Chinese Orphans Project

In the 1990s, illegal blood collectors recruited poor subsistence farmers in China’s rural Henan Province to donate blood in exchange for a small payment.  Cash in exchange for donating blood was an attractive way of supplementing their meager incomes since most had no or very little cash income. Unfortunately, the equipment was contaminated with the HIV virus, and the procedures used spread the HIV virus to more than 10,000 farmers who developed AIDS and subsequently died.  They left behind more than 2,000 orphaned children who are now being raised by poor, old-beyond‑their‑years grandparents or other relatives.  It was a tragedy not only for the children, but also for the grandparents who had expected to live with and be supported by their children who are now deceased.  The result is that these grandparents have to both take care of their grandchildren and work in their farm plots in order to provide food for themselves and their orphaned grandchildren.This year, we have expanded to add orphans whose parent died of accidents and of other illnesses who live in equally dire circumstances.

The Chinese charity, Amity Foundation, in partnership with Chinese churches and other charity organizations in Henan Province, has been working to provide support and assistance to these orphans.  Judy Sutterlin, a former member of First Baptist Church, is a missionary to China and acts as liaison to the Amity Foundation.  She administers donations from American Baptist sources for the support of the orphans.  Judy visits the orphans annually to keep abreast of their situation, to make sure they are doing well in school, and to provide emotional support to the children.  Linda Mintener, Bob Jones and others have, at their own expense, visited the orphans supported with our funds.  The Orphan Project is currently supporting 90+ Chinese orphans with these funds raised by our annual flute concert, the sale of CDs, scarves,  donated flutes, and individual sponsorships.We have over 50 individual sponsors who have committed to sponsoring an orphan until he or she graduates from high school and, if the sponsor is willing and the child is able, for continuing on to college.  In exchange, through the Amity Foundation, the sponsors receive a thank you letter from the child, photos, and school report cards each semester.  Linda and Bob will visit the children again in the summer of 2017.

The current sponsorship cost is $250 per year for a child in kindergarten through 9th grade; $500 for a child in 10th through 12th grades, and $980 for college students.  (We currently have nine in college!)  The above amounts allow a child to stay in the home of a relative and provide the child with funds to pay for the necessary school, dorm, exam and other fees; buy schoolbooks and supplies; have adequate summer and winter clothing; and add protein to their previously limited diet.

Amity Foundation uses 10% of the above fees for their administrative costs.  The remaining 90% goes directly to the orphan and his or her family after the child successfully finishes the school semester.  Since our emphasis is on education, if the child does not finish the semester, they don’t get the money (with a few exceptions in unusual circumstances.)  Payments are made to First Baptist-Madison, so they are currently eligible for a tax deductible, as state and federal laws allow.

If you would be interested in contributing (any amount is appreciated) or in supporting a child, contact Linda Mintener, or 608/231-1680.  We have photos and information on each available child.  CDs of the annual concerts are also available for $15 or $20, with all the sales receipts going to the Orphans Project.

The orphan's bedroom

The orphan’s bedroom

Judy, Linda, and Bob visiting with orphans in Henan Province.

Judy, Linda, and Bob visiting with orphans in Henan Province.

A typical village home.

A typical village home.

Judy and Linda visiting another of the orphans this project supports.

Judy and Linda visiting another
of the orphans this project supports.

The kitchen in a typical orphan home.

The kitchen in an orphan home.

Their water supply

Their water supply

Listen to a talk given by Linda Mintener on the Chinese Orphans project in October, 2017:
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