During the past several hours Half the Sky has been working hard to get
more information about the children impacted by the Sichuan and
earthquake. We know that it is not only children in welfare institutions
who are in trouble. We know that hundreds of children have been separated
from their families, have lost their parents, are hurt, traumatized and in
pain. We know we must help; we have been working to figure how best to do
We have just a little bit of news. There have been hundreds of
aftershocks, one reported to be as strong as 6.0. Children have again
been evacuated from the institution. Relief workers have arrived
in the epicenter, Wenchuan. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (this is the
ministry that HTS works with and also the agency responsible for disaster
relief) has been unable to reach orphanages in the most affected areas:
, Deyang and Aba. There are other welfare institutions in
the affected areas but no others that house children. Each of the four
institutions above houses about 100 children. We believe they will need
help. We will continue to watch and wait.
Many of you have asked us to set up an emergency relief fund, like we did
during the winter storms. Given the nature of this disaster and the fact
that help for children may well be needed outside welfare institutions
(where we have a direct line) we have waited to set up such a fund until
we had absolute assurance that we could put a system in place to deliver
the aid where it is most desperately needed.
Half the Sky takes the designation of a donor-restricted gift seriously –
that’s our promise to you. We understand that when you make an emergency
donation, you put your trust in us. We have spoken very carefully about
this with our colleagues at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. We now have
their promise as well.
In cooperation with the ministry, we have now set up the Half the Sky
Children’s Earthquake Fund. Your donations to the fund will be used to
provide emergency and long-term relief to children affected by the
disaster. Relief will include emergency shelter, food, and medical care
for children orphaned or separated from their families. It will include
temporary or long-term foster care or, when necessary, temporary
We have a commitment from the ministry that we will receive regular
updates on the use of funds and, most important, the well-being of the
Within a few hours we will have available a dedicated donation site. In
the meantime, if you wish to make a gift to aid children in Sichuan and
affected by the quake, you may donate through our website,
www.halfthesky.org. Please note that your gift is for earthquake relief.
I will give you more information as I receive it. Please don’t write to
ask about the situation in specific locations. I will tell you everything
Thank you for caring so much about the children.
Half the Sky Foundation
I was very relieved to read this email from Jenny Bowen…
We have received many emails and calls about the terrible earthquake that struck Sichuan and Chongqing yesterday. We have reached the three orphanages where Half the Sky operates programs: Chengdu, Chongqing and Yibin. All is well. At each place, the children were all evacuated until the tremors passed. The buildings suffered no great damage. And no child was injured. We will reach out to other welfare institutions in the province today. Should we learn of any problems or earthquake-related needs, I’ll post another note. Some of you have also written regarding the EV71 hand-foot-mouth virus that has affected many, particularly young children, in several provinces. The orphanages are taking special precautions and no child in an institution has been reported infected. We are monitoring this also. While Half the Sky exists first and foremost to provide nurturing care and education to orphaned children, we are pleased to be in a position to be the eyes and ears on the ground in China for all of you who have such concern for all aspects of the children’s welfare. We are so grateful to those of you who make our presence in China possible.
Executive Director Half the Sky Foundation