The Migrant Children Foundation, Filling the Gap
   2013-06-09 14:28:30      Web Editor: Yang Yang

Non-profit organizations are common within the developing world, especially in those countries where charity is still in its early stages of maturity. In China's first tier cities, a number of non-profit organizations have emerged in order to fill the gap in resources when it comes to educating the children of migrant workers.

China's hukou system can often be constraining for migrant workers who are unable to benefit from the same levels of social security and state-subsidized services that permanent residents are entitled to. As a result, the amount of educational resources on offer for the children of migrant workers can sometimes fall short of basic requirements, especially from a European or American perspective.

Helen Boyle, Founder and Director of the Migrant Children Foundation (MCF) in Beijing, arrived in China in 2008 and decided that she wanted to make a difference after learning about the situation of schools for migrant children within the capital. Within a year, Boyle set up the Migrant Children Foundation in order to contribute what little she could to those children who were in need of basic educational resources.

When asked whether the local government was falling short in terms of its responsibility to cater to the needs of migrant children, Boyle provided a slightly different view from the one that many people might assume. According to Boyle, the local government is spending large amounts of money on individual schools, which educate the children of migrant workers, in order to improve standards in terms of both structure and resources. However, the problem that the local government in Beijing is facing is becoming ever more acute as an increasing number of migrants flock to the city in search of employment and settle permanently within Beijing.

"[The local government] are learning themselves how they can support or help these children and schools. I really don't think they're falling short in terms of support but I'm not here to criticize whether they're falling short or not; I'm here to do something positive for these children," Boyle told CHINATALKS. 

As a result of this learning curve for local governments around China, organizations and institutions like the MCF are vital. Not only does the MCF help children in the classrooms, the organization also teams up with private companies both in and outside of China in order to allow disadvantaged children to visit hospitals and undergo health checkups that they might not ordinarily be able to attend due to cost.

In the schools themselves, the MCF works alongside some of Beijing's top universities and educational institutions like the Royal Society of Chemistry and Peking University to provide programs and classes, such as their recent ˇ°Fun with Scienceˇ± session, which allow students to learn and have fun with resources that their schools would not be able to provide without the help of MCF and partner institutions.

As Helen Boyle told CHINATALKS, as China's urbanization drive continues, "there will be a tipping point for the government to provide funds for educating these children," but as the learning process continues, the MCF will endeavor to help disadvantaged children in order to provide them with the same kind of opportunities that more fortunate children are afforded.


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