Apply to Join
Oct 16, 2018

Little Sister's Loving Family

One big happy family!
One big happy family!

Thank you for your support of our Loving Families Program! For this report, we’d like to share a special video, about “Little Sister” and her loving foster family. Like many abandoned children living in orphanages she was placed with a family in this program. You may read a short overview of her touching story below and view it here via video: https://onesky.org/little-sisters-loving-family/.

 

When Little Sister joined our Loving Families Program, she was an abandoned, frightened 2-year-old orphan. Because of her special needs it was unlikely she’d ever be adopted.

However, our program offered her a second chance at having a family.

After living in an institution adjusting to family life was not easy. When she first met her new foster family, she was acting out and rebellious. Her catch phrase used to be “no.” At first, she was shut down and anxious because she was not used to being part of a family unit with parents and siblings.

But she soon showed small signs of adjusting.

Bit by bit, over time, she truly became part of her family, with caring parents who had gone through special OneSky training to learn all about raising and nurturing orphaned children, and children with special needs.

Now Little Sister is a well-adjusted 5-year-old who has a wonderful sense of belonging, thanks to her foster family.

Our Loving Family Program pairs children like Little Sister with significant special needs with permanent foster families. And, although the program was designed for children deemed “un-adoptable,” one in ten of these kids have turned around so completely that they have been adopted to another “forever family.”

To view more of our video stories about the children we serve, please visit://onesky.org/stories/.

Oct 8, 2018

Xiaoming: A Little Boy with Big Responsibilities

Life is not easy for this little boy.
Life is not easy for this little boy.

Thank you for supporting our village model in rural China! We hope you enjoy this report about a little boy named Xiaoming, who has had to grow up way too soon. His parents are not around, and his aging grandparents have a hard time caring for him. But, thanks to his OneSky trained teachers, he is now getting some extra attention and looks forward to preschool…

Xiaoming is a 5-year-old boy who is short for his age. When Xiaoming first joined OneSky’s preschool, he was timid: while the other children in class talked and laughed, he sat alone quietly and was often sleepy, no doubt because he already had adult responsibilities on his thin shoulders.

Since he was a baby, Xiaoming has been taken care of by his grandmother Fen, who stepped in after his mother abandoned the family because of their poor financial situation. Xiaoming’s dad Dahai is rarely at home because he has to work outside the village to support the family, just as his father, who died of tuberculosis 18 years ago, did.

Sadly, Fen has suffered from serious rheumatic disease for almost three decades—her limbs are completely deformed and it is very difficult for her to walk and get dressed and undressed. Her rheumatic disease has also resulted in other chronic conditions that cost several thousand RMB a month to treat.

At first Fen planned to raise some chicken and ducks to help support the family, but her worsening health meant that she could not get out of bed let alone raise chicken and ducks. Still, she tries to make breakfast and dinner for Xiaoming every day, though recently she had to spend a week in the hospital after she cut her hand accidentally and developed a dangerous infection.

Despite his small stature and young age, Xiaoming volunteered to step in for his grandmother just as she stepped in when his mother left. Xiaoming feeds the chickens and ducks each day after school, helps his grandmother take her medicine, get dressed and undressed, and he also empties her bed pan. Xiaoming’s constant refrain to his grandmother is, “Grandma, please relax. I will take care of you.”

Sometimes Fen’s elder son’s wife helps by giving the family food and washing their clothes, but she recently had major surgery and is still recuperating. In addition, her family’s financial condition is also not good and she has to take care of her own family first. Unsurprisingly, with a sick grandmother and a little boy doing the best he can, the rooms are dirty and messy and the courtyard is messy as well.

Though his daily life is challenging at home, at school, Xiaoming is faring extremely well. After observing Xiaoming’s situation for a period of time and learning about his family issues, his teacher Yan came up with a plan she hoped would result in his becoming as lively as the other children. First, she made sure to play and talk with him often. Then gradually, she guided him to express his ideas and encouraged him to play with other children. The big breakthrough came when Yan learned that Xiaoming loves to paint and is good at it. After learning about his love of painting, she often praised him and encouraged him to draw freely.

All of the teachers at the OneSky preschool pay special attention to Xiaoming as well. After seeing that his school bag was quite old, they gave him a new bag and new pencils and notebooks. They also gave him shoes and clothes that their children had outgrown. The teachers thought these gifts were just trivial things, but Fen did not: “I am so grateful to my grandson’s teachers, who brought things to my home again and again even though it is not their duty. My grandson is very lucky to have such good teachers, who care about him more than his own mother.”

Thanks to the individualized attention he received from teachers who care about him, Xiaoming gradually became more talkative and started to socialize with other children and play games with them. When he encountered difficulties, he asked the teachers for help and took the initiative to express his wishes.

Though he is still only able to come home a few days during busy farming seasons, Dahai makes sure to tell his son how impressed he is with his progress at school and faithfully escorts him to and from school every day he’s home. Like Fen, he also takes every opportunity to thank Xiaoming’s teachers, though his regret about not being able to spend more time with his son also means he can’t help reiterating his plea for them to continue to try to make up for his absence. “I cannot be home for him. Please pay attention to my son as much as possible.”

For more stories about our Village Model, check out this link!

Preschool is a safe place to play!
Preschool is a safe place to play!
Sep 7, 2018

I Have Never Felt So Proud of My Son!

Making mom proud!
Making mom proud!

Thank you for your continued support of children of factory workers in Vietnam. We hope you enjoy this heartwarming story about a determined little boy named Nhat. We look forward to bringing you future reports from our new Factory Model! 

 

When Nhat was born his dad was away working in Da Nang to earn a living, leaving him in his hometown with his mom and his grandparents. Nhat needed extra care because he had congenital ptosis — his drooping eyelids covered a large part of his pupils, which caused vision problems. He was also born with a chest wall deformity that resulted in breathing difficulties and hindered his ability to learn to speak.

After eight months in his village, his mom Hoa decided to take Nhat back to Da Nang, so she could try to find a job in a factory to help support the young family. Unfortunately, as soon as Hoa found a job in a clothing factory, his dad Doan lost his job at the computer factory where he had been working for eight years.

Doan loved staying at home with Nhat for six months because it gave him the time to bond with his son. But the time at home also meant that the whole family was relying on Hoa’s slim income, so Doan couldn’t stop worrying about the future. When Nhat was 14 months old, Doan finally found a new job that meant the couple had to send him to a daycare center.

At the home-based childcare they chose, 30 children sat on little stools in front of a small TV all day in a 30-meter square room with minimal outdoor space. The two untrained caregivers who looked after the children could not pay enough attention to any individual child. The only feedback Nhat’s parents received from the caregivers was how much he ate every day — nothing about his physical, language or social development.

Because the quality of Nhat’s home-based care was typical for Da Nang, it never occurred to his parents that he needed more stimulation, love and responsive care to thrive. Though it seemed normal at the time, thinking back, they realize, “It was more like a place to keep a child alive, rather than a place to nurture and raise a child.”

During the 20 months he stayed at the daycare center, Nhat made minimal progress. At the age of 15 months old he couldn’t crawl. At two and half years old he could barely say any words. Even when he started speaking a few words at the age of three, his pronunciation problems meant it was difficult to understand what he said. He was so shy and introverted, he would cry and scream whenever he met new people.

Because he was falling behind both physically and cognitively, people would often think that Nhat had learning disabilities, which made Hoa uncomfortable taking him out. “Looking at other parents proudly sharing their children’s photos on Facebook, I thought their children seemed to be doing so much better than mine.” Feeling self-pity, Hoa shut herself down, avoided meeting other parents, and never shared photos of her own son.

That all changed when Nhat’s parents decided to enroll him at OneSky’s Early Learning Center (ELC).  At the beginning, Nhat was very quiet, passive, and lacked confidence. Riding a bicycle, standing in the sandpit, or even having other children coming near him would make him cry.

However, Nhat’s teachers carefully observed him and noticed the one thing that made him smile: he could spend hours looking at picture books. His face lit up and he became excited when flipping through the images, especially when they were of animals. The teachers started spending a lot of time sitting with him, reading him picture books and telling him stories.  When his teacher Sa read the names of the animals, his little fingers followed each picture and he tried to repeat each animal’s name.

Slowly, Nhat also started to open up and express his emotions verbally. Although his speech is still hard to understand, Nhat loves telling stories about animals. Sa listens patiently to his stories and never forgets to say words of encouragement. Soon Sa discovered another surprise: Nhat has an incredible memory! From a boy who could barely talk, he now knows more numbers, letters and names of animals than any other child in the classroom.

Nhat’s love for letters and numbers doesn’t stop at school. Every day when Hoa picks him up, Nhat asks her to read loudly every single letter and number on the sign of the ELC at the front gate. “He will not go home until I have read all the letters and numbers to him,” boasts Hoa.  His dad excitedly interjects: “Even in the evening when he’s at home, his only wish is for us to learn letters with him.” Doan brought home a set of alphabet letters from his factory that has become Nhat’s favorite toy.

Nhat has also shown a keen interest in learning English, so his parents are trying to learn English so they can teach him. “Each English word we learn, we try to learn it correctly so we can teach Nha,” says Hoa. One day Hoa mistakenly called a watermelon “waterlemon.” Now every time Nhat sees a watermelon, he cheekily calls it waterlemon just to tease his mother. “We won’t make another English mistake again,” jokes Doan.

To help make ends meet, Doan often takes night shifts from 6pm to 6am at a factory that makes electronics and Hoa sells rice wrapping papers during her 30-minute lunch breaks.  While his parents work hard to save for a brighter future, Nhat’s parents know their son is in good care at the ELC, which is open 12 hours a day, six days a week. After just seven months, Nhat has aleady made an incredible turnaround. The shy little boy not only makes his parents proud, but everyone who sees him happily playing with his friends and greeting visitors confidently. “Seven months ago, I dared not dream that I would ever see him playing and dancing with his friends so confidently. I have never felt so proud of my son,” says Doan.

Learning is fun!
Learning is fun!
 
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.