Straits Times: Social Cost of Migrant Work on China’s Left-Behind Children

Ever since her son and daughter-in-law moved to Shanghai to look for work, Madam Lu Jincai has been taking care of their five- and three-year-old grandson. At the age of 62, not only is she responsible for her grandchildren’s upbringing, she also has to take grueling, hour-long day trips to toil the fields while carrying them on her back. Although it is very hard on her, Madam Lu’s said, “Of course, it’s tough having to farm and look after a young one at our age, but it’s the only way for our family to make ends meet…Our son did not have a choice as we’re just too poor.”

This story, reported in a recent article published by the Straits Time, is just one out of millions of others in China, where the massive migration of rural residents to cities in search for work has left an estimated 61 million left-behind children without the care of one or both parents. Despite the fact that the topic of left-behind children in China is not a new one, this article provides yet another important picture of the struggles that these children and their caretakers face.

These social costs, however, are not irreparable. Citing CCR CSR’s director Ines Kaempfer, the article mentions ways in which the private sector can improve the situation such as foreign firms, in conjunction with their supplier, setting up child-friendly facilities to reduce the number of left-behind children.

Read the full article here


Friday, May 20, 2016