A no-longer lonely waiting heart

Jiajia is now in 3rd Grade. Like most other kids in school, Jiajia’s parents are not with her. In the village where Jiajia lives, 80 percent of the villagers have been migrated to the county town or other areas, leaving behind the old, women and children. 70 to 80 percent children in the village are left-behind children. For those living in the village, paddy and cotton growing are their main source of income.

“I don’t remember my parents’ phone number,” said Jiajia. Her parents asked Jiajia’s aunty to take care of her while they are away. Every time when they call, Jiajia’s aunty would answer the phone and then pass to Jiajia, therefore she couldn't remember the phone number. She missed her parents a lot and had always been expecting their phone call.

“She used to be very quiet and always sitting aside, looking at other children playing. But now, she communicate actively with others. She even directed some performance with other kids. It is certain that the more activity she participates in, the more confident she will be,” said the Principal of Jiajia’s school.

Because of the frequent child safety issues occur in Duchang, such as traffic accident, drowning, etc., teachers also feedback about left-behind kids being more rebellious and asocial than others, World Vision started to pay attention to the left-behind children problem in Duchang. Since 2007, Duchang Project Office have done lots of projects and activities in both communities and schools to take care of the left-behind children and build their confidence.

In recent years, World Vision strengthened its cooperation with communities by setting up children entertainment area in communities, inviting women volunteers to look after the children, setting up left-behind children care centre, etc. Such strategies not only provide children a safe place to play at, but also enhance villagers’ sense of mutual aid, leveraged their awareness and capability of looking after the left-behind children.

The rising attention being paid onto the left-behind kids has win supports from migrant parents. In recent years, more and more parents take active part in activities held by World Vision, they will spend more time together with their children. "I do want to see my child as long as I’ve got time”, “How can we not care about our kids when knowing others paying so much efforts on them”, said the parents. They took leave to get back to the village to see the performance of their kids. During the performance, the kids all unconsciously stared longer at the crowd, hoping to find their parents. The participation of parents brought warm and hope for kids who have been waiting for long.

Support from the Principal was a huge encouragement to World Vision staffs. As more and more young teachers accepted training from World Vision, more diverse activities have been held in the campus. Under the lead of women group in the community, they held some activities to care left-behind children. Through family show and games, communication between children and their parents has been enhanced. Such activities in some way also promote the sense of caring for left-behind kids among the villagers.

Jiajia had also participated in a summer camp activity, during which participants would play games together and also visit wastewater treatment plant and industrial park under the guidance of teachers and World Vision staffs. “I thought that would be only games and fun, but actually it was more than that. I can not only play with a lot of friends, but also visit places where our parents would have chance to work at”, Jiajia said. It was her first time to know her parents work place.

During the event, Jiajia suddenly cried out, which surprised everyone. It turned out that she felt sad when heard another kid called mom. “I really wish my parents are here with me”, Jiajia said.

World Vision aims at improving the wellbeing of left-behind kids through leveraging personal capability of the kids and promote the sense of caring of parents and communities. In villages of China, there's a lot of kids like Jiajia. We hope that the care from communities can alleviate their loneliness. What’s more important, the accompany of parents is what can really bring them the chance to call “dad” and “mom” in the face, rather than waiting in front of a phone.

 

(Written by Chancy Chen & Xia Yuan)