HTSA’s Natalie Campion Visits Our Kunming & Changhsa Projects
HTSA’s new Chief Development Officer, Natalie Campion, recently traveled to China to see firsthand the Changsha Model Children’s Centre and the Kunming Children’s Centre we support.
During Natalie’s visit to the Kunming Model Children’s Centre, she was warmly welcomed by the institution’s administrators. Vice Director Zhao Chunxian and Half the Sky’s Child Development Expert for Yunnan Province Li Bing accompanied her during her visits to all four programmes. Natalie then met with the Party Secretary of the institution and Director Zhao, thanked everyone for their warm welcome, and asked how administrators feel about having Half the Sky’s programmes in their institution. They responded that although the programmes opened only two months ago, they can already see many positive changes taking place in the children and they extended their gratitude towards HTSA for its generous support.
The next morning Natalie visited the Changsha Model Children’s Centre where Director Long Huan escorted Natalie on a tour of all the programmes. In Changsha, Natalie was able to cuddle the babies, play with the preschoolers and speak with the youth, including a boy who had made a bead apple for her. “I will always treasure his gift. It is beautiful and now proudly placed in my far away office, reminding me of the joy we help to bring to these children and them to us,” says Natalie.
During a meeting with Long Huan and Half the Sky’s Child Development Expert Xiao Jin, Director Long said he very much appreciates HTSA’s help. The staff then presented Natalie with a photo album of children to show her how the children have thrived in the three years since HTSA helped established and operate the Centre. Natalie thanked everyone for the album and explained that she had learned so much about the programmes through visiting and how important seeing the programmes first hand is to her work. Now when she meets with potential donors in Australia, she can speak about programmes she has seen herself.
“The special bond that the children share with their Half the Sky caregivers fills the rooms of the institution with love and a real sense of belonging to a big family. It was quite emotional to see such happiness in the faces of children with such great need, knowing we are helping to make a real difference in their lives.”
On the way home, Natalie made a stop in Beijing to learn more about Half the Sky’s international network. Natalie toured Half the Sky’s administrative offices and the Chunhui China Care Home for medically fragile children and impressed everyone who had helped arrange her trip, including Operations Assistant Lindsay Li: “It’s clear that Natalie has a lot of knowledge of Chinese culture, and is keen to learn more. She is such a lovely person, and her love and dedication for the children stood out to everyone, as did her beautiful curly red hair and her lake-green eyes.”
More photos of Natalie’s visit in the album.