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The Case of Maria and Others Left Behind

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A tragic case is of 11 year old Maria, abused at home by her mother. The mother left her in the house for three months to work in Moscow then came back as an alcoholic. She beat her and had sex in front of her damaging her child emotionally with the abuse. This story is very common. A community in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, is suffering from economic and social breakdown caused by a collapse of state-run collective. “As a result, more than half of its working adults go abroad to earn a living wage,” (Milmo).

Another case of Adriana, 13, and 16 year old Gina moved in with their grandmother when there parents went to work in Moscow. Gina became pregnant, was banished, and lived in animal sheds. A study in 2005 found that 110,000 Moldovan children lived in a household where either one or both parents are absent,” (Milmo)

Left Behind Children are found across Europe. Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is another country dealing with temporary labor migration. This means that there is short term emigration from Lithuania parents who leave children to be cared for relatives. Most of the time it is undocumented. According to a 2007 study, 36 percent of children who stayed behind experience noticeable changes in behavior (VAITEKONIENĖ). The first case study recorded children left behind as anxious, lonely and lacking in confidence. The second case study found them to be suffering from anxiety and sadness, loss of appetite and sleep disorders. The final case study compared genders. Boys tend to develop emotional and behavioral disorders while girl are more likely to show symptoms of depression. The term “Left Behind” doesn’t seem to be used, but the problem and the solutions are similar.

Government officials have acted to raise awareness and bring about progress, A conference was held in the European Parliament in Brussels“Left Behind ‐ The impact of economic migration on children left behind and their families” addressed the issue of children left behind in the country of origin when parents move to another European country in search of employment. “This phenomenon is still underestimated and often unknown even if it concerns approximately half million children in the EU. The event gathered experts from across Europe to analyze the situation of transnational families in different European countries,” (eurochild). They addressed the effects of the migration on children and their families. The mission of Global Children’s Vision was also reflect in this conference by looking at the issue in a multi-dimentional perspective through the eyes of psychologists, sociologists, and public policy makers. Their publication on Children Left Behind is available here.
Sources
http://www.eurochild.org/en/events/details/index.html?tx_ttnews%5BpS%5D=1387864342&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1627&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=287&cHash=dcb07a7928a165d97f945b0ee271bf47

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/independent-appeal-help-for-the-children-left-behind-2160539.html

http://www.lituanus.org/2010/10_3_06%20Vaitekoniene.html

 

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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.

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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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