Skoll Foundation


Half The Sky Foundation

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Jenny Bowen
Award Year: 2008
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Education and Economic Opportunity

(Click here to print)

Jenny and Richard Bowen adopted a toddler from an orphanage in China in 1997. Their daughter, Maya, had many of the sad effects of institutionalization. At almost age two, she could not walk, she had no language and she was emotionally shutdown. With Jenny’s constant nurturing and care, in a year, Maya was interacting like a normal child. To Jenny, this transformation was “a miracle that made perfect sense.” Jenny made a commitment to try to bring nurturing care to the thousands of Chinese orphans who remain in institutions, and so started HTS in 1998.


  • Jenny’s memoir, Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountainswas released in 2014 in partnership with the Skoll Foundation and Harper One.
  • They have trained 11,710 caregivers.
  • In 2012, its model was written into China’s 12th Five Year Plan as the national standard for child welfare institutions.
  • HTS has impacted 116,932 children since year 2000.
  • In June 2011, HTS partnered with the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation (JPMC) to launch an Integrated National Training Program called the “Rainbow Program.” It features joint trainings offered by CCCWA and HTS and provides every staff member working in the Chinese welfare system with knowledge about how to support the healthy development of the children. The training is delivered from the top down, from Institution Directors to administrators, teachers, nannies and support staff at 350 institutes across the country.
  • Half the Sky added a fifth core program to its work in 2009, providing surgeries and care for medically fragile orphaned children from all over China. New purpose-designed facilities opened in Beijing and 129 children, who might have perished otherwise, received treatment. Government partners and children’s hospitals will replicate this new model throughout China.
  • HTS increased numbers directly enrolled in programs to 6,000 children at any one time. They have 56 institutions in 27 municipalities and provinces.
  • In 2009, they expanded into 4 new provinces for 11 Blue Sky model training centers.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.