Huiling changes Chinese attitude towards NGOs
Teresa Meng Weina and her friends were pioneers in the field of social work in China and first members of a non-governmental social group.
Teresa Weina Meng – founder and president of Chinese NGO Huiling that was awarded the Vittorino Colombo prize on October 20 – has said her commitment towards the mentally disabled, which was inspired by Mother Teresa, changed her life.
In a recent interview to Agenzia Fides, she said it led to her to baptism and taking on the Christian name of Teresa, in homage to the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
When on 1 September, 1985, Huiling (meaning spiritual wisdom), opened its first school for 96 children with mental disabilities, the news had a great social impact and found wide resonance in the media and among local authorities, she recalled.
Teresa Meng Weina and her friends were pioneers in the field of social work in China and first members of a non-governmental social group. Today, after numerous difficulties and obstacles of nearly 30 years, "thanks to the help of the Holy Spirit", Huiling has more than a hundred centres in 13 major cities in China and 300 operators that assist more than a thousand people with disabilities.
Its internet network enables thousands of disabled people to connect with each other every day. Huiling is considered by government authorities the model for Chinese social service and for other NGOs.
"In today's context of China, where a growing number of people fall prey to depression, we continue to have so many requests for assistance - says Teresa Meng Weina. In the future we will further improve our work, with the aim to raise awareness in society about the mentally disabled, to offer a better service to our guests and to support on-going development of Huiling", she said.
Source: Agenzia Fides