Solving the challenges facing ‘left-behind children’ requires efforts from everyone

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On June 9th, four “left-behind children (留守儿童)” committed suicide in their home in Bijie, Guizhou. The tragic incident follows another three years ago, when five left-behind children died in Bijie after lighting a fire in a dustbin.

The tragedy has once again brought national attention to the many problems facing children left behind by China’s migrant labourers. A Nanfang Daily article argues that these problems aren’t easy to solve and require coordinated efforts from both government and non-government.

According to the article there are two possible solutions: one is to have parents come home (让爸妈回家) and the other one is to have children leave with their parents (跟爸妈离开). These might sound simple but to really implement them requires big changes and coordinated effort. The core reason for these parents to leave their hometown to work is that many people in rural areas like Guizhou live in poverty and hope to change their situation by moving to a a city. Persuading these parents to come home requires the creation of job opportunities and welfare benefits. Giving the option of children leaving with their parents requires major education and social welfare issues to be solved in receiver areas.

The Nanfang Daily suggests that in order to provide these children with more caring services, such as mental health care and psychological comfort, everyone should be involved including government and non-government. It says that government can’t always solve all the problems and that social organizations (NGOs) should be encouraged to contribute.