In 2002, Guillaume and Delphine Gauvain moved to Beijing, China with one goal: to find and serve a group of people who needed some extra help. After volunteering in orphanages, they decided to open a home for children with visual impairments in December 2003, and Bethel China was born.
Numbers of kids and caregivers grew, and Bethel opened its first school. We moved to a small farm, built homes for the children and expanded the school. With more space, we began to partner with more orphanages and take in more and more children. Love is Blind is the name for Bethel’s foster homes and schools, which includes the Doudian preschool (for children aged 0-7 and older children with multi-disabilities) and the Beijing City Life project (for children 6+ to attend a public school and learn about city life)
Sharing our experiences and expertise across the country appeared in the form of the Bethel Outreach project. Designed in 2009 to train, equip and encourage caregivers of visually impaired children. Bethel’s education team have written high quality training materials and run four training workshops each year for parents and orphanage staff.
Sustainable expansion is one of Bethel’s goals and our model for growth is based on our pilot project with the Zhengzhou Social Welfare Institute, an orphanage in Henan province. The partnership began in 2011 with one classroom for a small group of blind and visually impaired orphans, and has expanded into full time care and education. The Zhengzhou orphanage is now a leading center in the field of early intervention for blind children in China.
In 2012, after raising up a strong leadership team based in China, the Gauvain family moved to the Philippines to launch a Bethel project in a new Asian country.
Bethel in 2015 has 70 children and over 120 employees across our Love is Blind and Outreach projects.
Bethel China’s founders, Guillaume and Delphine Gauvain, share their story, here: