Half the Sky
Recent Foolanthropy Articles
All the children who are held and loved will know how to love others...
Spread these virtues in the world. Nothing more need be done.
--Meng Zi c.300BC
All children need to know that someone cares about them. It is as important to healthy human development as food, shelter, and medical care.
But for children in China who have lost their families, such a fundamental human need can seem elusive. Government welfare institutions that house orphaned children are too often crowded and understaffed. Workers have little training and little time.Then who can replace the love of a family in a society whose very heart is the family?
That is the mission of Half the Sky Foundation.
Every day the children enrolled in Half the Sky's programs are proving that institutionalized children can become the happy, curious learners they were meant to be. Half the Sky's trained staff develops deep emotional bonds with the children in their care, the deep emotional bonds that neuroscientists have found are crucial for healthy development.
When RuoJun entered Half the Sky's preschool in Chengdu she was "full of fear and insecurity"; she would sit in the corner, not speaking and not making eye contact with her teachers or the other children. Patiently Half the Sky's staff gave her the hugs, the smiles, the encouragement and the creative projects that sparked her imagination. Gradually, RuoJun came out of her protective shell. She bonded with her teachers, learned to ride a bike with training wheels and learned to interact with her peers, making "many friends."; Today, RuoJun is thriving in primary school where she has won a prize for her artwork and high marks from her teachers who say she is a "student who loves to use her brain and always likes to solve problems."
Since Half the Sky was founded in 1998 by a group of adoptive parents, thousands of children like RuoJun have received the nurturing they need to thrive. Half the Sky now establishes and operates four programs for orphaned children in 30 centers that dot the map of China:
Half the Sky's Baby Sisters Program provides trained nannies who cuddle, sing, and play with their small charges, helping them avoid the problems that are so common in institutionalized children who have been fed and clothed, but not cherished.
Half the Sky's Little Sisters Program offers preschools designed not only to prepare children to succeed in primary school, but also to help develop the "whole child," to help each young learner attain the positive sense of self so often missing in institutionalized children.
Half the Sky's Big Sisters Program provides older children growing up in orphanages with individualized learning opportunities, according to their own interests, talents, and aspirations. Without that help these older children often simply give up on themselves
Half the Sky's Family Village Program provides loving, permanent families for children whose medical and developmental challenges preclude them from finding adoptive families. Instead of facing the probability that they will spend their entire childhood in orphanages, the children live in HTS Family Villages with loving parents who have pledged to take care of them all the way to adulthood.
With the help of its growing, global community of individuals, corporations, and foundations, Half the Sky is providing its four programs at already established centers and is also opening new centers to bring nurturing care to more children in need. Thanks to the generous support of its donors, Half the Sky is working toward its goal of ensuring that every child, no matter how humble her beginnings," is "held and loved," thereby giving her a chance for a bright future.
And in case you were wondering why the words "she," "her," and "sister" are used primarily, it's because "there's an entire generation of orphaned girls due to China's one-child policy," according to Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter and adoptive father of a Half the Sky little girl. "In fact, about 95% of the children in China up for adoption are girls."
Note: Since the Foolanthropy 2006 campaign began, one Half the Sky supporter has made the incredible offer to match the $10,000 should Half the Sky be fortunate enough to win the $10,000 bonus prize given by The Motley Fool to the charity raising the most money. That would mean almost enough money to operate a Half the Sky pre-school for an entire year!