A Partner for China Care

February 2, 2009

Dear Friends,

It is the start of a new year and I write to you with some exciting news!

China Care is forging a partnership with Half the Sky Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Berkeley, California.

Half the Sky was founded by Jenny Bowen who, like me, had a personal connection to and passion for orphans in China. But, while I witnessed the orphan situation first hand as an outsider, Jenny practically lived it.

In 1997, Jenny and her husband Richard adopted a little girl from a welfare institution in China. The daughter they brought home to love suffered from just about all of the ill effects of institutionalization; she was delayed physically, cognitively, and emotionally. But after only one year with the loving attention of family, she was transformed into a happy and bright little girl.

Jenny thought that if all it took to make a life-changing difference for one small child was love and nurture, she could make a world of difference for thousands languishing in China’s welfare institutions by creating nurturing family-like programs inside orphanages – inside the very place that had damaged her daughter. She founded Half the Sky to do just that. Today, ten years later, the children in Half the Sky programs are thriving and the Chinese government now welcomes Half the Sky in welfare institutions across China.

While Half the Sky was busy working to fix the welfare system from within, I established China Care to rescue children from what was then a broken system. I had witnessed orphans with special needs suffering from neglect in institutions which lacked the tools to care for them. By taking the children out of the system and providing them with medical care and nurturing caretakers, we gave these children the chance for a brighter future.

Why Now?

We believe that this is the perfect time for an alliance with Half the Sky because China is changing. The broken system is gradually being repaired. The government now acknowledges that hugs, kisses and emotional support are as basic to a child’s healthy development as food, shelter, and clothing.

As a result, the welfare system is a much better place than it was when I founded China Care--and there is a detailed plan in place to continue to improve the system in the years ahead. We want to be part of that plan. Over the years, China Care and Half the Sky have both matured into phenomenally effective organizations -- each with its own expertise. By combining forces, we know we can do much more for many more children.

How it Will Work

Half the Sky Foundation will expand its four, nurture-oriented programs to five. Its fifth program will be called The China Care Program at Half the Sky and will implement China Care’s established medical program, providing necessary surgery or medical treatment and pre and post operative care for fragile infants with urgent medical needs.

This medical program will move to a state-of-the-art facility in Beijing where the children will receive superior medical care for as long as they need it. That includes the hospital stay, a doting 24-hour caretaker, and all the essentials necessary to make tiny patients as comfortable as possible (from transportation to and from the hospital to hugs and kisses when they are scared to long-term post-op medical foster care with specially trained parents.) By consolidating our medical care in Beijing, we believe we will be able to operate more effectively and efficiently and as a result provide care to more children.

After the children are given a clean bill of health, China Care will now rely on Half the Sky to assume the continued care and education of our children. We realized early on that in addition to medical care, we also needed to provide a sense of family and even an education for many of these children, who after traumatic first days and weeks of life, had no one to go home to for the love and care essential to the healthy growth of any child, let alone a child with special needs. That family-style care and education has been Half the Sky’s mission for a decade. I am even more confident now that once the children recuperate from their medical procedures, they will be in good hands.

For our children whose special needs preclude them from being adopted, Half the Sky provides permanent foster care by trained and loving foster parents who have committed to taking care of the children until adulthood—so these children will also have a mom and a dad of their own.

Youth Empowerment

One area where we do not overlap with Half the Sky, but that remains an extremely important part of China Care’s mission, is our dedication to empower young people through our China Care Clubs and Volunteer Program.

When I started the first China Care Club at Harvard nearly six years ago, I wanted to give other people like me the opportunity to give of themselves. I wanted them to experience first hand their own ability to touch the lives of children who needed them. Half the Sky has embraced this program and is going to help us expand its reach by referring their young supporters to China Care Clubs.

I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished and excited at the prospect of how much more we can do by partnering with Half the Sky. I encourage you to learn more about Half the Sky Foundation’s programs by visiting their website: www.halfthesky.org.

Finally, I wanted to thank you. Without your help we never could have gotten to this point. Together, we have built an organization to be proud of. Together, we have given child after child a renewed life of possibilities. With your continued support, we look forward to embarking on our next chapter.

My sincere thanks and best wishes,

Matt

Matt Dalio
President & Founder
The China Care Foundation
 


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