[ ‘SHARE’ Sep-Oct 2016 ] JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS
Written by: Tsun Wan Yan
Development is often a two-sided sword that wields both benefits and issues. “Migrant worker” is no longer a novel term after being featured so much by the media of Hong Kong and China in the stories of developments. Kunming is one of the main destinations in where farmers wish to improve their living conditions and search for new opportunities, often bringing their children along with them. However, harsh truths await them behind the dreams. Without proper household registration, the migrant children could not access education, medical, and social security benefits. Busy parents lack the time to stay with their children, and the majority of the families could not afford private schools. Under such circumstances, migrant children are likely to inherit the poverty status of their families.
CEDAR’s partner, the Migrant Children Care Centre in Kunming, saw the needs in the migrant families and responded with actions to help the migrant children to adapt to the city life. The centre provides services through its library, children’s choir, and interest classes, where children could develop and grow in good hands. Our partner plans their work around the goal to care for the migrant children’s physical, mental, and spiritual needs, and to protect children rights. Migrant children are given leading roles in activities such as drawing safety maps, where they act as young volunteers in promoting road and communication safety while strengthening their confidence and partnership skills. The centre also hosts family events for the parents who lack the time to see their children to give them opportunities to leave beautiful memories.
Churches in Hong Kong volunteered to help the migrant children in Kunming too. The Hong Kong Chinese Church of Christ – Wah Fung (HKCCCWF) has been supporting CEDAR’s work in Yunnan and sharing our work with its members since 2011. This year in July, Rev. Kwong of the church, together with three young members, Fung, Ming, and Ken, went to Kunming and volunteered in the Hope Summer Camp hosted by our partner. The three young men were invited by the pastors of the church to serve with an international team of volunteers in the migrant children summer camp before going to college. They did storytelling, played games, and taught basic English in the Hope Summer Camp, and had a joyous and meaningful vacation with the local children.
The young believers told us that they have learned a lot in the experience. They mentioned the novel experience of holding the children’s hand to use the restrooms, which might seem trivial and might not contribute much in improving their conditions, but it was in such tiny matters where the young men could fully engage and bond with the migrant children while forming great memories.
The Hope Summer Camp only lasted a week, but the three believers were deeply touched by the children’s genuineness and the selflessness of the volunteers from everywhere. They planned to share with their brothers and sisters in church about the trip and mobilize more people to go with them next year, where they could care for the neighbors far away and love the migrant families with the love and grace given to them by God.