Every year, Sunshine Foundation provides physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services to hundreds of burn survivors across Taiwan. Many are small children and we call them our Little Sunshines. Over the years, we have accompanied this group of children through the painful process of rehabilitation. Apart from using play therapy and psychological counseling to help them deal with the trauma of their injury, we also organize drawing classes to encourage children to express their emotions through their creations.
Hsiao-He was 3 years old when she and her parents sustained burn injuries during a gas explosion in a restaurant. Because her burn injury was mostly on her face, Hsiao-He had to wear a pressure garment mask that was hot and uncomfortable. Every day, showering, wound care and putting on pressure garments was an ordeal that could take up to 3 hours. The injury left Hsiao-He traumatized, she would recoil at the sight of hot water. She also resented the fact that her hair had to be kept short to facilitate the harvest of her scalp for skin graft surgery. And when she went out with her family, the stares and rude comments of strangers about her appearance not only made her close-up on herself, but also hurt the feelings of her parents.
Hsiao-He is now 6 years old and has been undergoing physical rehabilitation and play therapy at Sunshine Foundation. She has also been taking part in Sunshine's drawing activities for burned children and children with facial disfigurement. These drawing activities bring together children aged between 5 and 12 years old. The idea is to let children express their feelings through drawing and painting, and encourage them not to be confined by their different appearance, but instead cultivate diverse interests. Sunshine encourages children to continue to create and hopes to build their confidence by organizing picture exhibitions and an awards ceremony.
Sunshine provides comprehensive services to burned children. Apart from physical rehabilitation, we also use play therapy and other group activities to help children deal with the trauma of burns, but also rebuild their self-confidence. We also offer financial aid for some medical and rehabilitation treatments, as well as to cover transportation costs. And finally, as children get ready to return to school, we offer school re-entry services to work with the child, the family and the school to facilitate school re-entry process. Sunshine's social worker works with the child to prepare him or her for life in the classroom, and also organizes (upon the request of the child and parents or school) activities in the school to raise awareness towards burn prevention and acceptance towards people with facial disfigurement.
Hsiao-He is now more comfortable around her peers and laughs more. Her drawing is titled "Waiting for my hair to grow long." It expresses her simple wish of a normal childhood. Thanks to the support of donors like you, many more children like Hsiao-He can benefit from Sunshine's service and dream about their future, happily and confidently.