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Change is Coming: China’s East to West Migration

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-muXq87m_USources

Traditionally migrant workers go to the east for work in the cities and visit family once a year during spring festival. Recently many are going back home in the west looking for opportunities close by. This is because of the high living expenses in the city. Most used to search for work in major cities but the costs of living is too high. The salaries of migrant workers and increase in living expenses means more migrant workers, this year, are deciding to stay near home.
Migrant workers are becoming local business owners because the villages are developing faster than ever, which is creating more jobs. This is good news for families who wish to stay together in their homes.
Shuangyan thinks that his parents are abandoning him for a bright, fun-filled, busy city that is more vibrant and fast-moving than his sleepy village. It’s the fact that in the city they earn more money than in their village. “Since 1978 China has experienced the largest internal migration in history.” The rise in globalization is contributing to the issue that creates more and more children being left by migrant parents. Left behind children have a difficult time in school, relationships, and later in life.
Global Children’s Vision aims to empower boys like Shuangyan. They are not defined by their circumstances. LBC have the right to have success in their lives. We believe that it is important for children left with extended family to have quality schooling. Loneliness, depression, and outbursts are also common amongst LBC and can be dealt with by utilizing psychological counseling. The kids can’t always find the words to say when talking to their parents over the phone. With guided communication over phone and internet they can learn how to maintain a healthy relationship with their parent.
The good news is that change is coming. More families are choosing to stay home with their children. Housing in cities costs more than their salaries so the best bet is to create work at home. Yet, parents are tempted to take low-paying jobs in the city over no jobs at home to provide a better life for their children. It’s a difficult decision that affects the entire family. Let’s see how the pattern progresses in the coming years.

Sources:

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/world/east-asia/20131013/the-children-left-behind-by-chinas-economic-migrants#ixzz2zMwN8m1R
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

http://www.eeo.com.cn/ens/2013/0614/245263.shtml

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-china-children-raised-apart-from-their-parents/2013/12/29/5832d3be-6e94-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_gallery.html#item0

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Exposing Beggar Children in LBC Populations

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVL4KaufFbw

What are common patterns of a child left behind? Poorer school performance and higher drop out rates.

Who are beggar children? They can be left behind children who are used by extended family for income. Adults send them to the streets to beg for money. They are working 14 hour days instead of being in a classroom or playing like a kid should. Beggar children drop out of school and end up addicted to drugs, trapped in human trafficking, sex slavery, or life on the streets.

china-little-child-beggar-01 

Grandparents and extended family look after left behind children for their parents working in the city but they busy taking care of the household. The children are left unsupervised. There has been cases that report LBC as kidnap victims. Their kidnappers force them to become beggar children.

“On Tuesday, Peng Gaofeng, a migrant worker in Shenzhen, was reunited with his son who was kidnapped three years ago. Five other children whose pictures were posted on the blog were also identified by their parents, Chinese state media said on Wednesday.” After sacrificing precious time with your little son to find a job in the city, you are then are notified of his kidnapping because he wasn’t being watched.

How would you feel?

Campaigns arise imploring people to take pictures of child beggars on the streets to help migrant parents find their missing children. Grandparents and extended family who look after left behind children for their parents working in the city are busy taking care of the household. They are often unsupervised, and unfortunately there has been cases that report LBC as kidnap victims. Their kidnappers force them to become beggar children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Diaries of Left-Behind Children

One of the largest migrations in human history, rural poor workers are traveling to cities where the jobs are. China’s economic boom is partly caused by an increase of migrant workers willing to work for low wages. The high costs of living and long work hours force parents to leave children to be raised with grandparents in the villages until they earn the money to take them to the city.

A young girl talks to her parents over the phone while they are away. She is the first to use the free phone at school. It is a difficult call to make. She cries saying, “I’m not used to chatting with them…usually I just answer their questions,” (Youtube). 

It is heart-breaking to hear the individual stories of children apart from their parents who are living in the city to work. A teacher at the end of the video implores the public to see that left-behind children are hard-working and independent. At the same time they lack the ability to trust others. 

A plea for time off was discovered on the door of Jianba hairdressers in the southern city of Zhuzhou. Hairdresser Wu Hongwe addressed the note to customers with the message, “I got a call from my daughter yesterday. I have been away from her so long, she doesn’t even know how to call me ‘Daddy’ any more… I beg you for a week off to visit my family,” (Wan).  Wu’s daughter Beibei has become accustomed to calling her parents Mum and Dad, with the mentality that they are just their names. With so much time and distance between the child and her parents, they have become strangers to her. “Mama” has no meaning. The countryside where she lives is a healthy environment and has a low cost of living unlike her parents’ city. She grew up with her native dialect and has a difficult time understanding her mother’s Chinese.

What hurts her parents the most is that their daughter does not know what it is like to have a mother. They have set a goal of working to gain enough money to bring her into the city by February this year.

Within the next week, there will be a research launch on “They are Parents: A Study on Migrant Workers of Left Behind Children in China” with conferences in Beijing and Shanghai. CCR CSR report launch will share a study from the perspective of working parents, (Zhang). We need to realize that these migrant parents do what they do because they think it is what is right for the well-being of their children. Don’t we all want what is best for our kids? Now we have the mission to provide the educational and social services to left-behind children to promote their emotional development. Global Children’s Vision strives to equip LBC with the tools to succeed in life.

Please refer to our site for more information about coming on a trip to China or making a donation.

Sources

http://www.ccrcsr.com/sites/default/files/Study%20Launch%20invitation_English_1212.pdf

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/chinas-parenting-problem-children-of-the-industrial-revolution-9045080.html

 

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Parents in Temporary Labor Migration

mexicangirl

 

An article by Castaneda and Buck says family unit is more important than poverty for children illustrated in the dialogue below.

“You have it all. Good clothes. Good tennis shoes,”. . .

“I’d trade it all for my mother . . .  You can never get the love of a

mother from someone else” (Nazario 2006:xii).

Research studies show that transition is traumatic for the child. Whether it be a divorce or remarriage, a transition in the family structure impact’s a child’s poor school performance. When a child’s grades plummet, the teacher assumes something is happening in their home life. Family system disruption decreases the child’s chances of having healthy emotional and psychological development. Nobles (2006)  suggests that more than a third of Mexican children experience some type of household disruption during childhood,”(Cortes). Networks in indigenous rural areas helped next of kin, but very rarely provided assistance to non-family members. Migration brokers promise to help pay for the migration and while the parents works in a temporary labor position in America, they are expected to pay the broker or the family left behind is in debt. Mexican educational credentials are less important than US education. There is less incentive for the child to continue their education while the parent is away. Having migrant parents lowers the chance of boys completing junior high and girls completing high school. Migrant parents do not expect that the separation will cause they left behind children to suffer in school. Males tend to work to support left behind family and drop out of school. Females tend to dropout because of marriage. The Mexican community is known to criticize the migrant parent and in extension the child calling the parent a “social climber” and associating them with the negative image of illegal trafficking. This labeling causes the children to be looked down upon and margenalized. Safety issues  also arise from “lack of parental care, separated children and linkages with trafficking, recourse to institutionalization and child labour,” (Cortes). Parents work hard abroad to send money home to their families to improve their quality of life. The money sent home is given for the children. Teachers do not like the idea of the children having control over the money sent home.

From my personal observations on the opposite side of the issue, parental separation has detrimental effects on the child living in America. A child being raised in a Spanish-speaking community with the parent left behind in Mexico has the expectation in schools to learn how to read and write in English. The expectation in their household is to know both Spanish and English. The child often is raised in a home with grandparents, extended family members, and siblings who desperately want to visit Mexico to see their mom or dad. It is difficult for one to witness the drop in the child’s educational performance after the parent is away. The parent who sent the child to Americaa for a better life lives with extended family or friends. The parent wants to be with the child but there are so many factors against them. “A trip to the United States for most migrants involves physical danger, unpleasant working conditions, low social status, illegality, family separation, and other deterrents,” (Kandel and Kao) Migration is a tricky issue for the observer to fully understand. The parent works hard to provide the child with food, clothes, and a livelihood yet the impact of the disintegration of the family structure has many negative effects. This issue cannot be ignored by educators, child-care providers, or mental health counselors.

Lastly, the “abandonment” of parents not only hurt the child, but also impact the parent’s mental health. A study on parents who are left behind when children pirate to the United States were examined. Higher anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and a wish to die were significant psychological effects that were reported in the study (Arenas and Yahirun). It is therefore important to examine all sides to migration to effectively understand to impact of the family unit for one’s mental health and  education.

 

Sources

http://www.academia.edu/232141/_Left_Behind_The_Effect_of_Childrens_Migration_on_Parents_Mental_Health_in_Mexico_

http://www.childmigration.net/files/Rosalia_Cortes_07.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3092008?origin=JSTOR-pdf&

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1557-203X.2011.01136.x/abstract

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What is China doing to help Left Behind Children?

Twinkling Stars NGO-1

What is China doing to help LBC in it’s own country?

A non-governmental organization called Twinkling Stars has produced amazing results. Inspired by AVIVA’s “Street to School” project that focuses on equipping LBC with useful skills and supplies, Twinkling Stars has recruited 1,000 volunteers. They have helped about 9,000 left behind children in 11 provinces in China since 2010 (t-stars). Global Children’s Vision like Twinkling Stars creates centers with educational resources and enhances the parent to child communication experience. The work aims to improve the child’s emotional development and inspire them to dream. We both increase awareness on the importance of education and what that means for left behind children and their teachers.

The Twinkling Stars Children Painting Competition is a recent event in which about 500 children including LBC and city children have participated in. This is the work named House of Joy, by Haohan Cui, a child from Liaoning Provinces, which won the first prize.

Twinkling Stars NGO-1

They also launched a project in 2012 that focuses on LBC’s mental health, trying to provide constant and effective help. GCV’s mission is to strengthen each child’s confidence with empowerment tools. We eliminate the idea that based on one’s circumstances there is no hope for a better future. Left behind children have an increased chance of suffering from anxiety and depression (Zhengkui). They have a decreased interest in school and a higher likelihood of have difficulties with communication and trust. They feel like their mom and dad has abandoned them. They live on the streets and are mistaken as orphans. They fail in their classes because they don’t think it is worth it. They have higher chances of drowning from neglect and lack of supervision, being recruited as child prostitutes in the sex trafficking industry, and dropping out of school.

LBC have loving parents who just are unable to directly care for the child because of financial reasons, not because they “left them behind” for selfish reasons. It is a common misconception that left behind children are purposely neglected. The parent who finds work in the city earns money to provide the child with a better quality of life back in the villages. Twinkling Stars aims take care of the children that are benefiting from the money being sent home to sustain the grandparent and extended family members raising the children. The workers and volunteers take into account this population’s specific emotional, social, and academic needs.

A special project called Caring House (pictured below) is part of the Twinkling Stars accomplishments that has converted idle classrooms into special places full of toys, pens, and more than 100 items for children. Volunteers play with the children.

Twinkling Stars

 

 

 

 

How does this Chinese non-profit create positive change? This issue of Left Behind Children is global. It touches the lives of millions of children in China alone. Twinkling Stars empowers these children “by creating an inspiring environment for the children to do homework, classes, play and sing – to dream a little,” (AVIVA). Global Children’s Vision’s motto is Empower the Future. We must empower individuals and let them know that they are not defined by their circumstances. They can accomplish greatness if they are taught they can do anything. Teach children to be resilient by teaching them they are worth it then they can dream big.

 

Sources:

http://www.aviva.com/reports/cr11/regions/asia-pacific/communities/sts-social-media.html

http://www.t-stars.cn/

 Zhengkui Liu, PhD, Xinying Li, MD, and Xiaojia Ge, PhD. “Left Too Early: The Effects of Age at Separation from Parents on Chinese Rural Children’s Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression.” American Journal of Public Health Research and Practice 99.11 (2009): n. pag. Web.

 

 

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“I only go to see the kids during national holidays. The rest of the time, I have to work.” – a migrant parent

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, when America’s thoughts are on family, fresh mounds of turkey in excess, and multiple types of pies made by loved ones ready to be consumed with delight. Yet there’s a thought that comes to a mind filled with the excitement of a family reunion at the holidays and it is a thought that stops me in my tracks.

In the video a father confessed “I only go to see the kids during national holidays. The rest of the time, I have to work.” This heartbreaking truth is a result of China’s economic situation. This issue is a consequence of globalization’s affect on migration. Jobs are in the cities and children are raised by extended family members. It is a joyous reunion when left behind children are reunited with their parents. At brief times that their parents have time off from work, it is wonderful for the child to see the parent in person.

child-poverty_10-things-id-ban-if-i-were-president

How do we help? We can’t promise the parents a higher paying job that is closer to their child. We can’t change every government official’s mind on the issue. What we CAN do is create resources for these children and their parents that facilitate communication, extra psychological care, higher academic quality, and education for the parents and grandparents on problems LBC may face.

Left behind children may have wonderful and caring parents but the parents are put in a situation where a choice have to be made either to be unemployed and raise their child in a poor village or work far away in the city and provide their child with a better quality of life. There are social and emotional consequences unfortunately for these children. A sense of abandonment and an increase depressive and anxious feelings is common in LBC. Left Behind Children are not only in China, but are all around the world. Philippines has around 9 Million (CNN) and Indonesia has around 1 Million (UNICEF), Moldova has 177, 000 and Romania is at 350, 000 (icmhd).

As it is Thanksgiving, we reflect on what we have. We have a greater appreciation for food, shelter, friends, family, work, and an education. Reach out to those in need during this holiday season and learn more about the ways you may use your gifts to empower the future for these neglected children around the world!

 

Sources

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/03/world/asia/philippines-forgotten-children

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/iwp2005_05.pdf

http://icmhd.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/migration-displacement-and-children-left-behind-clbs/

 

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LBC with Foreign Passports

childrenwithpassports

(all children in above picture have foreign passports)

The hard-working parents of left behind children migrate to the States to find better paying jobs. Foreign passports are distributed to children yet it is expressed that “Kids generally leave China aged 5, because their US passports are only valid for five years,” (Chinese Time).

Consequently LBC are then raised by grandparents or extended family who cannot provide the parental comfort the children desire. An illusion of comfort by the toys and other gifts sent from America is not enough. A child’s greatest hope is to join their parents in the States but it is important to examine  the parents’ greatest hope, which is is for their child to effectively integrate into American society.

Accommodating this wish, some schools for left behind children teach English and Chinese to prepare them for their future in America.”Giving birth to a child in the States is a wonderful dream, but a very costly one too,” Song Jingwen states. It is expensive for maternity care but it is a privilege to be born in America since it grants one’s parents with an ability to emigrate to America later on and provides a bilingual education for the child that is given higher priority to enter good Chinese schools.

A 4 year old Chinese boy, Liu, was born in America and sent to China at 3 months. With a name of Eddie on his US passport, he is one of the LBC with foreign passports that were forced to live with a family member in China. Liu’s mom works long hours in America and is unable to take care of her child. Grandparents or relatives attempt to provide the child care before the child is able to go back to America and live with parents continuing their education at age 4 or 5. “But nice preschools and family care can’t replace the absence of parental interaction,” (CCTV reporter Lin Nan). In the kindergarten of interest in this CCTV article, 80% of students owned US passports.

Pitying the child left behind with a parent overseas, family tends to spoil the child and fail to provide them the parental attachments needed for healthy development. Emigration from poor villages to rich cities in America leaves the parent with no time to physically provide care for their child, but also leaves them with a justification for their actions. They believe the child is well fed, loved, and provided with a privileged life.

passport

“These children all hold foreign passports, as their migrant worker parents have all gone to other countries - mostly the United States - to work.”

 

sign

US-China, two-way express. Pick up from airports, packages, children” reads a sign that illustrates the issue of the shipping children overseas.

 

Sources:

China’s “Born in the USA” Frenzy – TIME http://content.time.com/time/world/article

www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/01/chinas_left_behind_children?page=0,0/0,8599,2077693,00.html#ixzz2kXtcPopz

www.chinesetimeschool.com/en-us/articles/the-left-behind-generation/3/

content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2077693,00.html

www.womenofchina.cn/html/womenofchina/report/165763-1.htm

http://offbeatchina.com/left-behind-american-children-in-china

http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20121230/102623.shtm

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