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English>>China Society

Migrant children need more than food and education

By Zhang Yuchen and He Na (China Daily)

09:17, October 31, 2012

A report analyzing the needs of migrant children reveals that in addition to the basic necessities of education and medical care, the disadvantaged young people need more attention paid to their overall development.

"They need more room to develop themselves, not only by having their essential living needs met, but also through the fulfillment of their whole range of personal demands," said Tao Chuanjin, director of the Research Center of Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at Beijing Normal University.

The center and the China Children and Teenagers' Fund conducted the joint research with 45 related organizations in 13 provinces and municipalities over the past six months and released the Framework to Study the Needs of Children in China 2012, in Beijing on Tuesday.

The overarching needs of these children, according to the research, comprises exploring their potential and natural abilities, playing together with companions of the same background and figuring out their hopes and dreams for the future.

According to recent statistics, there are 18.3 million migrant children aged from 1 to 14, accounting for 12 percent of the total population of children in that age range.

Migrant children suffer from inadequate family education resources and extreme expectations because their parents are unlikely to be educated and usually have poor communication with their children's school.

Many migrant parents are individual entrepreneurs such as fruit and vegetable sellers or barbershop owners, and some are manual laborers. They all work long hours with no fixed rest days, which causes a severe lack of emotional communication between children and their parents.

Zhu Shengxian feels regretful when faced with her 7-year-old daughter's disobedient silence. Like other migrants with little awareness of the real needs of their children, the woman from Henan province missed out on nearly all of her daughter's time at preschool.

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