Right To Play is a global charity that uses the power of sport and play to transform the lives of disadvantaged children across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Funding from ICAP in 2012 enabled Right To Play to support orphaned, vulnerable and disabled children living in welfare institutions or with foster families in China. Using educational resources, Right To Play helped these institutions and families to improve the prospects and care of children across Shaanxi and Xinjiang regions.
In China, over 710,000 children are orphaned or living without the care of their parents. Of those living in government care, over 90% are children with disabilities. A donation from Charity Day in 2012 has helped transform the lives of over 1,000 of these children.
I think using games is incredibly powerful when teaching children with disabilities. Not only do the children love the Right To Play games, I can use them to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.Special Educational Needs teacher, Shaanxi.
With ICAP’s funding, Right To Play worked with two child welfare institutions in Xinjiang and Shaanxi which support children living with a wide range of disabilities including autism and cerebral palsy. Disabled children in these regions did not have basic quality care; quality rehabilitation and special educational needs services or the support to integrate into wider society.
Right To Play produced a manual, which included games and activities that address the physical and emotional needs of disabled children. Staff at the two institutions were trained on how to use the manual, which enabled them to run weekly sport and play activities that encouraged the children’s rehabilitation and development. Most of the children benefiting from these activities were 3 - 16 years old, but with ICAP’s support Right To Play was able to expand their programme and provide young people aged 17 – 18 with important vocational training. Finding a way to gain employment and live independently is crucial for disabled children growing up in child welfare institutions. ICAP’s donation also funded educational trips and excursions.
Qian is 20 years old and living with Down’s syndrome at the child welfare institution in Shaanxi. Abandoned by his parents when he was just a young boy, Qian has spent most of his life in the confines of the institution, rarely venturing out into the wider community. As part of the ICAP-funded project, Qian spent three months working at a local factory. With the support he needed, he worked successfully on the production line and mastered his workday routine, including his morning commute to the factory. By the end of the experience, Qian was able to communicate and maintain close relationships with his colleagues, while also successfully carrying out tasks such as cleaning and operating machinery. The progress he made over such a short period of time has brought Qian a step closer to one day being able to live his life independently.
"When I went to the restaurant to practice my skills, I felt so happy about living by myself and becoming a useful person in my community." Peng, a young woman with learning disabilities, who Right To Play helped gain work experience and training.
ICAP’s support has a lasting legacy, not only for the children helped so far, but also for future generations of vulnerable and disabled children growing up in China. The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs is drafting a new National Child Protection policy and is excited by what Right To Play has achieved with ICAP’s support. This project is now becoming a model of best practice for the Ministry’s child protection strategy.