong, Zhou Ma was exhausted from all the excitement of her very first flight.
Though she is a very courageous girl, Zhou Ma was nervous about having surgery on her face, knowing this would be a life changing event. However, Zhou Ma had been strengthened in body and spirit over the previous few years and was ready to face this tremendous challenge.
After five hours of intense surgery, the skin around Zhou Ma’s eye was released. She also had extensive repair work done to her injured hand. Two days after the surgery, her friends phoned from Huangnan Children's Home to encourage her. Despite her pain, there was a hint of a smile on her face!
Zhou Ma’s recovery process was very painful. While in the hospital for two weeks she lost her appetite as well as 6 ½ pounds. Once the pain subsided she started eating very well again.
Zhou Ma is very shy, but once she gets to know you, she reveals that she is a very optimistic young person who wants to be independent.
She said before the surgery, "What really bothers me is that I can’t use my left hand very much. I can use my chopsticks with my right hand, but I can’t hold my bowl." She never wanted to ask for help, so Zhou Ma’s wish before surgery was: "I hope that I will be able to use my hand, because it will make tasks like eating, washing my clothes and my hair much easier."
Despite her shyness, and her petite size, Zhou Ma has a huge vision. She says, "I want to be a teacher and give children the knowledge and confidence they need to explore the world!"
Now 15, Zhou Ma has grown into a lovely young lady, your prayers and financial support will help fulfill her vision.
For more information on how you can be involved in Zhou Ma’s vision and the work of Christian Action, visit their website at: http://www.christianactionasia.org.
To learn more about the challenges of those in China with disabilities, read the 2016 spring issue of ChinaSource Quarterly—"Disabilities in China."