Artist: Deanna Roux
In October 2007, I became interested in the work of Harmony Outreach, a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization that literally saves abandoned babies in China. It’s run by John and Lisa Bentley, an American couple who live in China with their six children. They took a huge leap of faith when they moved from their safe and predictable life to one quite the opposite.
I communicated with them via e-mail and found myself looking at their photos, reading the many articles about their work and even listening to interviews that Lisa has given to a radio show – all to both confirm and understand their work. The title of my first e-mail to Lisa and John was “I want to help.” Soon, I didn’t just want to help – I needed to help.
Sometimes when you gain knowledge, you also gain responsibility. I’ve always had a strong urge to help people who need help. Not people who want help or people who behave like they need help – but people who really have very little means of helping themselves. When I see that in someone, there’s no way I can turn away.
Harmony Outreach is unique among non-profit organizations in China because they serve the often-overlooked people in Inland China by meeting their basic, medical and even emergency needs. Due to the uneven pace of development in China, many humanitarian organizations’ direct their relief efforts to the major developed cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai. In some cases, Harmony is the only outside help villagers see.
Harmony House was established to serve as a family for China’s abandoned and special needs children. Not only do they save lives and provide healing surgeries, they also transform their future through a Three Steps to Hope program: fostering, surgery and/or medical mitigation and ultimately, adoption.
I decided to help by designing and selling a bracelet that symbolizes Chinese adoption. November 12, 2007, the first day the Hope is Not Lost bracelet was listed in FancyFreeMe, my online shop, I sold two. The first week, I sold four. Our goal of selling 30 bracelets was reached before Christmas. And that enabled us to donate more than $750 to Harmony House during the 2007 holiday season. We chose to have the funds go directly to Baby Hope who was in need of heart surgery, but didn’t have the entire cost covered.
Now in 2008-2009, we are sponsoring sweet little Helen who is a student at the school for the deaf. We chose Helen because her name holds a special meaning in our family, and we will continue to support her until she graduates.