Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Half the Sky's Children's Earthquake Fund

Many people have asked me if the horrible earthquake in China (and strong aftershocks) are near where my 3 girls were adopted. No - they are from Jiangxi province, which is in the southeast part of China. The earthquake is in Sichuan and Chongqing. This is in the southwest part of China.

Here is a map (for Americans - think of provinces as states):

You can see my girls' province (Jiangxi) (roughly pronounced "gee yong she" only faster and as two syllables. Hard for me to describe.) down on the right (pink) and the provinces of Hubei (roughly "who bay") and Hunan (roughly "who nan") between Jiangxi and the earthquake province.

I was going to also post a photo from the news feeds of the earthquake, but my heart cannot take looking at those photos. There is such destruction. Such loss and suffering. I cannot bear it. A large part of my heart remains in China, and I will always feel "at home" there.

If you are looking for a way to help the people located in the earthquake area, I can highly recommend the very reputable organization called Half The Sky. Here is a paste of a message that went out to friends of Half The Sky (of which, I am one):

Hello again,

During the past several hours Half the Sky has been working hard to get more information about the children impacted by the Sichuan and Chongqing 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 so.

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 Chengdu 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:
Mianyang, Zitong, 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 institutional care.

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 children.

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 Chongqing affected by the quake, you may donate through our website, http://www.blogger.com/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 I know.

Thank you for caring so much about the children.

with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Want to receive our free Half the Sky newsletter, full of stories and photos, via regular mail? Just go to our website http://www.blogger.com/www.halfthesky.org and click on "Join our Mailing List."

1 comment:

My2Blessings said...

"A large part of my heart remains in China, and I will always feel "at home" there."


As a fellow adoptive mom with a son from China, these words from your latest post echo what I have said many times and what I still feel, 4 years after Luke's homecoming.

Thanks for posting information about the earthquake relief efforts!

Debbie Hard
your Loveland, CO neighbor to the north and Mama to
the AMAZING Luke, age 6
from Nanning, Guangxi Province