Apply to Join
Jul 23, 2020

Caring for Orphaned Children During the Pandemic

Keeping kids happy during tough times.
Keeping kids happy during tough times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has left those living in adversity, particularly children, increasingly vulnerable. But, thanks to your continued support, we have been able to keep implementing the OneSky Approach to working with China’s orphaned children, despite these challenging times. Read on, to find out more about our work with abandoned children in China …

OneSky’s work in China’s state-run orphanages is designed to help abandoned children — who lose about one month of growth for every three months in institutional care — not only survive but thrive, by training child welfare workers how to provide consistent family-like nurturing care and early education. The model offers a comprehensive template for best practice caregiving from the national policy level down to personalized guidance for addressing the challenges faced by each small child.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our global supporters, we have been able to keep our programs running and our staff employed since the outbreak of the virus.

In February, we appealed for support as Covid-19 took hold in China. Because of your swift response we delivered 313,500 masks, 35,000 pairs of gloves and 521 barrels of disinfectant to orphanages across China.

None of this would have been possible without the support of our global donors. To date, your kindness and belief in our vision have enabled 210,067 children to receive transformative love and care and 58,501 caregivers to be trained.

Besides supporting the operations of national Model Centers, through our senior training team, we offer ongoing training and guidance for orphanage staff and administrators across the country. We also run an active, national online learning community, 1jiaren.org, that connects caregivers all over China and provides online education for professional growth.

We are working just as hard as we always have to ensure that institutionalized children all over China have a loving adult in their daily lives. These efforts include supporting Model Centers and Seed Centers where, through our Chinese sister organization, Chunhui Children, we help smaller orphanages create programs of their own.

 

Thank you again for your continued support! To read more stories about the children we serve, click here.

In it, together!
In it, together!
Jul 13, 2020

The Coronavirus Silver Lining

Quality family time is a rare treat.
Quality family time is a rare treat.

For many children in China’s rural provinces, Lunar New Year celebrations are the only time they get to see their parents.

With villages often decimated by adults leaving to work in cities, children are usually left with grandparents whose age and ill health can mean they struggle to cope with raising young children.

For millions of children in urban and rural China, this Lunar New Year brought news of the coronavirus (COVID-19). While children were least affected, it dominated conversations and news updates. It was hard for children not to be scared.

But there has also been a silver lining. Mom and Dad were home. There for hugs and games and stories – for week after week after week

Now, China’s factories are slowly going back to work but most had been closed for extended periods as part of a nationwide effort to stem COVID-19 outbreaks.

For 4-year-old Huihui, this unusual time has brought mixed emotions. She is afraid of the coronavirus but happy her parents are home.

However, that has brought its own challenges. How do inexperienced parents re-engage with their children and keep them entertained for so long without mixing with friends?

Thankfully, advice has been available from OneSky Family Mentors. They have provided ideas and links to parent-child online games. A picture book called Coronavirus Boasting, drawn by a local girl and shared via phones, has also helped mom/daughter discussions.

“The book helped me explain that although the coronavirus is very fierce, it is not so terrible,” shared Huihui’s grateful mom. “As long as we stay at home, do not go out, pay attention to hygiene and protect ourselves, the virus cannot do us any harm.

“I’ve told Huihui that we can also do exercises to strengthen our immunity so that we are not afraid of the coronavirus.”

In the weeks since New Year, playing indoors has become normal to Huihui.

Alongside learning about the importance of handwashing and wearing her mask, she’s also learned origami, helps with housework and prepares the vegetables for immune-boosting meals.

Meanwhile, her dad has been in charge of games. For him this time with his daughter has been bittersweet.

“Although we cannot go out to work, which has brought great financial pressure to our family, we are more aware of the importance of our role in Huihui’s childhood. We have spent so much time with her. Long enough to see her grow a little and witness her happiness. It makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

To read more updates about work on behalf of vulnerable children, be sure to go to our story website page.

 

Being together eases anxiety.
Being together eases anxiety.
Jun 16, 2020

For the Love of Children: Hoa's Caregiving Journey

Now, Hoa takes pride in her work.
Now, Hoa takes pride in her work.

In Vietnam, all of OneSky’s trained home-based caregivers share something in common: their love of working with children. Each has their own unique story to tell of how they began their career. But Hoa’s journey of following her passion and working with kids has been harder than most …

Hoa, now 48, was born into a life filled with challenges.

She came from a family of five children living in Vietnam. Her father died when she was just a toddler and her youngest sibling was a baby. When she was only 7-years-old she left her impoverished, crowded home and began babysitting for other families in exchange for food and a place to sleep.

She had experience as a babysitter from looking after her own sisters. That was how she grew up 41 years ago, after the Vietnam War had just ended and the country was struggling with extreme poverty.

She can’t even remember how many families she had lived with. She recalled that her mother was always vaguely aware of where she was, but, as a single working mom raising five children, she didn’t have the energy to care for her more.

Hoa worked at the market buying and selling clothes or fruit. At 15 she had been doing this for almost five years when she met the couple who would later become her foster parents. They wanted to foster her since they had no children of their own. That was the first time she had a real family.

She still remembers when her foster parents had their first baby. While they were overjoyed, Hoa became insecure, thinking that her foster parents would no longer love her. She even made a plan — to escape far away, perhaps to a foreign country. But when she met the child, who was born premature and weighed only 1 kg, her heart melted. Hoa, by then an experienced caregiver, decided to stay and help.

She also continued to trade at the market and got married at the age of 21. She had two children, but unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out. She became a single mom just like her own mother.

When Hoa was 27 years old, she met Toan, her current husband by chance at a restaurant she was working at. Hoa was very hesitant at first, since he was 20 years older, but his love and gentle heart persuaded her to marry him. The couple worked and saved hard, and finally managed to buy a house in Da Nang City Center.

For the first time, Hoa felt like she had finally settled down. However, trials and difficulties were around the corner, as the couple went bankrupt after a disastrous business decision. The family sold their house to pay off all the debts, and had to move to Hoa Khanh industrial zone due to the lower rent and living costs.

At the age of 40, Hoa had no job, no house, and felt like she had no hope. She was despondent, and at her lowest point, even considering taking her own life. However, looking at her children, she knew she needed to soldier on and continue for their sake. She started to look for jobs in cafes, restaurants and factories. But no one would hire her, due to her age, and the fact that she was illiterate. Her self-esteem was steadily eroding.

Then one day, her neighbor mentioned to her, “I see that you really like children, why don’t you help me by looking after my children while you’re job hunting? I’ll pay you at the end of the month when I get my salary.”

Caring for children was a job that Hoa had done since she was a small girl. She had worked very hard to change her life and do something different. But now it seemed to be the only option.

She started taking children into her own home, and her sister came to help out. The neighbors would leave their kids with her and pick them up in the evening after work. There was no paperwork or commitment. Although Hoa didn’t think she wanted to go back to caregiving, she discovered that it was a natural fit and what she really enjoyed doing. Over time, the number of children at Hoa’s care center increased. From just one or two children at first, now Hoa and her sister take care of 14 toddlers, all under 3-years-old.

One day, Hoa received a letter from the Department of Education and Training, inviting her to a OneSky Home-based Care Training Course. When her husband read the letter to her, she couldn’t hold back her tears. That was the first time she had ever had an opportunity to attend a class. When she was growing up, children were not required to attend school. At the time, though just a child, she was too busy earning a living.

At first, being so nervous and lacking confidence, she refused to attend the training. However, her husband held her hand and said: “Don’t worry, I’ll be with you in this new journey. I’ll take you to the classroom and wait for you. I’ll read for you when you can’t read. When you learn, we’ll learn together.”

Soon after, OneSky’s Education Specialist also visited Hoa at home and encouraged her, giving her confidence that she could do well in the classes, even without knowing how to read and write.

The first time Hoa sat in that classroom was the first time in her life she had ever taken learning seriously. She was very worried, but when she met the OneSky trainers she gained confidence to continue. And soon her fellow classmates became her friends outside the classroom.

Throughout the course of 10 months, her husband took her to the Early Learning Center (ELC) in the evening and waited outside when she was attending the training. Hoa turned out to have an excellent memory, in spite of not being able to write. She memorized what the teachers said in the classroom, and as soon as she came home she would tell her husband what she had learned, and he would take notes for her.

Apart from bi-weekly classes, the training program also provided hands-on training in the OneSky Approach through visits to home-based care centers. Now her OneSky trainer, pays regular visits to Hoa’s home to review all the knowledge she learned and to give her guidance and advice. Furthermore, home-based caregivers also are able to review their knowledge and discuss their questions via 1BigFamily, an educational website run by OneSky, dedicated to home-based caregivers like Hoa. Every evening her husband Toan would sit next to Hoa and read the topics on the website to her. As she answered questions, he typed the answers for her on the website.

“I’ve been caring for children all my life, since I was 5-years-old. But I just used my instinct to do everything,” Hoa said. “I was glad to be in the OneSky training to learn about babies’ brains, practice my skills, and find out how to deal with difficult behavior while keeping calm. I used to think that things like children’s routines or arranging a classroom were time-consuming and unnecessary. But after applying what I’ve learned at OneSky, I’ve realized that it actually made my job much easier and helped the children to learn better.”

The main thing Hoa said the course gave her was a new self-confidence. She became a home-based care provider because for her it was the only way out of poverty. But now, after learning how important early education is, she said: “I feel proud of myself, and the job I do, more than ever before. I want to give the children that I’m caring for a better start than I had. And I want to start learning to read, to show that it’s never too late to learn something new. What matters is trying your best, whatever you do.”

*Thank you for your continued support of the OneSky Approach in Vietnam! To read more stories about the work that OneSky does, please visit the story page on our website.

The children love spending time with Hoa.
The children love spending time with Hoa.
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.