China Care Carnival Raises Funds for Orphan's Surgery

China Carnival
Sora S Tannenbaum

Children enjoyed Chinese-inspired activities like origami, calligraphy, and dragon face paint at a carnival on Sunday, intended to bring adopted Chinese children in the U.S. together for a day of fun while raising money to help a boy in a Chinese orphanage.

The event, which was organized by Harvard China Care, aimed to raise $5,000 to help fund surgery for TianLe, a Chinese orphan suffering from spina bifida, a birth defect that can cause paralysis.

Many Chinese parents, constrained by the country’s one-child policy, abandon daughters and disabled children like TianLe in orphanages, event organizers said.

Many of the rambunctious children who filled the Student Organization Center at Hilles on Sunday were adopted from such orphanages. These children, now living in Cambridge and the surrounding area with their adoptive families, participate in Harvard China Care’s year-round offerings for adopted Chinese children, including a program for 4- to 10-year-olds called Dumplings Playgroup and a mentoring program for teenagers.

Stephanie J. B. O’Neil, the mother of an adopted Chinese girl who participates in the Dumplings Playgroup, said that Harvard China Care gives her daughter an opportunity to connect with her Chinese heritage.

“China Care gives the girls what we can’t,” O’Neil said. “Interacting with people from the same background...helps [our children] connect with their Chinese culture that we don’t really know about.”

Michelle C. Sterk, mother of another Dumpling Playgroup participant, added, “China Care allows them to have a sister program that will support them as they grow up.”

Admission to Sunday’s carnival, which included activities like Twister games and treatments at a makeshift nail salon, was free, but the event raised money through the sale of raffle tickets and t-shirts. Attendees were also encouraged to give donations to help fund TianLe’s surgery.

Student groups, including the Asian American Dance Troupe, Din & Tonics, Magicians’ Society, and Wushu, gave volunteer performances at the carnival.