Half the Sky Foundation: A second chance for China’s orphans

No Child Should Feel Alone. There are over 800,000 reported orphans in China. These children are fed and sheltered, but not loved. The experience of forming emotional bonds with a caring adult is essential for a child’s healthy development. Deprived of loving attention, they cannot thrive. Half the Sky has worked since 1998 in China to make sure that every child knows her life matters to someone. In partnership with the government and with the support of international organizations and Chinese philanthropists, Half the Sky is changing the face of orphan care in China.


Half the Sky Foundation is an international NGO that is, in partnership with government, changing the face of orphan care in China. Never before in China, have public, private and social sectors come together to, in effect, transform the lives of many millions of disadvantaged and marginalized children.

Before there was Half the Sky, most children in China who had lost their families were fed and sheltered, but not loved. Deprived of loving attention, they could not thrive.

Half the Sky has worked since 1998 to make sure that every child knows her life matters to someone. Step by step, we are helping China to re-imagine its approach to child welfare. To date we have impacted more than 63,000 young lives through an innovative and comprehensive approach:

An infant nurture program – offering stimulation and individual attention to enhance healthy development; a preschool program – offering an innovative child-centered curriculum to prepare children to enter community schools at a level with their peers; a youth services program – preparation for independent living through esteem-building mentorships, vocational training, and university sponsorships; a family village program – providing permanent loving families for children whose developmental and physical challenges make adoption unlikely; and a medical care home – offering medical treatment and pre/post operative nurturing care for babies and toddlers with life-threatening conditions.

Since its founding it 1998, Half the Sky has brought love and hope to more than 60,000 orphaned children.


According to Half the Sky’s government partners, there are almost 800,000 known orphaned children in China. It is safe to assume that another 200,000 live “beneath the radar” — undocumented and anonymous — and cannot be counted.

Some are true orphans. Many more have been abandoned — given up because of grinding poverty, unaffordable medical needs, gender preference, broken families. No matter the reason, the children have one sad thing in common. They have lost their families.

Orphaned and abandoned children become wards of the state. They are registered with the police and then are transferred to live in government-run children’s or social (children and adults together) welfare institutions.

Those who are young and healthy will almost certainly find new families in time. Older children and those who are not typically developing or who have moderate to severe special physical challenges are less likely to be adopted.

While conditions in welfare institutions have improved as China prospers, change comes too slowly for a million lost children who must spend all or part of their childhoods without knowing a parent’s loving touch. Their days are long and empty.


It has always been Half the Sky’s goal to turn all it has created over to the Chinese, to cease funding program operations, and to become an organization solely focused on training and mentoring. As Half the Sky’s government partnership has evolved and deepened, that goal has become increasingly attainable. Today, Half the Sky’s dream for the children has become China’s dream too.

It is gratifying to witness the emergence of the international support, government investment and private Chinese philanthropy that will engrain the changes Half the Sky has worked since 1998 to bring about. With international, government and philanthropists working together, the long-term sustainability of Half the Sky’s fundamental principles of nurturing and responsive care for all children, no matter how humble their beginnings, will be ensured.


Half the Sky’s unique partnership with government has resulted in an unprecedented opportunity to spread our work throughout the country and to ensure its sustainability.


Thanks to the Rainbow Program, a government-NGO partnership funded by JP Morgan Chase Foundation, every caregiver working in Chinese children’s welfare institutions is being trained about the core principle of Half the Sky’s work: Just like children all over the world, orphaned children need one-on-on nurturing care so they too can have a chance for a bright future.

In addition, Half the Sky’s government partners have also make a commitment to open the doors of state welfare institutions nationwide, in order to offer Half the Sky-inspired services to all disadvantaged children.

Half the Sky’s work, which started with two small pilot programs at two institutions, will reach hundreds of thousands of orphaned children and will eventually reach millions of disadvantaged children as well.

Source of funding

Half the Sky is supported by individual, corporate and foundation donors who are committed to improving care for orphaned and disadvantaged children in China.

CHF 6,500 Goal
CHF 4,880 Raised
CHF 20 – CHF 1,000
This project is closed!