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 over 30,000 caregivers, teachers, and foster parents to provide the nurturing care that is crucial for healthy development, OneSky has directly impacted the lives of more than 160,000 vulnerable children and their Orphanage Model is now China’s standard of care for institutionalized children.
OneSky’s work within child welfare institutions taught them that the needs of young children are universal, regardless of circumstances. This prompted the organization to, in 2015, launch a program dedicated to transforming the lives of the millions of children under the age of six who are left behind in rural villages when their parents migrate to distant cities for work. The OneSky Village Model offers family skills training, early childhood programs, and community engagement activities to help re-energize disintegrating communities in 46 rural villages.
In 2017, OneSky expanded beyond China with the opening of the first Early Learning Center focused on providing nurturing care for the young children of migrant workers in Vietnam as part of a new Factory Model. In coming years, the organization plans to scale their Orphanage, Village and Factory models to countries across Asia.
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.
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.