Chinese Red Cross, Belt and Road Initiative help sick Afghan children

Updated 2018-04-26 17:39:01 Xinhua

Zainab's favorite toy is a 24-color set of drawing pens, which she uses to draw a picture of the nurse who took care of her.

Zainab is a three-year-old girl from Afghanistan with severe heart disease.

The pen set was given to her by the staff from the Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF).

Along with a further 24 Afghan children suffering from congenital heart disease, Zainab arrived in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to receive surgery under program of the Belt and Road Fraternity Fund (BRFF) called the "Angels Tour."

Under the program launched last year, the Chinese Red Cross foreign aid medical team aims to take 100 Afghan children suffering from congenital heart disease to China for free surgery by 2018.

Zainab and the other Afghan children with congenital heart disease all bravely received injections without crying, according to Zhang Huina, the nurse Zainab drew when she was at the Xinjiang Medical University hospital.

Zhang is one of the most popular nurses among the children.

"Since most of the children came to China with only their fathers, the nurses and doctors play a 'mother' role taking care of them as they missed their real ones," said Muyassar, another nurse.

Established by the CRCF in 2017, the BRFF launched a series of projects including the Angels Tour which covered 16 countries along the Belt and Road countries and regions.

Without the Angels Tour, the children would have only lived for another two or three years, according Xu Jing, an employee with CRCF.

"Zainab is like my second life, and her health is the most important thing for me," said Rajab, Zainab's father.

Among the 25 children, seven have received successful surgery and gone back to Afghanistan. The rest of children are healthy and stable.

Zainab is delighted as her two wishes will both come true soon, to return to school and to play with friends.

"I'll never have to worry about falling unconscious while playing with them," she said.

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