Philip Hayden was an American teacher who went to China in 1991 and began volunteering his time to care for orphaned children. He died unexpectedly at 28 years of age as a result of a rare heart defect.The foundation established by family and friends in his name began from the mid 1990s to sponsor minor surgeries (such as cleft lip and palate) for children in China’s state orphanages, working through the China Charities Federation. Since 1996, it has received special needs orphans from more than 20 government run orphanages; cared for more than 4,000 orphaned children; provided more than 3,000 surgeries and medical procedures; seen more than 800 children adopted into forever families; and developed relationships with 100 complimentary organizations.
The Foundation first went on to establish and manage two children’s homes: one in Hebei (Langfang Children’s Village, in 1999) and one in Tianjin (Grace Children’s Village in, 2003). These facilities offer individualised care by ‘house mothers.’ Full-time doctors and nurses provide medical treatment at an on-site clinic. Once a child is healthy, the foundation often help orphans to find adoptive homes. The Grace Children’s Village includes an Arts and Crafts factory and vocational training centre for young adult orphans.
As the organization grew, PHF began searching for land to create an all-purpose campus that would have foster homes plus an on-site clinic, school, as well as vocational and recreation facilities. The land, donated by the government of the Tianjin Dawangguzhuang Economic Development Zone, now holds six children’s homes, a clinic and school, the Inn of Eight Happinesses (for visiting teams), as well as the PHF office. The newly established Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village welcomed its first children in August 2006 and was at capacity by February 2007. An additional three homes were recently completed and construction is nearing an end on a school and outreach facilities. Once the vocational center is completed, Shepherd’s Field will be the largest facility of its type in all of mainland China and home to as many as 150 special needs orphans of all ages.