#OneSkyHeroes – Generali believes in the importance of families, that’s why it believes in OneSky

A passionate partnership in Hong Kong – Generali finds a kindred spirit in OneSky

Generali’s reach is global with a presence in over 50 countries. But its Italian roots and culture are still evident. For Josi Chiang, Head of Generali’s The Human Safety Net program (THSN) in Hong Kong, that was why it first recognized OneSky for All Children (OneSky) as a potential partner.

“As an Italian company, Generali holds true to its roots. We value the importance of families and of the time they spend together,” said Josi.

“So, when we were looking to launch our local THSN program as part of Generali’s global movement, families were always at the forefront of our thinking.”

Josi Chiang, center

“We were looking for a local NGO that assists vulnerable families in Hong Kong with emphasis on very young children. The formative years are when children develop their social, cognitive and physical skills and that’s the time we think we can make the most difference.”

To this end, THSN has pledged to fund OneSky’s Family Centre in Sham Shui Po for children aged 0-6 and their Family Mentors who are essential to providing loving and responsive care to the children. The partnership will include supporting the development of OneSky’s program in the center and volunteering by local Generali employees.

Photo credit: Vicky Chan, Avoid Obvious Architects

For OneSky’s Director of Development in Hong Kong, Susanna Lee, Generali’s passion and energy has been very inspiring. It’s clear it will be an exciting partnership.

Susanna joined a two-day THSN workshop with Generali staff recently and left elated.

“I just felt so energized and moved by their commitment. It’s impossible not to look forward and imagine what we can achieve together,” said Susanna. “There was so much passion and creativity in the room.”

Susanna Lee

Also looking ahead, Josi believes the partnership will mean a better future for Hong Kong’s most vulnerable children.

“Hong Kong is a developed city, but at the same time, space is a problem and inequality is huge. One-fifth of the city’s population lives below the poverty line and many are living in cramped homes without any space to grow and play.”

It’s a huge challenge but Generali is keen to play their part in bringing lasting change.

Generali and OneSky staff.

“It is disheartening to see so many lacking opportunities and having such a difficult start in life,” added Josi. “We believe everyone should have a real chance. OneSky knows that they can help children by providing space to play and grow, and help develop skills with love and care.

“In doing so they are assisting families as well as our future communities. Hopefully, this vicious cycle of poverty can be broken.”

Even before social distancing, Hong Kong kids needed more safe space

In 2018, when my son was two, we began this project for OneSky in Sham Shui Po and he helped color in the floor plans. A year later he saw the plans animated and even visited the site.

Of course, he was excited about the play equipment but he especially loved the big windows.

In 2020, aged four, he finally got to attend the opening. My decision to share the process with him had been spontaneous but it turned out to be very special, not least because our world has changed so much in this short time.

Now, in July 2020, Hong Kong is experiencing another Covid-19 surge. Public spaces have proven to be highly important to maintain social distance. In Sham Shui Po, subdivided flats suffer their own lack of space with all the physical and emotional stress that entails.

WATCH: See architect Vicky Chan visit the OneSky Global Centre with his son and his friend.

In the meantime, schools have closed early for summer vacation. K-1 students have been stuck at home since January. Keeping children engaged until school opens again is vital for their own development. It also helps parents and reduces conflict. I know it is not easy to deal with a very active child 24/7.

Pandemic preparation is not something we had planned in 2018 when we started out, but surface treatments in the center were designed with wellbeing in mind. Its large play area with big open windows will keep children in the neighborhood engaged, safe and healthy.

When children finally entered the site, it was so much fun for them to explore. They loved the windows. They let in so much light and allowed the child to build their own relationship with the space.

For me the site is special. Among my memories are the many human touches that make it work. During construction, the contractor had difficulty attempting to create the curvy line along both sides of the stairs. My team and I went and hand painted the guiding line for them to trace. It worked beautifully. Being hands-on made it feel very different to the digital approach of modern architecture.

Recently I climbed the nearby mountain and looked back down onto the OneSky building on its historical corner of Sham Shui Po. The neighborhood is changing.  Newly developed private residences mean space is further consumed while others are displaced.

My wish for the OneSky building is for it to remain humble and continue to serve as the guardian. I believe it will transform the neighborhood in a positive way for all.

Find out more about the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development and how it brings together children, families and caregivers to play, learn and train while creating a better future for vulnerable children in Hong Kong.

A new future for early childhood care and education in Asia

After years of planning and with the support of visionary foundations, corporations and individuals the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development (the Center) has opened in Hong Kong.

As a global training organization with a mission to teach communities and caregivers to provide nurturing responsive care and early education that unlocks the vast hidden potential in our world’s most vulnerable children, we couldn’t be more excited.

Our new regional training hub for global best practices in early childhood care and education (ECCE) will build a community of childcare professionals and paraprofessionals, scaling the reach of our work across Hong Kong and Asia, ensuring even more vulnerable children have an equal start in life.

Following an extensive two-year needs assessment, the OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development was conceived in partnership with the. P. C. Lee family who, in honoring their late father’s compassion, kindness and love of learning, are helping to build a more equitable future for marginalized children in Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, despite the city’s prosperity, one in five children lives in poverty*. If these vulnerable children enter mainstream schools without quality ECCE, the chance of them realizing their full potential is limited.

The Center will be a community gathering place where children, ages 0-6, and their caregivers can play and learn together. And, in partnership with the D. H. Chen Foundation, we will bring NGOs, academics and social services to the Centre to share best practices and current research in early childhood care and education.

This monumental achievement could not have occurred without the support and encouragement of our family of donors around the world. Thank you.

*Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report 2018 – pre-intervention rate by age.

OneSky Hikers – thank you so very much

By Jenny Bowen, OneSky Founder & CEO

At OneSky we often talk about changing young lives, “one child at a time”.

It’s an absolutely accurate statement. In order to reach young children at a very young age, you have to be able to build a relationship with them. That can only be achieved individually between the caregiver and the child.

It’s at the heart of everything we do. It is, in essence, the OneSky Approach, that focuses on human beings and relies on skilled and loving human interaction between children and those who care for them.

Likewise in order to make this happen, we need to reach out to friends. We need to explain what we do and hope you are as inspired by our work as we are.

It’s YOUR support that enables us to give child after child a future. Together we can provide a start in life that can never be taken away.

And that support grows, “one friend at a time”. We’ve seen it played out over recent months ahead of the hike. It’s been a hard year for Hong Kong, it was easy to briefly imagine that our own cause could be overlooked.

But hiker after hiker signed up. Whole groups joined the cause. Then on Sunday, there you all were – over 400 friends of all ages, enjoying a beautiful day in the sunshine. Each of you wanting to play your part in helping young and vulnerable children throughout Asia.

Step by step through Hong Kong’s beautiful trails you were there for us. Our OneSky family.

Hong Kong is set to play a major role in OneSky’s future. We are excited that the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development will open in Sham Shui Po next year. There will be a Family Centre and an Early Learning Hub offering high-quality care for children at risk. These children will be Hong Kong’s future. We will also train trainers from across the region and build educational resources that will benefit thousands more children.

None of this happens by accident. It takes vision and long term commitments from amazing staff. Most importantly, it takes people who believe in what we do.

Thank you for believing. Together we can achieve so much more.

One Hike for OneSky THIS Sunday!

TEN Things you need to know before you set off

We are promised a beautiful day. Middle twenties centigrade, low humidity and the sun shining – it’s going to be a fantastic event.
Here’s what you need to know…

1. Please wear your OneSky t-shirt.

2. Bring your own container and drinks – there is a refill station but not until the finishing line on Shatin Pass Road.

3. Please respect the environment and try and keep any waste to a minimum, dispose of trash responsibility, there will be bins at the finish line.

4. You will also find a First Aid station at the finish line.

5. Participants are responsible for their own belongings – please don’t bring valuables!

6. Know your transportation details in advance and please arrive ON TIME!

7. Please be aware that parking is not available at the starting and finishing points of the trails. Please use public transport.

8. If you’d like to share pictures from the hike on social media – please use the hashtag #OneSkyHike

9. Don’t worry! As long as you keep your wits about you, you can’t get lost. There will be around 40 experienced marshals along both the 7.7 km and 10.5 km trails.

10. Most important of all. Have fun and please, take a moment to remember the children your efforts will help. You are improving young lives. Thank you so very much.

Links:

Hike Information
FAQ
Trails
What you are helping OneSky do.

Why I Love The OneSky Hike – It Teaches My Kids Compassion!

The year’s One Hike for OneSky on November 10, will be Bill Quarless’s fifth, he explains what makes it such an important event for him.

“We love supporting OneSky and the great work the organisation does. We are very happy to play our small part to support the critical work that OneSky does nurturing and caring for the most vulnerable children.

“I especially like the charity hike because I do it with my family and my entire company. My young children understand why we are doing this and I use the event as an opportunity to teach them compassion and giving. My staff are also always eager to participate and give back as a team. We have a friendly fundraising competition with the winner getting a prize and the company matching all the funds raised.”

“I’m usually pretty slow – thanks to the five and six-year-old but generally we all finish as a team. That’s one of the good things about the walk – there are different options that suit all fitness levels. But whatever option you choose, the finish line is an accomplishment – even more so knowing that you’ve achieved something worthwhile as a group. It’s a great day and a fantastic cause.” 

Bill Quarless is the President & CEO of Impact Products.

 


Join us on Sunday, 10 November 2019, for our 9th Annual OneSky Charity Hike

at the beautiful MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong.


 

One Hike for OneSky – SIGN UP TODAY!

Join us on Sunday, 10 November 2019, for our 9th Annual OneSky Charity Hike at the beautiful MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong.

Since 2011, One Hike for OneSky has raised crucial funds, making it possible to train hundreds of caregivers in best practices for providing essential nurturing care, impacting tens of thousands of left-behind children.

SIGN UP TODAY. 

Proceeds of this year’s hike will go towards building a better future for the disadvantaged children of Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region. With your support and in collaboration with a caring community, OneSky is putting to work lessons learned during 20 years of early intervention to benefit young children at risk, and create the P. C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development.

Three different trails (of 3.8 km, 7.7 km and 10.5 km) are geared to different skill levels. So, whether a beginner or an advanced hiker, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss this special day!

Event time: 10:30am – 2:30pm  

Since 2011, the OneSky Charity Hike has raised over HK$8 million through generous individuals and corporate sponsors, and the number of hikers is growing every year!

The funds raised at the hike make it possible for us to train caregivers in our time-tested OneSky Approach across China and Vietnam, as well as support the P.C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development in Hong Kong. Your participation will also provide help for the young, at-risk children we serve. Enjoy a day to remember AND change lives!

Enrollment

Enrollment for all trails: Participation Fee + Minimum Fundraising Amount

Each enrolled participant will receive an activity pack on a first-come-first-served basis, including a T-shirt and a souvenir, and an official OneSky e-Certificate of Appreciation and a medal at the end of the hike.

Early-bird deadline: 20 September 2019 (Friday)

Standard registration deadline: 25 October 2019 (Friday)

Minimum fundraising deadline: 1 November 2019 (Friday)

Spots available: 600 participants

Please visit One Hike for OneSky 2019 to sign up or email hike@onesky.org for more details!

SAVE THE DATE: The OneSky Hong Kong Charity Hike

OneSky’s Hong Kong Charity Hike will take place this year on Sunday, November 10, 2019.

The hike has become an unmissable annual event since first taking place in 2011. Walkers can choose one of three beautiful routes of varying difficulty (3.8 km, 7.7 km and 10.5 km) through Hong Kong’s beautiful trails.

Enter as an individual, as a family or with a team.

All the money you raise will help vulnerable young children across Asia. For the first time, this includes Hong Kong with the opening of the P.C. Lee OneSky Global Center for Early Childhood Development later this year.

Keep watching this website and OneSky’s Hong Kong Facebook page for details of how to register and get ready for the race. In the meantime, TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW and make sure you SAVE THE DATE!

You can enjoy a day to remember AND change lives. Your participation means OneSky can help children who vitally need our support. Find out more about OneSky’s work here.

If you have any questions or would like to be a corporate sponsor, please email hike@onesky.org

 

 

 

An Evening Filled With Bright Stars for OneSky’s Annual Gala

“Hong Kong for All Children” – that was the theme of OneSky’s 2019 gala.

The event marked a major milestone year for the NGO, as it prepares to open the P.C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong.

CEO and Founder Jenny Bowen gave a keynote address welcoming friends and guests, thanking them for their continued support and generosity. Speaking from her heart, she shared stories of young children whose lives have been transformed to date through OneSky programs in China, Vietnam, and Mongolia.

The OneSky Hong Kong Gala combines an evening of entertainment with the goal of raising vital funds to deliver support to young children across all OneSky’s programs.

This landmark year, OneSky brings its mission to Hong Kong to help the city’s “hidden children”, growing up in low-income communities and living in the shadows of the city’s skyline. OneSky is working closely with government and key stakeholders in sharing best practice on Early Learning Childhood Development, and establishing a centre to support children and their families, through a local Community Drop-in Centre.

In providing facilities to train caregivers across programs in the Asia Pacific region, OneSky’s vision is to reach thousands more children through the Centre – including those closest to home, in Hong Kong.

Chloe Taylor, Chief Engagement Officer for OneSky, said:

“It’s an inspirational cause and a fantastic event. We get to enjoy an evening with familiar faces and friends of OneSky and have the opportunity to tell OneSky’s story to new friends who, we hope, will want to get more involved. This event is all about the children.”

Chloe also paid tribute to the many people who came together to make the event happen.

She added:

“The event is the culmination of so much hard work and generosity. OneSky is blessed to have so many good friends”.

An incredible variety of prizes were on offer for live and silent auctions, generously donated by a number of key sponsors.

Guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment emceed by journalist and international broadcaster Karen Koh (pictured below). She was joined by dancer and OneSky Alumni, Wei Dongwen (pictured above top).

Dongwen is an accomplished professional dancer and choreographer and was raised in Hefei City Children’s Welfare Institute, in China, where she benefitted from OneSky’s Little Sisters program. Born with severe hearing and speaking impairments she relies on vibrations from music to dance.

 

PHOTOS: Meet the children who’ll be our future

For the past two years, Richard Bowen has been taking photos across Asia. His aim wasn’t only to capture the vulnerability of disadvantaged children, but also the hope.

Called “Meet the Future”, Richard’s photos are set to be exhibited at the Rotunda in Exchange Square in Central Hong Kong from May 14 – May 21. Richard is a former cinematographer who later established children’s charity OneSky with his wife Jenny Bowen.

To mark the occasion we’ve asked Richard to choose a handful of his images and explain why he chose them.


“This photo is of a Vietnamese factory worker proudly showing off her daughter in their tiny living quarters. Unlike China’s left-behind children, Vietnamese usually take their children with them when they migrate to the big city. Yet they often don’t have the time or resources to provide for their children’s care during long work days.

“I was deeply touched by how this mom gives all she can and has such high hopes for her child, despite their many obstacles.”

“This photo was taken in a village outside Dhaka, Bangladesh. Big Brother looks after his little brother most days while his parents work in the fields. Sibling care is so common throughout rural Asia, and the bond is usually strong and touching, but, it’s easy to forget this arrangement potentially deprives both children of the stimulation and care they need to develop fully. The big spot on this baby’s forehead is a mark painted on for good luck – it’s common among many Bangladeshi infants.”

“This photo was taken inside a ‘ger’ or ‘yurt’ in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Like many Mongolian children I photographed, this boy spends his days locked inside watching TV while his parents work. His parents are unable to earn enough for any sort childcare. I was shaken by how dazed and vacant this child was, spending his days with no stimulation as if he was in a prison.“

“This girl was ‘left behind’ by her parents in a poor Chinese village. Her grandma was busy with the harvest and I watched her playing alone in a yard full of corn. I was amazed by her inventiveness. She was clearly so bright. It seemed to me that her potential was unlimited so long as her development wasn’t stalled by her circumstances.”

OneSky is about to open a new centre in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district this summer. The P.C. Lee OneSky Global Centre for Early Childhood Development will support local families and children providing Early Learning facilities and a Community Drop in Centre, impacting the lives of over 3,500 Hong Kong children every year.

 The centre will also be a hub for training and advocacy work across Asia – putting Hong Kong at the forefront of efforts to provide assistance to very young vulnerable children.

The exhibition is free and open to all.