Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Special Guest Post: Claire from Ragbags and Gladrags

I have a guest post to share with you today! When Claire contacted me and asked about posting, I knew I wanted to say yes as soon as I read about her mission. The work she's doing will have a direct impact on little ones who can't speak for themselves. So read on to hear from Claire!

Hi I’m Claire and I blog over at Ragbags and Gladrags. I’m really glad to be able to guest post for Beth here at 110 Creations.

I’m an artist, designer, sewist and teacher and I use my creativity as a way to release stress and fund charity work that I do with International China Concern. I’d like to share a little of that with you today.

I became passionate about the work that International China Concern (ICC) do when I was fortunate enough to join one of their short-term teams in 2007.

David Gotts, who felt called to make a difference while on a gap year, set up the organization in 1993. He saw the conditions that abandoned children were often living in, the high mortality rate and lack of trained carers in the welfare centers.

Prior to ICC’s intervention the mortality rate could be as high as 80% of children abandoned. With just one carer to approximately 30 children it was survival of the fittest and carer just couldn’t care for the sheer numbers of children, especially those who had additional needs. Several babies would have to share one cot and there was little access to specialist medical care, therapy and special education.

In the 20 years that ICC have been working alongside the Chinese government to make a difference they have been training carers and reducing the ratio of children to staff, providing nutrition and access to specialist care if needed. Now 80% of children abandoned, in projects where ICC work, survive and have love, hope and opportunity. ICC also work to provide training to their own and government staff and work to support parents who have children with disabilities to prevent abandonment.

The need is still very great, and although conditions are improving slowly, there is still much to be done. ICC have a team of international volunteers who work in the projects, many of whom first encountered the organization via a short term team and decided to commit to working with the organization for a longer period of time.

My First team had such an impact on me, that I would have loved to go long term, and still hope to one day, but its not appropriate at the moment. However, I committed to supporting the work, fundraising and getting involved when I can. My family and I sponsor two children, whom I have been privileged to work with, and I know that the money all goes to making a difference. I’ve also supported the annual fundraiser called Walk the Wall over the last few years.

I’m very excited at the moment as I’ve been accepted on another short-term team that will be working in one of ICC’s projects over Easter this year, and my daughter is going with me. I’m looking forward to using my skills to love and care for the children there, to play and smile and give encouragement and support the long term team out there. I’ve been fundraising like mad and would love it if you could support us. If you are interested in joining with us, please take a look at my sponume page for more info, or check out the art works I have for sale (all proceeds go towards my fundraising).

Can I also encourage you to get involved in work like this, DO IT! You will never be the same again, and will never forget it! ICC offer opportunity to be involved with their work from short term teams, to long-term service. Or you can sponsor a child or take part in fundraising activities. I’m happy to tell you more about my experiences and share with you what I’ll be doing and you can contact me via my blog.

Please do take time to look at Dave Gotts telling the story of how International China Concern began. It’s such a moving and passionate story.

Thanks Beth for letting me share a little about this work with you and your readers.

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