|The social workers taught students dancing and played games with them, but the most important lesson was to teach students how to communicate with others. [Henan Women's Federation / Zhang Hongqiu]|
Over this year's summer vacation, Baofeng County Government in central China's Henan Province has invested over 100,000 yuan (U.S. $16,170) in local qualified schools, with much of the money going towards site rental and staff hiring, so as to provide day-care services for 'left-behind' children during their summer vacation, benefiting more than 1,000 children in six non-governmental schools.
'Left-behind children' refers to underprivileged children, whose parents have left their homes to seek better paying jobs in cities. Grade-three pupil Ma Liping is one such child.
Ma Liping has been living with her 74-year-old grandfather Ma Xiaoyu for years. Ma's grandfather not only does farm work, but also has to herd sheep, as well as taking care of his 9-year-old granddaughter. Several years ago, Ma's parents left home to serve as doorkeepers in southern China. In order to save money, both of them have not come back home for two years. As before, Liping always herds sheep with her grandfather in the morning and returns in the evening. But this year, Ma has benefited from social workers who have taken care of her by placing her in a school with her other schoolmates.
All of these social workers come from the School of Public Administration at Zhengzhou University. Earlier this year, Baofeng County was awarded as a demonstration district for National Social Work Services. Among this first batch of 61 demonstration sites, Baofeng is the only county-level site in Henan Province. The School of Public Administration at Zhengzhou University has cooperated with the local government and the initiative kicked off on July 7 in Xiaguang Primary School in Baofeng County. The social workers taught students dancing and played games with them, but the most important lesson was to teach students how to communicate with others.
A headmaster told reporters that the day-care services during summer vacation are not to focus on study, but to take good care of these 'left-behind' children.
Xiao Longjun, who is in charge of the 'Free Lunch Project' sponsored by the China Social Welfare Foundation, has also undertaken research in Baofeng, and is pondering the possibility of launching this initiative across China.
(Provided by Henan Women's Federation / Translated by Women of China)
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