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'Tomorrow Plan' Brings Hope for Disabled Orphans
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A total of 15,000 disabled orphans in China have received surgery and rehabilitation over the past two years, thanks to a program launched by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).

The Tomorrow Plan -- Operations and Rehabilitation for Disabled Orphans, launched in May 2004, has promoted medical care for orphans suffering from congenital heart disease or lordosis.

"By the end of June, it is expected that 20,000 disabled orphans will benefit from the plan," said Dou Yupei, the vice minister with MCA.

"These efforts not only bring health to the disabled orphans, but confidence towards life too," said Dou.

The Ministry planned to raise a total of 600 million yuan (US$74 million) through issuing welfare lotteries, government financial support and public donations to help disabled orphans.

In order to ensure these children enjoy sound medical treatment and services, MCA also appointed eight first-class hospitals to offer surgery for the kids.

Meanwhile, China has about 66,000 orphans and abandoned babies living in various welfare organizations nationwide and about half of them are disabled. According to MCA, the number has kept growing in recent years.

Apart from those who are healthy and were adopted by families, most disabled orphans spend their lives in welfare houses.

"The government and society should shoulder responsibilities and give them more care, to help them recover physically and mentally, and thus to change the whole picture of their lives," said Dou.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2006)

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