Courage to Speak Out for the Children

I’d like to share my experience in Changsha where I observed one of the Rainbow Programme secondary trainings in Hunan Province.

The trainer from the Changsha SWI made a strong statement to the whole class that I love very much: “I am a Rainbow trainer now and I have become more passionate for our children and for what we are doing. I feel I have a big responsibility to make a strong appeal to the director and to the staff wherever I go to let them know where they should improve and change. I have the courage now and want to speak out for our children, which I didn’t dare to do before!”

I was so pleased to see not only how passionate an advocate for the children the trainer has become, but also how comfortable she has become with Half the Sky’s training style. For example, she walked around, asked questions, made eye contact with the trainees, and used differing tones of voice to capture the attention of the trainees. She also used many concrete, personal work examples and related them to the trainees’ work. It was such a different atmosphere than when I was in Beijing observing the primary training where the trainer sat in front of the class on the stage far away from the trainees and basically read from his notes.

Later on I had an opportunity to talk with the institution trainer. I saw her eyes sparkling as she described her excitement about how she’s able to change people from the institutions where she provided secondary trainings. She was SO excited when she described receiving phone calls from the Directors where she and our Child Development Expert did their secondary training. The Directors told her that the institutions made changes immediately based on what their staff learned, and that they wanted her and our CDE to come back to do further training.

I had already seen and heard the excitement from our CDEs, but I was thrilled to find the same excitement from the institution trainers. The trainer team from the institution and our CDE work so well together and the whole training is well blended together with important topics covered from both CCCWA and Half the Sky’s curriculum. When our CDEs and the institution trainers blend into one unified team, the principles and the practice of our work are maximized in the Rainbow trainings. That collaboration will mean, down the road, that every child living in a Chinese institution will benefit.

I truly see how the Rainbow trainings have become very powerful in changing lives of people by changing perspectives about institutionalized children. I can see the changes in everyone involved: the children, the Directors of the institutions, the caregivers, the institution trainers, our Half the Sky team, and ultimately those changes will reach beyond the institutions. I have heard more from the institution Directors who are realizing how important it is to strengthen their staff’s professional knowledge and skills. They now want to put the training of their staff as priority after seeing what Rainbow training has brought to their institutions.

By Wen Zhao

Senior Professional Development Director