…a second chance at childhood
OneSky Stories

FAQS

  • General

    What does OneSky do?

    We design and implement affordable, replicable model programs to help communities and caregivers unlock the vast hidden potential of the world’s most vulnerable young children. We also provide ongoing training, guidance and support for individuals, communities and governments while they take our models to scale.

    How did OneSky develop its approach to child development?

    OneSky’s approach to nurturing children draws from the Reggio Emilia early education philosophy, which focuses on helping each child develop a strong sense of self, love of learning, and individual expression. We also incorporate local educational practices to prepare children for success in community schools.

    Why did you change your name from Half the Sky?

    When Half the Sky was founded in 1998, 95% of the healthy children in Chinese orphanages were girls so our name, taken from the adage “Women hold up half the sky,” wonderfully matched our mission. Today, we have programs for children living in impoverished rural villages as well as children living in orphanages and the number of girls and boys in our programs is far more balanced.

    How did you choose the name OneSky?

    OneSky for all children reflects what we’ve learned over nearly two decades: that the needs of young children are universal and that if we reach at-risk children early enough, we can give them a second chance at a bright future.

    Will OneSky be expanding to other countries?

    Because we’ve learned over the years that the needs of young children are universal, our programs can be adapted to meet challenges in diverse situations wherever young children live in adversity. Funding permitting, we will be bringing our transformative models to at-risk children in other countries.

    Can I specify that my donations to OneSky go to programs in China?

    Yes, you can designate that your gifts be for a specific country.

    Are international entities also called OneSky?

    Half the Sky Australia, Half the Sky Canada, Half the Sky Netherlands have retained those names for now. Their importance as part of our OneSky global community remains unchanged. When you support them, you are supporting our mission to bring hope into the lives of children the world forgot.

  • Programs for children in orphanages

    How does OneSky help children in orphanages?

    OneSky’s Model for Children in Orphanages is designed to help 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.

    Read more about the OneSky Model for Children in Orphanages.

    What is the status of your work in Chinese orphanages?

    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, Seed Centers where, through our Chinese sister organization, Chunhui Children, we help smaller orphanages create programs of their own, and our ongoing effort (announced in 2010) to help orphanages take on the responsibility for the funding and operations of their programs.

    When the Chinese take over funding for centers OneSky established, what role does OneSky play?

    Besides supporting the operations of national model centers, through our senior training team, we offer ongoing training and guidance for orphanage staff and administrators. In addition, OneSky runs an active, national online learning community, 1jiaren.org, that connects caregivers all over China and provides online education for professional growth.

    How long will you continue your work in Chinese orphanages?

    We will continue to work in China for as long as we are needed.

    Do you provide medical care for children living in Chinese orphanages?

    The government provides medical care for the children through the institutions, local hospitals and the Tomorrow Plan. Some children who need specialized medical care receive pre and post-treatment nurturing care at our Chinese sister organization’s Chunhui China Care Home in Beijing.

    How can I support your work at the orphanage where my child once lived?

    If OneSky supports a national model center at your child’s orphanage, you can target a donation of any size to that orphanage. Simply Contact Us to talk about directing your donation to a specific orphanage. If OneSky does not operate a program in your child’s orphanage, we suggest that you earmark your donation for the national training plan, a cooperative effort with the Chinese government that is enabling OneSky to train child welfare workers all over China.

    We are planning a trip to China—can we visit an orphanage?

    We are unable to arrange for visits. Many of our supporters do visit orphanages but they arrange permission for those visits through homeland tour travel agents or by contacting the orphanages themselves to arrange permission.

    Can you help me adopt a child from China?

    No, OneSky is not an adoption agency, and we have nothing to do with the adoption process.

    I am adopting a child from an orphanage where you established programs. Do you have any information about my child?

    Once you have returned home with your child, we will be happy to check to see if we have any progress reports/photos on file and, if we do, send you the original Chinese and an English translation of the reports. Just download a Progress Report Request Form and send it to us. We are unable to provide any information about a child in our program or confirm that a child is enrolled in our program before the adoption is finalized.

    Can you connect me with my child’s caregiver?

    We do not facilitate communication directly between orphanage staff/caregivers and families. This falls outside of our mission because we focus on training our caregivers to provide care for children still waiting, and this consumes all of their time. However, we are happy to provide this list of mailing addresses for orphanages where we have run programs, should you wish to contact them directly.

  • Programs for children in villages

    How does OneSky help children in remote rural villages?

    OneSky’s Model for Children in Villages offers a scalable, low-cost model for mitigating the damage to China’s “economic orphans,” children left without nurturing care during their most critical early years while their parents work in faraway cities and industrial areas. Our work also actively engages those adults who remain in the villages to help care for the children left behind – a critical step toward healing rural communities that are disintegrating because of the loss of their young workers.

    Read more about the OneSky’s Model for Children in Villages.

    What programs do you run in villages?

    We provide family skills training, establish Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centers with a progressive curriculum for children 3-6 years old, and promote community engagement to strengthen disintegrating rural communities.

    Where are the villages?

    All of the villages where we work are located in rural central China; for privacy and security reasons, we do not publicize their exact location.

    How many villages do you work in?

    We are working in 30 rural villages to develop a model that will be replicable and scalable across 680 government-designated “poverty counties.”

    We are planning a trip to China—can we visit a village?

    For privacy and security reasons, we are unable to arrange visits to the villages where we work.

  • Sponsorships

    What is the difference between sponsoring a child in an orphanage or a village?

    The children in our orphanage programs are abandoned children living in government-run institutions. The children in our village programs are China’s “economic orphans,” whose parents had to leave them behind in impoverished rural villages in order to find work in faraway cities.

    How do you protect the security and privacy of the children in your sponsorship program?

    OneSky protects the children’s security and privacy by keeping their last names, specific locations, or any other information that would compromise the child’s privacy, confidential. We realize the vast majority of our sponsors have good intentions; however the safety of the children always comes first.

    Can I post photos of my sponsored child on the internet/social media?

    Because our goal is to protect the children’s privacy, we ask that you not post photos of the children.

    Can I contact my sponsored child directly?

    Our sponsors can send short notes to their sponsored child. In order to protect every child’s safety and privacy, those communications are exclusively facilitated through OneSky, which is why we include mailing labels for our in-country administrative office in your welcome kit, for you to use when you wish to send a note to your sponsored child.

    Can I send a gift to my sponsored child?

    Yes, you can send small, inexpensive gifts that fit flat in an envelope no larger than 6” x 9”, (156 x 235mm) using the mailing label included in your welcome kit. Children appreciate:

    -Postcards or stationary

    -Stickers

    -Coloring books

    -Small picture books

    -Photos

    -Maps or posters

    -Hair ribbons, barrettes, or combs

    These types of gifts are not usually subject to customs duties, and most importantly, are easily shared.

    Can I visit my sponsored child?

    Because of our commitment to protecting the privacy and safety of every child, OneSky does not facilitate or encourage visits by sponsors. We strive to provide consistent family-like nurturing care and train our staff to develop deep emotional bonds with the children. It is important for children to be surrounded by familiar, caring individuals, and your contributions make that care possible.

    How will my sponsorship donation be used?

    We strive to create lasting change for your sponsored child and his/her community by partnering to implement affordable, replicable models that train caregivers – parents, grandparents, nannies, teachers, guardians – to provide the simple loving, responsive care that is essential to a healthy start in life. In order to reach the greatest number of children in the most cost-effective way, your donation is pooled with those of other sponsors and donors to fund our life-changing programs.

    How often will I receive reports about my sponsored child?

    You will receive four updates a year, two about your sponsored child’s progress that includes an updated photo or one of her/his drawings and two about the program your child is benefitting from.

    Can I adopt an orphaned child in an orphanage where you run programs?

    OneSky is not an adoption agency and does not track the adoption status of the children in the orphanages.

    Can I continue to sponsor the same child when I renew my sponsorship?

    Yes, sponsors continue to sponsor the same child unless the child leaves our program for any reason, including adoption or aging out of our early childhood education programs.

    What happens when my child leaves OneSky’s program?

    If your sponsored child transitions out of our program, OneSky will transfer your sponsorship to another child in need of sponsorship so you can continue to make a lasting, positive impact. Transferring your sponsorship is critical to OneSky’s ongoing work, allowing us to reach as many children as possible. While it is difficult to say goodbye, please know that because of your generosity your sponsored child and her/his peers have the chance for a brighter future.

    Can I request a child from a specific province?

    In order to streamline giving all sponsored children access to our programs, we cannot accept requests for a child from a specific province; we assign the children randomly. Sponsors can choose the program the child is enrolled in: orphanage or village.

    How long does my sponsorship last?

    Sponsorship is a voluntary, ongoing contribution. Many sponsors have supported our work for over 15 years.

    What if I would like to donate by check?

    You can fill out our donation form and mail it back to us, or if you’d like us to send you our donation form, please email us or call +1-510-525-3377.

    More questions?

    Please email us at sponsor@onesky.org.

  • Donations

    How can I help OneSky?

    Visit our Count Me In! page to see the many ways you can help OneSky.

    How can I donate by check?

    You can fill out our donation form and mail it back to us with a check made out to OneSky (or Half the Sky, which still works!). If you would like us to send you our donation form, please email or call us at 1-510-525-3377.

    Can I wire a donation to OneSky?

    Yes. Please email us or call 1-510-525-3377 for details. Because our banks charge at least USD 30 to convert these donations to USD or HKD, please make sure your gift covers that charge. You will receive a US or HK tax receipt for your donation.

    Can I make a donation or set up a sponsorship in honor of a friend or family member?

    Yes. Please provide your honoree’s name and email address, and let us know the mailing address where the acknowledgement card and/or sponsorship package should be sent. If you want to receive the card and/or sponsorship package at your home address so that you can deliver the gift in person, please let us know.

    Are the products we buy in your online store tax deductible?

    Because all proceeds from the sale of merchandise go to support our programs, a portion of their purchase price is tax-deductible in the United States. Please visit our store for specifics. All donors should also, of course, consult with their tax professionals.

    I don’t live in the United States. How can I donate to OneSky?

    Our donation page allows you to change the currency in which you wish to give. Or Contact Us for more details on how you can donate from your country.

    Are general donations and sponsorship donations tax deductible?

    Donations are tax deductible in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Donors living in countries where OneSky/Half the Sky cannot provide a tax receipt can make a gift in any currency by sending a check to OneSky’s office in the United States or Hong Kong. Because our banks charge at least USD 30 to convert these donations to USD or HKD, please make sure your gift covers that charge. You will receive a US or HK tax receipt for your donation.

    Can I send clothing or toys to OneSky for the children?

    OneSky does not collect toys or clothing. Our centers are initially well stocked with toys, books and music carefully chosen by our child development experts and when the centers need refurbishing we work with our local partners to restock them.

  • Financials

    Are your financials audited independently?

    Yes, our financials are audited every year by an independent auditor and are included in our Annual Report. For further information, please visit our Financials Page.

    What percentage of your total budget goes toward administrative costs?

    We strive to limit our combined administrative and fundraising costs to less than 20 percent of our operating budget. Non-programs costs in excess of 25 percent are considered excessive by most evaluating agencies.

  • Volunteers

    My children want to help OneSky. How can children help?

    Your children can sponsor a child in an orphanage or a village or they can create their own fundraising campaigns — lemonade stands, bake sales, birthdays of presents for their birthdays or on holidays, and organizing book sales at their schools. Sign up to download our fundraising toolkit and get started, or email volunteers@onesky.org.

    Do you have any volunteer opportunities?

    There are many ways you can help OneSky! You can donate your time and skills in many ways. Visit our Count Me In! page to learn more.

    1) Sign up to receive our updates and stories on our contact page.

    2) Follow our work on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and share stories of kids growing strong.

    3) Donate your birthday or other special occasion, or use your talents to bake, sing, dance or anything else you like to do to raise funds for the kids.

    4) Are you a student? Join our global network of Students for OneSky. Sign up for updates to download our Students for OneSky Handbook and get started, or email volunteers@onesky.org.

    I am a high school/college student. How can I help?

    You can join our global network of student volunteers, who have helped us bring brighter futures to thousands of orphaned and neglected children by educating, fundraising, mentoring and more! Sign up for updates to download our Students for OneSky Handbook and get started, or email volunteers@onesky.org.

    Each year, we also plan a special volunteer trip to China for a limited number of club members. For additional trip information, please download the Student Volunteer Trip Information Packet at http://bit.ly/volunteer-trip.