After spending ten days in the Anhui Province, China working with left behind children (LBC), this serious issue and GCV’s call to action are alive as ever. Words cannot express my experiences during this trip. I witnessed a grandmother break down in tears describing her concerns for her two left behind grandchildren. An elementary student told me that her biggest hope in life is for the day when her parents come home. I attended a church service and could count the number of parents present on one hand. In many ways my heart was broken for these children; however, these chilling stories affirm why we started Global Children’s Vision.
All children desire to be loved and to have hope. Unfortunately, the absence of parents can often cloud these desires and make a child feel as though their future is bleak. I heard this firsthand from children who feel lonely and helpless.
One story during the trip especially moved me. Cheng and I went to the house of an elderly grandmother who was taking care of her two left behind grandchildren. The house consisted of two rooms with dirt floors. We waited for her to come home until it was completely dark outside because daylight is precious when you are a farmer in the fields. This grandmother committed to do backbreaking work in her late seventies to provide for her grandchildren. She was adamant about not asking her son (who emigrated to the city to work) for money, thus, forcing her to work long hours in her old age. Her sole focus was to ensure that there was food for her grandchildren to eat and for them to go to school. Immediately after the parents’ departure, she noticed significant differences in her granddaughter and grandson’s behavior and performance in school. The root of the issue was obvious to her, but she did not feel that it was her place to discipline the children since they are not her own. She broke down into tears describing the lack of communication between the children and parents. This ultimately led the children to extreme resentment towards their parents. Not only did the children have the burden of growing up without parents, but they also had no toys. She explained that there was no extra money for toys, so the children’s only entertainment was watching the cars drive by.
Global Children’s Vision is excited to provide the necessary tools to help mend these broken families. Together, here’s to empowering the future.
Though Cheng was raised in the U.S., she was exposed to the left behind children situation in her early childhood and many trips back to China. Cheng dreams of making a significant impact in the lives of children and families throughout the world. Her book, 《我长大的那些年》, will be published October 2013, becoming China’s first original book utilizing peer education to highlight the importance of social emotional development in one’s childhood. During her free time, Cheng enjoys photography and playing the piano. Cheng is a co-founder of Global Children’s Vision and serves as President.
While growing up in the United States, Becca was not exposed to the left behind children phenomenon. While working in Shanghai, China, her eyes were widely open to this issue as many of her Chinese coworkers left their children behind in search of better income. This experience inspired her to help bring relief to these families. Her interests include studying different cultures, learning Mandarin Chinese, and traveling. Becca is a co-founder of Global Children’s Vision and serves as Vice President.
Global Children’s Vision had the exciting opportunity to host a booth at the 2013 North Shore Business Expo in Danvers, Massachusetts. The expo hosted over 100 exhibitors and more than 2,200 attendees. Prominent companies in today’s business world such as TD Bank, Verizon Wireless, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and The Boston Globe exhibited at the business show. The day was spent spreading awareness about Left Behind Children, sharing GCV’s mission, and networking with business professionals from around the Boston area. The GCV booth also featured a business card raffle, in which one lucky winner had the chance to take home a Nook.
Many attendees connected with GCV’s vision and were eager to learn more about our work. The expo was an excellent opportunity to get the word out about the issue and our organization. GCV hung with the best of the best in the business world and was proud to participate in the largest business expo north of Boston.
Gordon College’s newspaper, The Tartan, shares the story about GCV and its founders. This editorial piece is a great addition to co-founder and President Cheng Qian’s video which shares about her founding experience.
My favorite line in this piece? Its a quote from co-founder Becca Berman: “It’s easy to sit back especially during college and feel like you can’t give it your all,” Berman said. “It’s been incredibly challenging to balance everything, but at the end of the day, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. There are so many children around the world – if we don’t advocate for them, who will?”
Want to read more? Click here.
If you are looking for a way to see into the lives of the left behind children but are unable to make the long trek to China, luckily there is a documentary out that can give you just that. The Hong Kong documentary, “Children Left Behind,” provides a look into the lives of children who are living without their parents by their sides. It details the changes and difficulties that the left behind children go through while their parents are away, and also gives the kids a chance to speak about how they feel about their parents being gone. One thing that is very striking to see in this documentary is that though all of these children are experiencing the same thing, many of them react in very different ways. Some are very driven to succeed despite the absence of the parents, while others become downtrodden and unmotivated. The differences are intriguing, and it is interesting to see how these children handle their situation in such a variance of ways. Visit this link to look at the full documentary to learn about left behind children here.