Hengyang Vocational Training
Photos (left to right): Harvest time at Hope Farm, Diamond Painting in the Craft Room and the Little Ark Crew hard at work.
The Hengyang Care Center has three vocational training programs: Little Ark, Hope Farm and Craft Shop. Through these programs, we have seen how our young people flourish with joy and confidence as they learn, develop and put their skills to use.
Our Hengyang Vocational Training Program has six teachers who oversee the programs of the Youth Department. The young people who participate in these programs have disabilities but their disabilities don’t hold them back from learning or participating. The Vocational Training programs help the young people find joy, purpose and value in their work.
Hope Farm was built in 2015 and is situated next to our Hengyang Care Center. The gardens are planted on a long strip of land behind the Care Center with the chicken farm about 100 ft away on another slightly elevated slope. The garden is accessible from the ground level via stairs or an entrance from the 2nd floor of the Care Center. An irrigation system and some cement paths were added in 2019 to make farming easier for the workers. The chicken farm was expanded in 2021, raising 300+ free range chickens and three geese to protect the chicken from weasels. Currently seven young people are working on the farm. Three students regularly work from Monday to Friday in the garden and chicken farm. Four or five other young people come to help when there are more chores during planting and harvest season. Two teachers work hands-on, as well as supervising the project.
Hengyang’s Little Ark
Hengyang’s Little Ark has three teachers, one captain and six crew members. Two students finished junior high education and one is receiving special education in a public school. They all have different roles in the Little Ark, such as designing menus, taking orders, preparing food, making deliveries and cleaning up. The Little Ark is wheelchair accessible as two of our team members use wheelchairs for mobility. We installed a heating and cooling system in the Little Ark last year because of the high heat in summer and deep cold in winter.
The Little Ark is located on the grounds of the Care Center and opens for business Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Since the training started, one of the objectives is for the students to develop more independence and learn about teamwork. The students have grown in self-esteem and can operate independently as they develop their potential and abilities. Some have even started to think about what they could do in the future! They have one common goal, “Let’s move the Little Ark into the community, we want to work outside the Welfare Center grounds!”
Hengyang’s Craft Shop
Hengyang’s Craft Shop provides vocational training opportunities for 12 students. They make different craft items like jewelry, beaded decorations and large diamond pictures. Four students also work in the Little Ark or Hope Farm and come to do crafts when their schedule is open. Whenever someone visits the Craft Shop, they can see students beaming with pride showing off their products. Apart from making crafts, their class time also includes music, dance, cooking and physical exercise. Three staff members teach and supervise the students in the Craft Shop.
We are thankful for the staff who lead the Vocational Training Program, helping our youth find and develop their unique skills as they grow into adulthood.
Learn more how you can support the work we do at www.aficc.org