Since 2008, Wendy Ke ’14 and her family have been helping out at an orphanage in Beijing called Sun Village. The unique aspect of this orphanage is that most of the children who live there have parents in jail. The kids range in age from two months to 17 years old.
Every year Wendy and her family send warm blankets and quilts to Sun Village because it does not have heaters, and this past summer, Ke and her mother held a charity party in Beijing that helped raise money that enabled over 300 children visit their parents.
Four years ago when Ke first went to the orphanage, she could feel the “unhappiness” and said that the kids pushed her away. She described – her voice wavering – how hard it is for the children there because, unlike those in other orphanages, they “feel pressure knowing their parents are still in the world and cannot see them.”
But things have changed since that visit. Ke grinned as she explained how the kids “have more smiles on their faces.” And although the older ones still talk about their parents, “they accept us completely.”
When asked why she likes to help others, Ke offered her favorite saying: “If you share your happiness; it doubles; and if you share your sadness, it gets halved.”
In June, 2012, the Deerfield China trip visited Sun Village and stayed there for a few days. They witnessed the way these children live: going to school during the day, doing housework and homework and playing games at night, and working on the orphanage farm on weekends.
The 21 students on the trip learned to play the shuttlecock, a traditional Chinese toy, and participated in the charity party as well to help raise money. They even sang the Deerfield songs and had a fashion show for the kids.
DA student, Daisy Fornengo ’14, said “I had an amazing couple of days at Sun Village. Spending time with the kids and seeing how much they laugh and enjoy the little that they have made us all realize life isn’t about the material things.”