OneSky (formerly Half the Sky) was created in 1998 to improve conditions for the many thousands of abandoned baby girls then languishing in China’s welfare institutions.
By training caregivers, teachers, and foster parents to provide the nurturing care that is crucial for healthy development, OneSky has transformed the lives of more than 100,000 institutionalized children, and in partnership with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, has further embarked on an initiative to train every child welfare worker in the country.
In 2015, OneSky launched a project dedicated to transforming the lives and futures of 23 million young children who are left behind in rural villages when their parents migrate away to pursue the “China Dream.”
In four villages at first, and then in an additional 30 villages next year, they are offering “family skills” training to parents and grandparents, early childhood programs for children from birth to age six, and a new village engagement program to try to help re-energize these now disintegrating rural communities in order to provide a nurturing home for the children.
Institutionalization has devastating effects on children.
Half the Sky aims to train all Chinese child welfare workers to provide family-like, nurturing care to children in state-run orphanages.
Jenny Bowen's experience with her own adopted daughters fired her commitment to provide nurturing care to all Chinese orphans.
4,368 caregivers from 324 institutions impacting 21,000 children have been trained in China's Rainbow Program.
Transform state-run orphan care centers to places where every child is given the nurturing and developmental support to prevent the debilitating effects of institutionalization and offer a chance at a bright future.
Local Agencies Adopt the Model
Half the Sky’s long term strategy is that local agencies in China will operate nurturing programs themselves.
Direct services are being transferred to the sister organization in China while Half the Sky continues as a philanthropically supported training organization.
Jenny Bowen and her husband, Richard, adopted a toddler from a Chinese orphanage. The girl they brought home was shut down, vacant, almost inert. Being part of a family changed everything. As her daughter responded to nurturing care and blossomed, so did Jenny’s idea for Half the Sky (a reference to the Chinese proverb, “Women hold up half the sky”). Jenny was convinced that training caregivers, teachers and foster parents to provide the nurturing care crucial for healthy development could transform children’s lives. In partnership with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, and with ChunHui Bo’Ai, its sister organization in China, Half the Sky has embarked on an initiative to train every child welfare worker in the country, combining Chinese best practices with the Italian Reggio-Emilia approach to education, and operating programs for infants and preschoolers, personalized learning for older children, and loving permanent care and guidance for children with disabilities. At the time of the Skoll Award, Half the Sky was providing family-like, nurturing care to thousands of children in 38 state-run orphanages in China. It had been invited by the Chinese government to expand its program to 300 institutions.