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We are advocates for the millions of left behind children (LBC) around the world. Children should have the right to dream; we strive to break down these barriers by committing to help families with LBC. We provide basic life tools that support the major pillars of life: physical health, emotional health, and cognitive advancement.
Rapid economic growth in countries around the world is causing the phenomenon of LBC. Millions of these children across the globe, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe, are left behind by parents who have no choice but to move to urban areas or other countries to find work. These children are left home in rural areas in hopes that they will grow up in a more stable environment provided by relatives or friends. Unfortunately, the children suffer serious distress that is detrimental to their health and development. Most often, caretakers are uneducated and lack knowledge in the proper care of children, which often results in neglect of the child. Feelings of abandonment combined with low self-worth make LBC susceptible to higher rates of depression, human trafficking, sexual abuse, criminal activities, and suicide.
We provide the tools for communication between left behind children and their parents. Our community resource centers are a safe place for children to connect with their parents and to learn and grow. These centers supply computers, landline phones, books, and other educational resources. By providing support and helping them overcome the struggles of life, we hope that each left behind child and family can have the chance for a bright future.
Thailand or “the Land of Smiles” has a warm climate with endless sun shinning upon plentiful fruit trees. It’s a country known by it’s multitude of extravagent Buddhist temples and extrordinarily friendly people. According to Thai culture, hospitality to family is valued above everything else. Maintaining one’s independence in life is of a lesser importance than taking care of the family. It’s a common gesture to welcome anyone who needs food and shelter into the household.
The family system is strong as grandparents, parents, children, as well as aunts, cousins, in-laws, and other extended family members tend to live in the same house or home system. It’s seen as honorable for the parents to work even if that means they have to be separated from their children. They sacrifice time with their kids to give their children a better life than they had with the money they earn. This in turn earns the parents a merit (In Buddhism, a result of good deeds that carry over the person’s lifetime).
Children with parents away having the higher percentage of 25% with developmental problems.
“Every child has the right to grow up in a caring, loving, and safe environment” expresses the head of UNICEF Thailand. A year studying the issue and findings are continuing to develop to show the effects of parental migration. In the first portion there was a 9% difference when comparing children with developmental delays. Children with parents away having the higher percentage of 25% with developmental problems.
3 Million, or about 21% of Thailand’s population, are left behind children being raised by extended family mostly in rural areas. 90% live with grandparents, most of whom have only a primary school education, and are at risk themselves of financial instability and mental health issues. These children are often behind in language skills in school and have behavior problems. Grandparents and young children have an age gap that often hinders their ability to relate to the pain they feel, which limits conversation and opportunity for personal growth.
“If we’re sick all we have is a cell phone to take care of us.”
Does economic growth mean the poor get richer? No, the poor still are poor for a long time even after an economic boom. Parents working abroad makes one family richer, only to leave a teenager responsible for the life of her sibling.
A representative from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas published statements on the impact of migration on children (Nicolas). The money sent home from their parents goes towards raising the child and providing an education. Sounds like a great opportunity to provide their children with a life better than their own? Despite finding in a study that migrant children earn higher grades elementary school, there was more to be explored. An “emotional strain” was apparent in a separate survey on school-children. Poor school performance and anger, apathy, and confusion was noted about high school students from this as well as another study. They blame themselves. They think they are unloved because their parents leave. Having an absent mother was shown to create a stronger negative affect on families. The Philippines sees the mother as the nurturer. School-age children from parental migration have good life conditions therefore are healthy some studies say. Further studies among high school students tell of an emotional stress that is associated with poor physical health. Stress deteriorates the body. The mental health of teens suffered as they report anxiety, loneliness, and being unloved.
Interventions such as financial literacy programs to inform families on how to manage their money are put into place for the families left behind. What can we do?