Bedroom renovation program in China benefits disadvantaged children
Painting the walls, refurbishing dark bedrooms, and providing new furniture -- a home renovation program in China is assisting children from low-income families to live a better life.
CHANGSHA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Last summer, a painting made by nine-year-old Lele (pseudonym) drew the attention of Chen Yi, a volunteer for the housing renovation program in Liling City, central China's Hunan Province.
A clean desk, a bright lamp, and a large bed are depicted in the painting. "This is my ideal room," Lele told Chen while pointing to his picture.
Chen and his teammates then visited Lele's home and discovered that he lived in an old, 50-square-meter house with his parents and two grandmothers. Most of his family members suffer from illnesses and rely on his father, who picks up odd jobs to support the entire family.
"Our first thought at that time was that we must help Lele by creating a good environment for him to live and study," said Chen.
So the local committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) decided to help Lele through the renovation program. Following a discussion with Lele's family, a group of merchants and volunteers teamed up to improve the boy's bedroom.
After decorating the room, installing doors and windows, and laying down floor coverings, Lele moved into his new bedroom before the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year this month. He said he was thrilled to finally have his own space.
"My favourite part after the makeover is the closet," said Lele. It was not convenient for him to play at home before, but now he can hide in the closet and play hide-and-seek with his father.
"It always takes him a long time to find me!" Lele said with a smile.
Fourteen-year-old Mei (pseudonym) has been living with her grandparents since her parents died. The introverted girl always keeps her head down and does not talk much.
Local volunteers learned of her predicament a few years ago and, have since, provided her with financial assistance and care.
"The volunteer uncles and aunts often came to see me. Once, they asked me if I wanted a new room." Mei recounted that because her room was dark and wet, she rarely stayed in it and always slept with her grandmother.
At the end of 2021, Mei's room was included in the renovation project.
"Before the project was implemented, the volunteers talked to me many times for my opinions," said Mei.
"While the room was being restored, I couldn't wait to visit each day after school. I was extremely eager about how it would turn out," Mei said.
"Providing a clean, comfortable bedroom can significantly improve children's health and well-being, as well as provide a significant boost to the family," said Hu Xiaoqing, the secretary of the Liling Municipal Committee of the CYLC.
In 2021, the CYLC committees at all levels in Hunan raised some 16 million yuan (about 2.5 million U.S. dollars) of funds and materials, which were used to renovate 579 rooms for disadvantaged children.
For 14-year-old Yue (pseudonym) from Zhuzhou city in Hunan, the remodelling for her bedroom planted a seed in her heart and allowed her hopes for the future to flourish.
The death of Yue's father and the illness of her mother dealt her a terrible blow. She was gloomy and once felt that she had slipped into a bog of misfortune that she could not escape.
"Sometimes, I even felt the goal of getting into senior high school was unreachable," Yue said.
However, thanks to the program, Yue now enjoys a clean, welcoming area at home. She uses her new bedroom not only as a place to study and read but also as a studio to practice painting -- her favourite hobby.
"I felt as if someone had assisted me in transforming the agony I endured into sweetness," said Yue.
She then recalled the night she moved into the bedroom for the first time. "I was so delighted that I couldn't sleep," she said of the outpouring of compassion she received from strangers.
"I want to work harder to live up to the expectations of those who helped me," Yue added.
by Xinhua writers Zhang Ge, Liu Fangzhou