Half the Sky's Family Villages provide the loving care of permanent families for children whose special needs leave them with no hope of being adopted and who have no alternative to living their childhoods inside welfare institutions. Half the Sky, in cooperation with local governments, provides comfortable apartments on or adjacent to orphanage grounds to house newly formed families, each with a full-time mother, working dad, and four or five children.
Parents sign on to raise their new charges to adulthood. These projects enable children who will never be adopted to grow up knowing the love of a family while also receiving the support services that the welfare institution and Half the Sky's educational and enrichment programs provide.
Family Village parents stay up at night to nurse sick children and rejoice when a child who showed no interest in food starts eating for the first time. They work hard to help their children find their way in life and in school while also managing the children's special medical needs.
For these parents, the Villages provide the opportunity to raise a second family. Explains one Family Village father: "We have raised our son and we are very proud of him. But then, with no children in our home, I had a hole in my heart. My new children fill that hole."
For the children, their new, loving families help fill a hole in their hearts that no institutionalized care -no matter how well-meaning and loving- can fill. From the moment they proudly say "mom" and "dad" to the day one kindergartener worried that his parents were working too hard, said: "Please take a seat, Mom, and have some rest," the children make it clear that, like children everywhere, they love having parents they can call their own.
To learn more about the Family Village Program, visit Half the Sky's website.