Saturday, October 6, 2012

China's 'left behind' children growing up without parents (BBC video)

Oct. 1 - For many people in China, the mid-autumn festival and National Day holiday, falling within days of each other this year, means a week off work and a chance to spend time with friends and family.
But for millions of China's migrant workers, this is a working week like any other.
Many of them have young children back in their villages and do not see them for months or even years on end.
One Beijing organisation, the All China Women's Federation, estimates there are some 58m of these "left behind children".
This is the story of just one girl, Tang Xiaoqian from Anhui province in central China.

Click on the picture above to watch the video and answer the following questions.
  1. How old is Tang Xiaoqian?
  2. How long has it been since she last saw her mum and dad? 
  3. What do she and her classmates have in common?
  4. How old was she when her parents left home?
  5. Where did they go? Why?
  6. What does she do when she misses them?
  7. Why does she cry when she talks about the speaking competition?
  8. What are her plans for the future regarding her parents and her village? 
Alternatively, you can take the following quiz.

My name is Tang Xiaoqian. I'm eleven years old. I study at ... (name of village) primary school. And it's been eight years since I last saw my mum and dad. Almost all of my classmates are growing up without our parents. They are not at home for us. We are called 'left behind' children. When I was eight months old, my parents left home for Shanghai to find jobs. I live with my grandparents in the mountains. Every time it's New Year my parents say they are too busy to come home. When I miss them, I write a letter, fold it into a boat shape, put it in the river hoping it will reach my mum and dad. Once I represented my school in a public speaking competition in a nearby city. Other children had parents cheering for them. I was just by myself. I want to study hard and go to university one day. I will make a lot of money and buy a big house for my parents. Then we can be together every day. Although the mountains and rivers are beautiful, we can only be farmers here. That's why our parents have to leave to find jobs in big cities, like Shanghai and Beijing. They work very hard in the factories so we can go to school at home. When I grow up, I want to help turn my village into a city with big roads everywhere. I will open a big company and all the parents can come and work here. Then the children won't be separated from their mums and dads any more.

READ an article about China's 'Left-Behind Children'.

WATCH a relevant documentary (in three parts):
Rural China "Children Left Behind" Documentary (part 1 of 3)
Rural China "Children Left Behind" Documentary (part 2 of 3)
Rural China "Children Left Behind" Documentary (part 3 of 3) 

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