Building a support network for rural children

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Wuding County Zhengxin Social Work Center, established in March 2015, is the first private NGO, or social work organization in China, in Wuding, Yunan Province. Eight years on, it has formed a team of 10 full-time and part-time workers with more than 100 volunteers.


The organization focuses on supporting rural left-behind children and their families, especially children in boarding schools and in distress. Aiming to connect children, families, and resources, Zhengxin is committed to building a safe environment for rural children and constructing a comprehensive network of rural NGO services. 


Right after its establishment, the Zhengxin team started visiting local villages and found that children in distress usually came from households that had been impacted by natural or man-made disasters. These children typically were left without care and help and faced great difficulties in their studies, lives, and development.


Based on the specific family situation of each distressed child, the organization will give one-time transportation allowances or emergency relief allowances to alleviate their financial burdens so that these children can continue their studies and complete their education. 


The organization also works to establish an in-depth relationship with the child and the family. To understand and respond to the needs of the supported child and their family, team members will visit households on the weekends and offer assistance. Through these visits, the team can verify the basic conditions of the child, and conduct follow-up visits and interventions for those in extreme difficulties.


At the same time, Zhengxin pays particular attention to strengthening the recruitment of NGO volunteers and the training of professional NGO workers, supporting the development of local NGOs, and promoting public awareness and support.


By supporting children in distress, the organization is also supporting rural revitalization. From a pilot project in one village benefiting 20 children, the team integrated resources and collaborated with grassroots government departments, now reaching more than 10,000 beneficiaries every year. Its influence is still growing.