Madame Lu is born and raised in Shanghai in a tumultuous time. A time of political turmoil, Japanese occupation, and a Chinese civil war. Madame Lu has endured many hardships in her life, but the one thing she will always have to endure is cerebral palsy (CP).
CP is a condition that affects the muscle coordination and control that limits the functional abilities of the individuals. This causes spasms in the muscles and nerves of the individual and they can not do the simple things that we take for granted, such as using chopsticks, writing, and walking. A lot of the times, there will also be mental and speech disabilities. The worst part is, CP is not curable.
Madame Lu might have been born with CP, but the disability did not prevent her from dreaming and achieving great things. Madame Lu poured out all of her time, resources, and heart into creating Cerecare Wellness Center in Shanghai. This is a facility that offers an alternative therapy approach to assist children with CP to adjust to normal life. By providing them care and education on their developmental level, and to provide teaching in activities of daily living such as eating with utensils and walking. Cerecare also adds an additional therapy of traditional acupressure, which Madame Lu claims to have helped her the most during her therapies. These interventions are provided by a team of kind hearted individuals who are devoted to help the children adjust their lives to society.
Projects Abroad assigned me to volunteer here with Cerecare for my two months here, and it has already been a week since I started working here. The first day was initiated with intensity. I was introduced to the history, facility, and staff of Cerecare and was greeted with a warm welcome. Then I met the children of Cerecare, currently with 15. The children all had either a form of CP or Autism and the age range varied from 5 years old to 18. Each of these children their own different disabilities and unique strengths and weaknesses. The children all were very welcoming and eager to earn more about their new friend, an American 哥哥 (older brother) who for some reason looks Chinese. After spending a week with these children teaching English, performing stretching and physical exercise, doing math, helping them eat, and just spending genuine time with them I had learned a lot about each of these children. Each are all so different in their own way, DuoDuo wants to be a singer, XingXing wants to be an actress, JiangJiang wants to help out with their parent’s shop. Each were all eager to share with me their hobbies and dreams. While they were all different, I knew they all had in common something like Madame Lu, an infinite potential for growth and means to achieve great things. These children are all so bright and has a great future ahead of them.
As for now, it begins my two month adventure at Cerecare and the amazing people I have met along the day. I wake up every morning at 7:00 to catch my bus to work which starts at 8:30 and ends at 5:00 pm. Afterwards I usually spend my day exploring the amazing city of Shanghai. Needless to say, these two months will be some of the bests.