I believe in the power and the importance of family. Both as an adoptee and as a young woman of color finding her way through the world, I am reminded everyday that the people behind you often help determine the life in front of you. Back when China was more village than city, life was shaped, supported and defined by the village community. For example, if you got sick, the village doctor would come to your house and prescribe some bitter herbal concoction and your fourth aunt (who wasn’t really your biological aunt) made ginger chicken soup with rock-sized pieces of ginger floating around just to sooth your mysterious headache. This was a time when meal-time meant family time. And family time meant everyone in your immediate and in-immediate circle sat around the dining room table sipping the tea someone had just harvested and shoveling rice into hungry mouths. Just as the village scene I described, I see the YKI community like my village. 

It is a village that I want to build and nurture, and with a little luck, will grow into a village that extends beyond geographical boundaries. In other words, I want the YKI village to be the village for children that wait, adoptees, and adoptive parents alike. We are all driven by one common goal: improving and helping the children in Yunnan province. With the launch of the Play Garden Project, I hope we can all take this small but powerful step in the right direction, together. With every dollar we raise, and every email we send, we are sending a message to the foster village; we are telling them that they are not alone and that their village on the other side of the world has their back. 

So far in 2014, the team has been working diligently on the design for the Play Garden. This June, a few members of the Play Garden team and I will present these plans to the Kunming SWI Director and Foster Care Director in person.. After receiving their feedback and suggestions, we will proceed with gathering more information about the location and layout of the building site. 

In addition to presenting the initial Play Garden plans, the Director of the SWI has requested our help to purchase a large sunshade for a more rural Kunming foster village. This sunshade will cover an open area where the foster kids – most with disabilities – will be able to play and enjoy outdoor activities out of the intense high-altitude sun. Along with the Play Garden plans, we expect this first step will further establish YKI as a committed partner of the SWI and Foster Program in Kunming. To purchase the sunshade, we need to deliver $8,000 to the Kunming SWI.

Despite all of the excitement about engaging the directors of the SWI, let us all stay focused on fundraising. We’re very excited about the team we have assembled, about the relationships we have made in China and about the difference we can make to these children. But in the end, our success is dependent on achieving our fundraising goals.  If you would like to join our team, specifically join as a fundraising volunteer, please feel free to contact me. We need as much help as we can get. I look forward to working with all of you. Go team!

Thank you for your ongoing support,

Fang Lee
President of Yunnan Kids International