Richard and Half the Sky

In the mid-1970s, China implemented a one-child-only policy to help curb the country’s population explosion. This policy, combined with China’s cultural preference for boys, meant that a countless girls were abandoned to orphanages.

After adopting the first of his two daughters from China, cinematographer-turned-movie-director Richard Bowen and his wife Jenny, also a writer-director, made a life-changing decision. Wanting to give something back to China and hoping to help the girls who remained behind in Chinese orphanages, Jenny decided to leave Hollywood and start a foundation… and Richard soon joined in.

There is a Chinese saying that “Women hold up half the sky.” Taking inspiration from this powerful expression, Half the Sky, founded in 1998, creates new Cinderella stories every day by operating child enrichment programs that give orphaned children in China the loving attention all children need to thrive.

From its humble beginnings fourteen years ago at the Bowens’ kitchen table, Half the Sky has grown into an international community, with charitable entities established in six countries, and programs operating in over 50 centers spread throughout China.  It has radically improved the lives of over 60,000 orphans (95% of the healthy children are little girls).

Half the Sky recently entered into an unprecedented agreement with the Chinese government to expand its programs to every orphanage in China over the next several years. At the end of this process, Half the Sky’s programs will benefit the orphaned children of one-quarter of the world’s population

For Richard, the making of Cinderella Moon and his work with Half the Sky are inextricably connected.  Both the film and the foundation are asserting the same thing: Girls are as valuable as boys and deserve the same chances in this world.