Half the Sky Foundation Australia Limited (HTSA) was established in 2009 by a small group of Australians who learned about the plight of orphaned children while working in China and wanted to find a way for the Australian community to help hold up the sky for all children. It has an Australian membership base and is managed by an Australian board of directors. Half the Sky Foundation Australia is a member of the global Half the Sky network, which was established in 1998 by Jenny Bowen, and shares common goals with sister organisations in USA, China, Hong Kong, Canada, UK and the Netherlands.
In partnership with Half the Sky Foundation, Half the Sky Australia supports two major development projects, one at the Changsha Children's Welfare Institution in Hunan Province, and one at the Kunming Social Welfare Institution in Yunnan Province. Changsha and Kunming serve as Model Children's Centres for their provinces, enabling Half the Sky to train orphanage directors and staff from welfare institutions throughout Hunan and Yunnan Province, as part of the Rainbow Programme.
When Half the Sky was founded in 1998 by Jenny Bowen, it was named after the Chinese adage “Women hold up half the sky” because the vast majority of healthy abandoned children were girls. Today, orphanage populations have changed somewhat, but it is still Half the Sky's goal to help orphaned children hold up their half of the sky.
Yes, Half the Sky is committed to bettering the lives of all children who live in China's welfare institutions, regardless of gender.
Orphaned children are entitled to receive basic medical care through their home institution or local hospitals. When needs are more serious and require surgery, help is usually available locally through the Tomorrow Plan, which is administered by the Chinese government. Many of the most complicated cases, requiring complex surgery or multiple treatments, receive pre and post-operative treatment and nurturing care through the Chunhui China Care Home in Beijing. In these instances, the China Care Medical Director arranges and monitors a treatment plan for the child.
Half the Sky works all over China and through the Rainbow Programme is helping to train every child welfare worker in the nation. Half the Sky Australia supports Half the Sky's Model Children's Centres in Changsha, Hunan, and Kunming, Yunnan. Here is a map that shows Half the Sky's reach in China and Half the Sky Australia's crucial support in Hunan and Yunnan provinces.
Yes. In recent years, the numbers of children in China’s welfare institutions who have physical and developmental special needs have increased dramatically. Half the Sky believes that all children have potential and that children with severe special needs may thrive when they are given the nurturing care that is at the heart of all its work, and when they are integrated into activities with other children.
There is nothing as good for a child as growing up in a permanent loving family, but, for many reasons, large numbers of orphaned children are institutionalized, either for short or for very long periods. Children can’t wait to receive nurturing care. As long as there are children living in institutions, it is imperative that they receive the nurturing they need for healthy development.
Half the Sky’s approach to nurturing the institutionalized child draws from Italy’s Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, which is focused on helping the “whole child” develop a strong sense of self, love of learning, and individual expression and also incorporates traditional Chinese methods to best prepare children for success in local community schools.
While a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of Half the Sky's programmes is underway, its approach has long been guided by documentation that chronicles developmental growth and helps staff plan future activities and strategies for supporting each child. Activities, drawings, and snippets of conversations are regularly documented in print and video reports by teachers and caregivers; older children keep their own journals and comment on their own progress under a mentor’s guidance.
No, we are not an adoption agency, and we have nothing to do with the adoption process (though many of our most loyal supporters are adoptive parents!). We suggest that prospective adoptive parents network with other families who have already adopted, or contact a local adoption agency.
If you have adopted a child from an institution where Half the Sky has established a Children's Centre, Half the Sky will be happy to check to see if it has any progress reports/photos on file for your daughter or son and, if it does, send you the original Chinese and an English translation of the reports. Just download a progress report request form and send it to Half the Sky after you return from China. Half the Sky is unable to provide any information about a child in its programme or confirm that a child is enrolled in its programme before the adoption is finalized.
Half the Sky and Half the Sky Australia have no access to orphanage records/medical information about your child. We happily send progress reports to adoptive families after the adoption is finalized, but because Half the sky's staff is not medically trained, the progress reports are not medical reports. They are instead short updates (each with a photo) that Half the Sky's caregivers, who are trained to provide nurturing care for institutionalized children, create about the progress of every child in their care several times a year. If your child received medical care at the Chunhui China Care Home, Half the Sky will also provide progress reports and photos of your child's time there.
Half the Sky's Beijing office will try to track the memory book down, though occasionally there are bureaucratic glitches and the institution is unable to find the original or, in rarer cases, a copy. Please contact us for more information.
Sorry, Half the Sky does not have the resources to translate memory books. If you don't read Chinese and don't know anyone who reads Chinese, we suggest that you check with a local college to find someone who can translate it.