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'Tomorrow Plan' Benefits Disabled Orphans
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South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has launched a "Tomorrow Plan" to provide free operations for the disabled orphans in the region, bringing new hope for these children.

The regional civil affairs department set out this 30-month project, scheduled from July 2004 to December 2006, to raise 66.7 million yuan (US$8 million) for the operation expenses and altogether some 3,300 disabled orphans, aging from one to 18 are expected to benefit from this plan.

The money will come from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the regional financial department and the public welfare funds provided by lottery sales services, said Zhang Tingdeng, the regional civil affairs chief.

As a major underdeveloped region of the country, Guangxi has a relatively large population, whose health conditions are in great need of improvement, especially for children and the people living in the mountainous areas.

Latest statistics from the regional civil affairs department showed, currently, nearly 5,000 orphans and abandoned children live in the region's welfare homes, 2,300 of whom are suffering from physical disabilities and the number will exceed 3,300 by 2006.

The first six-month phase of the plan has started in some cities of Guangxi on a trial basis and the beneficiary will be extended to other areas in 2005, said Zhang, who added the regional government invited medical experts to supervise the operations to ensure success of the plan.

"Handicapped children should be able to enjoy as much protection and care from the society as their peers and we hope the 'Tomorrow Plan' can help them to change their fate and adapt themselves to the society," said Zhang.

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2004)

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