In China, large numbers of rural children have been left in the care of grandparents, or other family members who are often too poor to provide adequate care. Why? Their parents, about 274 million (http://bit.ly/1EFAOnF) migrant workers, have gone to the big cities for work. Many of these children face emotional pain, as they miss their parents who are often gone for almost a year at a time. In response to this great need, a Student Services Centre was opened in January 2014 and then a year later, a second centre.
“One of our students, Andy (not his real name) an 11-year-old boy who’s being raised by his grandparents, was a very mischievous child who liked to fight with others and was always breaking the heart of his grandmother,” shares staff member Ping. “This child was often overlooked and misunderstood, and he thought that everything he did was wrong. He was like a broken jar. Every Saturday he would ride his bicycle to the Centre to participate in our program. We used games, a sharing time and prizes to encourage him and let him know that he is a special and excellent boy. With our attention, care and understanding, he has slowly changed and is growing up to be a sensitive and generous person who is willing to help others. We have become his family. We hope that every child who comes to this Centre will grow up happy, and live each day to the fullest.”
Another staff member Xiang Jiao shares, “They discovered that they are not alone. Now they are very different. Now they can play together, and they openly share with us their hurts and their joys. When there is an argument, they are the first to apologize. They are willing to forgive and embrace others…and they are attracting many other children to join…causing us to have more new friends and family. I am thankful for them…they have shown me that if we want change to happen, we must first change ourselves.”