We hope to send many hats to Bethel with our 1 for you, 1 for an orphan
program. Chloe Banks works with Bethel
, and I have admired her work and advocacy for Bethel's children from afar. She happily agreed to answer some of my questions.
Why did you start working at Bethel China / with visually impaired children?
I’m learning that the thing that I want to do with my life is to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. A child who is an orphan or who is born disabled can't say 'I deserve a family’ or ‘I deserve equal access to education’ and so someone has to step in and do it on his or her behalf.
I had absolutely no experience with working with visually impaired children before I started working for Bethel China
! I just wanted to work with an organisation that was involved in orphan care and that would allow me to live in Beijing.
What in your life prepared you for this?
I went to an orphanage in China for the first time when I was 16 with my Dad, who works with International China Concern
. Something clicked in my heart and I loved orphans from that moment. I started studying Chinese and International Development and did camps and programmes where I worked with kids with special needs. When I was offered an opportunity to
work with Bethel, it made perfect sense.
What is your favorite thing about working at Bethel?
My favourite thing about working for Bethel is being a part of an organisation that values, supports and encourages family unity. Our education team meet with parents who have a child with a visual impairment. If we reach the families first and give them the tools to teach and care for their kids, we can stop abandonment before it happens. It's the most important thing we can do in orphan care to make an impact in the long-term. I love living in Beijing and I love my friends and family and community in China. We meet people from all over the world who are doing cool things to impact their communities. I’ve spent my
whole adult life in China – it’s home!
What is one of your favorite experiences of working with Bethel?
It is so hard to narrow it down! I'm going to have to include at least 4 favourite experiences that will stick in my mind forever.
• For the first adoption that I was a part of, my husband and I took the little boy on a train to meet his parents. That was the first time I witnessed a family become a family-it was absolutely beautiful.
• Getting to know parents who are waiting to come and get their kids who they are adopting from China. They have so much love and commitment to their sons and daughters who they haven't met yet. They just know they are a part of their family already.
• Seeing children prove their society wrong by shaking off the label of ‘orphan’ and ‘disabled’. They run marathons, ride bikes, swim, speak 2 languages, get scholarships at school, and ride public transport. When they and their teachers believe they can do it, they truly can do anything.
• Holding a 4 year old boy as he woke up from anaesthetic after eye surgery. I sang to him and he tapped the beat of the song on my hand as he slowly woke up. It was like we were the only 2 people in the world.
There are plenty of difficult decisions and hard things to witness sometimes too, but there is so much hope, goodness and kindness around. I can't help but be encouraged that things will improve when we work together with purpose on behalf of these kids.
What would you tell someone who wants to help change the world?
Sponsor a child
with Bethel China and then share their story! They are not able to share and
advocate for themselves, so it’s important that those who can, do.
If you want to change the world, I believe you need to do it one person at a time. There are lonely, broken people all over the world, including those who live next door. You don't have to move across the world to change it. Get to know people, find out their stories, open your home to someone who needs community or family. Be kind.
Thank you so much Chloe for helping to change the world!
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