Founded in 2003, Bethel’s largest project is in Beijing’s Fangshan District. This project is now a family preservation center, focusing on empowering families and preventing children from becoming orphans. With a preschool available to children who need early intervention most, this site focuses mainly on infants, preschoolers and school-age children and setting the foundations for them to grow into independent adults.
We not only provide scholarships to blind children to attend our preschool, we also host trainings and camps for families who are struggling to raise their visually impaired child. As far as we are aware we are the only preschool in China who welcomes children with multiple disabilities.
Our teachers go through an extensive training process in Bethel's unique educational model. The Fangshan center provides orientation and mobility classes that train the children in AMD (Alternative Mobility Device) and how to use a cane to navigate. Additionally, children can learn braille and learn in touch-and-feel classrooms.
Located in the most populated province in China, the Zhengzhou orphanage is one of the largest orphanages with hundreds of children under their care. Bethel’s Zhengzhou site was first piloted in 2011 and is a direct collaboration with the Zhengzhou Children's Welfare Institute. Since then, the program has expanded to 3 classrooms within the orphanage and 2 homes on-site where the VI children stay with a foster family at night. Most of the magic happens in the school, where our trained teachers implement Bethel’s educational model.
There are currently about 35 students in this project that are making incredible progress that was previously thought impossible by the CWI. Opening a center within a state run CWI has not only allowed us to access more children in need, but also influence the quality of care within the orphanage by serving as role models of what these children can achieve with love, care and education.
Bethel established a center within the Jiaozuo Children's Welfare Institute in 2016 with the support of the Asociación de Familias Adoptantes en China (AFAC). With AFAC's sponsorship, we are currently educating and caring for 11 VI children in the CWI in a Bethel classroom.
All of the teachers in our satellite projects are first trained in Bethel's educational model in our Fangshan center before establishing their own classrooms. In the Jiaozuo preschool, our teachers use proven strategies to work with students on overcoming motor and language delays, including teaching sign language and message therapy. Most importantly, Bethel staff pour love into these children. Their progress and amazing transformations have been based on the trust the children place in their caregivers.
Founded in 2016, Bethel's Nanjing center is a collaboration with the Nanjing Children's Welfare Institute to provide early intervention and preschool for blind and VI children within the orphanage. Bethel currently has one classroom with 10 children, who attend our classroom during the day and return to the care of the CWI at night.
Bethel's teachers in Nanjing not only implement Bethel’s successful early intervention techniques, but also are our most creative teachers. The teachers often make their own teaching materials using arts and crafts supplies, such as hand-made touch-and-feel books made out of felt.
Our Nanjing teachers are also trained in massage therapy and give our children daily massages to help them build strength in their legs and overcome their mobility issues. They have enhanced Bethel’s training by infusing their own personal creativity into the curriculum.