In May 2018, it was my privilege to be invited to visit Half the Sky Australia funded programs in China as Community Manager for Wesfarmers Department Stores. For many years Kmart and Target have contributed to their work financially but being able to meet the children and their carers in person was an experience I will never forget.

It is a well-known concept that children flourish when they are nurtured and early childhood development is a matter of course for many children in Australia. So, the idea that some children were unable to be cared for by their families and their simplest of needs not met, is nothing short of heartbreaking. It was an additional challenge not to think of my own children and the assumptions I make about their access to food, education and most importantly family, affection and love!

As I had the opportunity to cuddle and play with children across the many centres we visited, my mind was less troubled by their lack of the ‘traditional idea’ of a family or their disabilities. In fact, I found myself inspired and even at peace that they were in the right place – a place where they were being cared for both physically and emotionally.

The many volunteers, directors and educators are the true heroes, dedicating themselves to caring for these vulnerable members of the community and ensuring they have access to not only the basics, but also well written Half the Sky programs designed specifically to ensure the happiness of the children in their care.

To people considering supporting Half the Sky Australia but not sure whether they feel ‘connected’ to children in China, you only need to check how you feel about any child having access to love and care and how you are contributing to that notion and reality.

A special thank you to the Half The Sky Australia team that allowed me to join them on this visit. I’ll always truly treasure my visit.

Kate Thiedeman
Community Manager, Wesfarmers Dept Stores (Kmart & Target)