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Jenny Bowen: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains
Jenny Bowen is the founder and chief executive officer of Half the Sky Foundation, which strives to enrich the lives of
orphaned children in China. A former screenwriter and independent filmmaker, Bowen
founded Half the Sky in 1998 in order to give something back to her adopted daughters’
home country and to the many children then languishing behind institutional walls.
Half the Sky’s five innovative programs now provide nurturing, family-like care
for thousands of children of all ages. In partnership with China’s Ministry
of Civil Affairs, Half the Sky has embarked on a groundbreaking Integrated National
Training Plan that will eventually make the Half the Sky approach the approved national
standard of care for all children in the welfare system.
In 2008, Bowen received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. She serves on China’s National Committee for Orphans and Disabled Children and on the Expert Consultative Committee for Beijing Normal University’s Philanthropy Research Institute. She is the author of the recently released memoir, "Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains."
China is now synonymous with growth and prosperity. Cities such as Shanghai and Beijing boast infrastructures that rival any city in the world. Dramatic images of glimmering skyscrapers towering above streets booming with commerce highlight China’s seemingly unstoppable growth. China’s currency reserves and trade policies shape global markets. The academic prowess of China’s children is widely acclaimed.
However, in the rural interior, far from the eastern seaboard, millions of people still live in extreme poverty. Here, sturdy mules replace luxury cars, and humble villages replace towering skyscrapers. Two thirds of China’s young people are growing up in these poor, rural areas. Less than 5% will go to college. As they grow up and move to the cities, they can either help propel the country’s growth or dampen its dynamism. It is possible that failing to educate and train poor rural children will jeopardize China’s growth and transformation into a modern, knowledge-based economy.
The Rural Education Action Program (REAP) at Stanford is an impact evaluation organization that aims to inform sound education, health and nutrition policy in China. REAP’s goal is to help students from vulnerable communities in China enhance their human capital and overcome obstacles to education so that they can escape poverty and better contribute to China’s developing economy.
The author will be available to sign copies of her book after the event.
- Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Please RSVP by May 8th at 5pm: http://fsi.stanford.edu/events/registration/8239/
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