Holding up the sky
One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air.
"What are you doing?" asked the elephant.
The hummingbird replied, "I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall.”
The elephant laughed cruelly. “Do you really think,” he said, "that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?”
The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, "Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do.”
– A Chinese Folktale
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.
To that end, Half the Sky Australia joined the international Half the Sky (now OneSky) Network, founded by Jenny Bowen. Half the Sky Australia’s ambition is to support the global OneSky Network in enhancing the lives and prospects of orphaned children in China through development and aid projects undertaken in cooperation with local partners and authorities in China.
In 1997, Jenny and her husband Richard adopted a toddler from a welfare institution in southern China. From that day, they received a harsh, first-hand education about the harmful effects of institutionalizing small children: their little girl suffered from severe delays and, most worrisome, she was emotionally shut down. Vacant. But after just one year of non-stop loving attention and care from her new family, she was transformed. Truly… a butterfly emerged from that lonely cocoon.
How easy it was to make all the difference in the life of one small child!
What if you could do the same for the many children in China who wait for families – and for those who will never be adopted? It was a simple idea. Why not?
And so, in 1998, Half the Sky, named for the Chinese adage, "Women hold up half the sky,"* was born.
And so, in 2009, Half the Sky Australia became another hummingbird in the Half the Sky network, helping to hold up the sky.
*When Half the Sky was founded, it was helping mostly abandoned girls however the issue of child abandonment, both boys and girls, and the reasons behind it today, grow increasingly complex as China develops. The OneSky Network serves all children residing in China's welfare institutions were their projects exist, regardless of gender or the circumstances that brought them there.