Happy Classrooms for Left-Behind Children
The Challenge: Limited Parental Interaction
Left-behind children are a special group of kids in China; their parents are migrant workers working in cities often hundreds of miles away. Most of these children are living with their grandparents or other relatives, who are mostly illiterate. These children usually see their parents only once a year, typically on Chinese New Year, and some may be able to have 2-3 phone calls with their parents a year.
According to the 2010 population census in China, about 61 million children, or every one-in-five kids, were left-behind children. This percentage is even higher in the economically disadvantaged south-western regions.
Research finds that the lack of parental care and interaction has a substantially negative impact on a child’s cognitive development and emotional well-being. Moreover, local schools are mostly poorly equipped, with extremely limited resources for students. One study finds that nearly 60% of left-behind children suffer some mental health problems. In addition, the suicide rate has been on the rise for left-behind children over recent years.
Our Solution: Connect Children with Parents
We set up a HAPPY classroom for left-behind children at rural schools. Each school will have one classroom that will be equipped with at least one computer, a large screen, and other equipment necessary for online communication and learning.
The equipped classroom at each school will be used as a “home” for left-behind children, which allows them to make video calls with their parents regularly and participate in after-school activities together. In this classroom, students will be able to learn from experienced teachers through an online platform.
Teachers and mental health experts from Tianjin and Beijing will be invited to offer special psychological counseling to these children as well. Each HAPPY classroom will also be equipped with a book corner.