Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives of orphaned children in China. We provide model programs and caregiver training designed to offer loving, family-like care to children of all ages and abilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future..
Jun 6, 2013

ManNi Fights for Her Ability to Walk

ManNi was less than one month old when she was sent to the China Care Home for medical assistance for her club feet. She was chubby and looked healthy, except for her feet which looked as if they had been rotated internally at the ankle. We were happy that ManNi came for treatment at such a young age because without early treatment children with club feet often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

Last summer, the day after her arrival, ManNi was sent to Jishuitan Hospital. After her medical checkups, the doctor made casts for her legs. Usually children require four casts, each one in use for one week. But the number of casts varies depending on an individual child’s special need and because ManNi’s Achilles tendon was particularly tight, she had nine casts. Though it hurts to have casts removed, every time ManNi’s old casts were removed, she didn’t cry. She would lie quietly and cooperate with the nurse who kept praising her by saying, “Good girl.” What a little fighter!

At the China Care Home, ManNi has a regular routine: she eats and sleeps well. She likes small stuffed animals and stares at them. When a toy makes sounds, she listens carefully and stares curiously. She is happy if her nanny is around and talking to her. She babble “en, en” or speaks her own words as if she is chatting with her nanny. When she lies on her back, she can lift her legs and rock them up and down. Even when her legs had casts, she could lift them.

ManNi finished serial casting at the end of last year and then had tenotomy surgery to release her Achilles tendon. After a checkup, the doctor said the outcome of the surgery was quite good andbraces that would help hold her feet in the desired position could be made for her. ManNi started to wear braces in the middle of December and her nanny massaged her feet three times every day according to the doctor’s instructions. She seldom cried. When she was tickled, she kept giggling and two dimples showed on her cheeks.

ManNi is now ten months old. She can hold toys in her hands and shake them. It seems that she is using toys to attract other children, “It’s funny! Come to play with me.” When she feels bored, she looks around and watches what other children are doing. She can make a response when one calls her name. Her sweet smiles can make adults forget all their unhappiness.

The condition of ManNi’s feet has improved greatly with all the treatment and care. Everyone who cares for her feels grateful for her progress. She will have another checkup at the hospital this spring. We all hope that when she grow up, she will be able to walk just like other children.

Mar 8, 2013

YuXia - A Crafty and Energetic Girl

YuXia was 16 months old when she traveled to Beijing to be admitted to the China Care Home.  She is an active girl with big, bright eyes, who was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate. When she arrived, YuXia needed someone to hold her hands to help her walk. After she was taken to the floor mat, she would crawl around and look for toys to play with. If she felt bored, she would throw the toys away and move to her nanny. She would then pull on her nanny’s clothes and climb onto her nanny’s legs until her nanny swept her up in her arms.

 Because YuXia’s age and health condition met the medical criteria, she was sent to the hospital one week after her arrival for the first of two surgeries. YuXia’s nanny also went to hospital to take care of her. After YuXia was released from the hospital, she came back to the China Care Home to recuperate. Most children return their institutions between surgeries, but because YuXia had to travel so far, she stayed and waited for the next surgery at the China Care Home.

 During those six months, YuXia recovered well and soon could walk by herself. Whenever she heard her nickname, “DaXia,” she would turn and look around. When she saw her nanny, she would walk towards her, throw herself into her nanny’s arms or when her nanny squatted down, put her hands on her shoulders. Though she did not speak, her eyes and her actions smiled and talked. If she didn’t know the nanny, she would hide behind her nanny and look shy. Sometimes she could follow her nanny’s instructions to wave goodbye to others.

 YuXia walked faster and more steadily as time went by. She was also enrolled in the China Care Home’s preschool program and had regular classes with the teacher and other toddlers. When the teacher took the children out to the playground, YuXia would run outside happily and play on the swing or the slide. She always had a good time and was always reluctant to go back to the nursery room when it was time to go back inside. Sometimes when she was in the room, she would sneak off to the corridor when she realized her nanny wasn’t paying attention to her. Then her nanny would discover her and chase after her. YuXia would continue to run in the corridor, giggle and look back until she was caught by her nanny. Afterwards, they would go back into the room for activities like playing with jigsaw puzzles, ball games and reading picture books.

 YuXia had her second cleft palate surgery at the end of last year. She spent another month at the China Care Home for post-op care until she was fully recovered. Though YuXia was almost two years old, she could only say a few words like “mama,” “auntie,” “ok,” and “bye.” Her nannies and teacher instructed her to talk every day. If the word was complicated for her to pronounce, she would just look at them and keep silent. But we could read from her facial expressions that she understood a lot. What she had in her mind was much more than what she could express in words. YuXia also helped her nanny do things she was capable of, such as dumping trash, fetching diapers, sorting out toys, etc.  

 During her time here, YuXia got used to the life and people at the China Care Home and our staff here got to know her well.  YuXia was sent back to the institution at the beginning of this year.  YuXia is such a happy and sweet little girl and we all look forward to the day when she can have a forever family.

Dec 11, 2012

ZhenNan Learns to Walk and Loves to Eat

ZhenNan was one year old when he first came to the China Care Home from Ordos welfare institution with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. After two-week pre-operative care at CCH, he was hospitalized for lip repair surgery in early November. The surgery was successful thanks to his stable health condition. The nanny who took care of ZhenNan in hospital said he was a delightful boy and smiled a lot. His bright eyes, long eyelashes, and fair skin left a lasting impression on everyone. He recovered quite well from the surgery and was sent back to the institution in the end of November.

In May of 2012, six months after the lip repair surgery, ZhenNan came back to the China Care Home again as it was time for him to undergo cleft palate surgery. The doctor and nurse checked him and decided he was ready for surgery. Therefore, ZhenNan was sent to hospital a few days after his arrival. After the operation, he was discharged back to CCH and stayed for one and a half months for rehabilitation.

ZhenNan gradually learned to walk, and improved each day.  After a while, walking around the activity room couldn’t meet his curiosity any more so he always wanted to go out to play in the corridor or adjacent room. If the nanny agreed, he would become very excited, shouting “mama, mama” and clapping his hands. Whenever someone called his name and said “ZhenNan, come here.” he would walk towards the person and fling himself into his or her arms for a hug. When he saw the camera, he knew to pose and show his sweetest smiles. When people said “bye” to him, he waved his hands, almost as if he were dancing.

ZhenNan liked to play with toy bricks and balls with other children. After he piled up the toy bricks, he pushed them down and babbled “ah, ah”, as if saying, “Look! It’s fun!” When he saw interesting toys on the table, he would go to get them. If he couldn’t reach them, (even while standing on his toes), he would turn around, go to his nanny, and pull her hand to go to the table. He thanked his nanny by hand gestures after she helped him get the toys.

ZhenNan never cried loudly. Even if he was unhappy, he just sobbed or whined. When the nanny told him not to take others’ toys, he would look at his nanny and the toys, and then put them back. ZhenNan had a good appetite and was not particular about food. He kept staring at the food before the nanny fed him. After he began to eat, he looked up to his nanny and narrowed his eyes. It seemed that he enjoyed the food very much.

Once ZhenNan had fully recovered from the surgery, he was sent back to Ordos welfare institution.  We all hope he remains happy in the future, and grows into a healthy child and adult.

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