To honor my beautiful Mom, I decided to donate to a charity that is near and dear to my heart. It is a charity called the Half the Sky foundation that was founded by Jenny and Richard Bowen, adoptive parents of a little girl from southern China. The Bowen’s daughter suffered from severe emotional and developmental delays due to institutionalized life in her orphanage. She was unable to form real connections and was stunted by her lack of attachment and bonding. After receiving the love and constant attention from her adoptive parents, the Bowen’s daughter quickly achieved her milestones and blossomed into a lively toddler.
The Bowen’s wanted to re-create this experience for all institutionalized children in China by providing education in the importance of “family-like care” to children in orphanages. While the orphanages were meeting basic needs such as feeding the children and keeping the children clean, they were unable to provide more individualized one on one care that would allow a child to bond with others. Half the Sky is founded on the belief that every child needs human interaction and that caregivers help stimulate attachment, growth, curiosity, confidence and a child’s sense of how he/she fits in the world.
Half the Sky established its first centers in Changzhou, China, the city where my daughter Li Na lived for the first 13 months of her life. Li Na received assistance from Half the Sky through a “grandmother program” in her orphanage. The program provided Li Na with one on one playtime and bonding with a specially trained woman in the community. I am forever grateful to the Half the Sky foundation and the Bowen family. If you would like to learn more about the foundation, visit halfthesky.org.