Since 2005, Heartspring has shared a sister school relationship with Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism, China's first Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to address the needs of children with autism.
The founder of Stars and Rain, Tian Huiping (Hope), is an amazing woman with a story that warms the heart. Because of her quest to find services for her own son with autism, she has impacted thousands of families in China. Much like Heartspring’s founder Dr. Martin Palmer, she is a true pioneer and inspiration to others around the world.
In 2004, Heartspring president, Dr. Gary Singleton reached out to Tian, who had considered closing her school for lack of support. Following several years of partnership with Heartspring, Stars and Rain is flourishing. “I don’t feel alone any more, (Heartspring’s) support since these years makes all teachers in Stars and Rain and more people in China feel that we are never far from each other. You are very close to us; you are a part of us, of our children in China, (and) of our families,” said Tian.
Each year, teachers from Stars and Rain come to Heartspring to learn and share, taking back new ideas and resources to reach more children in China. And when possible, Heartspring professionals take their expertise to Stars and Rain to provide on-site training to all of their staff. Over 130 new programs that serve children with autism have opened in China based on resources provided by Stars and Rain.
Along with Heartspring, Stars and Rain is working to make a difference. There are hundreds of thousands of families in China who are affected by autism. These families often face a desperate situation. They have little or no knowledge of autism and do not know how to teach or cope with their child. They are also largely excluded by a society that does not understand or accept them.
Heartspring's teacher exchange with Stars and Rain is supported by generous donations from the WM Foundation and the I-Fan T. Jen and Dr. Chian-Li Jen Trust. You can help Heartspring provide training and resources to Stars and Rain. Your gift will support our Teacher Exchange Program, providing essential training and support to help children and families learn and grow together.
* “The Children of the Stars” documentary tells the story of the Feng Jia Wei Family who travel to Beijing in a state of suicidal crisis as they cannot cope with their violent son who has autism. He is unable to speak or connect with them on any emotional level. His mother and father have brought him to the city to attend a special course at The Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism. Their hope is to find a "miracle" cure. The film follows them as they grow to understand that their son has a life-long condition whilst undergoing a deeply touching journey that reveals the incredible power and tenderness of parental love. Learn more about the Feng Jia Wei family and view the Children of the Stars documentary trailer on YouTube.
* “Ocean Heaven”, starring Jet Li, is a film that debuted in April 2010. While some of the story line was altered, the director based this film on his real-life experiences of observing Hope’s long-term quest to help her son, Taotao, who has autism, and to raise China’s awareness about autism. Jet Li plays the father of the young man with autism, who is modeled after Taotao.
Link here to Hope’s website about this: