Considering the challenges of 2020, the fact that our team can look forward to the Year of the Ox with real confidence shows how well we managed in adversity, writes Wen Zhao, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Chunhui Children (OneSky’s sister organization in China)
Last year, OneSky’s work in China faced daunting scenarios from the outset, beginning at the Lunar New Year with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, our passion, pride, and professionalism meant we were able to face these initial dangers and, as the year progressed, grow in every sense.
The pandemic’s onset afforded many of China’s “left-behind” children living in remote rural villages an unexpected extended period with parents who normally work in cities far from home. Lockdown meant that after moms and dads returned for Lunar New Year break, they were effectively stuck there. However, this silver lining also had its dark cloud in the shape of lost earnings and increased hardship. This year Lunar New Year, ongoing vigilance against the pandemic may mean parents are not able to travel home for family celebrations.
But, against this backdrop of vulnerability and uncertainty, our Village Program enabled 104 local early education teachers to provide services for 7,850 children and their families in 24 remote villages. Those looking after children, often grandparents or siblings filling in for absent parents, benefited from OneSky’s positive parenting training. OneSky Family Mentors provided support to caregivers while organizing Covid-safe community activities to bring village communities closer.
Meanwhile, in China’s cities, OneSky-trained nannies nurtured 3,168 children afflicted with life-threatening diseases back to health through the Chunhui Care Home, which serves as a medical model for orphaned children.
On a more individual level, OneSky’s response in China was characterized by not just a strong team but also the strength and bravery of its people. Like the nannies locked down within orphanages who continued to give everything for children born with nothing.
Meanwhile, our Loving Families Program – which allows children with special needs to enjoy long-term foster homes – saw parents prioritizing care for vulnerable kids while struggling with the wider limitations of lockdown.
Now, as we look to 2021 and the Year of the Ox, we are excited to report that OneSky in China will continue to expand its programs so more disadvantaged children can benefit. As a trusted government partner, we also visit poverty-stricken areas to evaluate the development of children at risk and present intervention plans.
Looking forward, the OneSky Approach in China will continue to help the government bring responsive care and education to even more remote villages. Drawing on the experience of its institution and village programs, we will design innovative intervention programs to help establish healthy child development within a supportive community environment.
Today, more than two decades on from, OneSky’s founder, turning around a young life with a mother’s love, these lessons learned continue to guide us. Our dedicated, professionally trained foster parents, nannies, mentors, and teachers have all helped children through the 2020 pandemic with love and care.
This love, as ever, remains contagious, and best of all, given the right conditions – it grows. Now, in the Year of Ox, thanks to the continued support of our partners and donors, we aim to help even more vulnerable young children reach their full potential.