Central China city encourages children participation in community management

(Xinhua) 15:10, September 28, 2022

CHANGSHA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- In the city of Changde, central China's Hunan Province, children approached the podium one by one to express their findings on improper behaviors in daily life.

"Casual littering degrades the beauty of our home," said one. "It is impolite to discuss other people's private business," offered another.

The activity, conducted by the Little Raindrop Youth Social Work Service Center, aims to enhance children's sense of involvement in the management of the local community.

Among the participants was 10-year-old Yueyue, who had seen people littering and walking their dogs without leashes, and decided to share her thoughts with others.

During the girl's speech, she categorized the improper acts of people in her community, pondered the problems and explained her proposals in detail.

Most of the participants in the "children's council" are "left-behind" children or disadvantaged children, according to Chen Xu, the project director of the Little Raindrop Youth Social Work Service Center.

"We hope that, by encouraging them to participate in community governance, they will learn to actively express their ideas and needs, and be more confident," Chen said.

In Libaixi Village, 13-year-old Chengcheng discovered the phenomenon of numerous speeding vehicles, especially at times when kids were going to school. "Will this pose a risk to the safety of students going to school?" he asked.

In response, Zhu Jianxi, Party chief of Libaixi Village, called for the installation of crosswalks near the school, and for the adjacent open area to be used as a parking place for parents, allowing them to pick up their children more safely.

"It's clear that the issues raised by Chengcheng are real, and his recommendations are sound. The many perspectives of the youth can be used to build a better village environment," said Zhu, adding that once the children's ideas have been implemented, they will be invited to monitor their success.

"We want to enable children to actively voice their views and needs," said Chen.

So far, Changde's "children's council" had held 24 meetings, with a total of 360 children taking part.

"We plan on making Changde a more enjoyable and friendly place for children to live in," Chen added.

On the topic of environmental protection, some children have suggested designing and making a booklet to encourage protection of the environment and collecting interesting slogans with prizes.

"Every youngster and adult should be involved in creating a platform for equal discourse and communication among children, with the ultimate goal of constructing a child-friendly society," said Chen.

In 2021, China's National Development and Reform Commission and 22 other departments issued a guidance document on promoting the construction of child-friendly cities. It proposed that, by 2025, 100 pilot child-friendly cities should be built across the country in a bid to improve children's living environments, as well as taking their rights into consideration during policy development, among other proposals.

"I suddenly feel like I can also make a difference to my community," said An Ran, a 10-year-old participant in the "children's council." 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Hongyu)


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