In preparation for the joyous season of Advent, I have been reflecting on Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem. As migrants, they left their home, their friends, their family, and there was no joyous welcome waiting for them at Bethlehem. Finally finding the stable, a light in the darkness, to await the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, must have been so welcome.
Today, the migration journey continues for people around the world. In China, there are many internal migrants, people leaving their villages in the country and making their way to the cities to help build the new, modern day China. Unfortunately for these migrants, there is no warm welcome for them in the cities, only rough living and working near construction sights and no schools for their children.
In 2005, Columban Fr. Warren Kinne, together with friends, began what was to become the You Dao Foundation to help internal migrant workers in China. Through the generous and sacrificial gifts from people like you, the work of You Dao has taken many forms and helped many people. I wish you could see for yourself how much your support means to the migrant families sustained and uplifted by Columban sponsored programs.
Children’s Paradise is a migrant school located in Shanghai. You Dao helps children from poor and needy families to attend this school. You Dao has financially supported summer camp and also organized children from this school to attend various events like the Christmas Party, Sports Day and more. Qingcun is a kindergarten for migrant children which currently has an enrollment of 160 children but has room for a lot of expansion. You Dao helps train the teachers and provides books and toys for the education of the children. You Dao also visits the community to try to find children who cannot attend this kindergarten for financial reasons. For these children, You Dao tries to provide scholarships. The goal of the Baoshan M-Kids Center Project is to provide a safe and friendly environment for school children to spend an hour or two after school participating in arts and crafts, singing, English conversation and group games. You Dao manages this project and provides funding for administrative costs, transportation and special events such as a Christmas Party.
These are just three projects of the many projects that your support makes possible. As more and more people migrate within China, the needs of the migrants increase. Any amount you can share with Fr. Kinne will be used to help better understand the situation of migrant workers and try to respond in appropriate ways to help them contribute to the development of their country and raise the standard of living for themselves and their children.
We can never adequately thank you for your generous help but be assured you have a special place in our Masses and prayers. We thank God for you and others like you who help the people Columban missionaries serve around the world. The world can be a cold, dark and unwelcoming place. Together we can warm it and brighten it with the bright light of Christ.