The Cho Group Foundation was established by Chairman and CEO Michael Cho to provide financial assistance to abandoned children in China.
As many parents who live in remote areas are forced to relocate to more developed parts of the country in order to find work, their children are left and are generally taken in by grandparents who aren’t able to provide them with proper care.
Due to their geographical locations, these children don’t have access to social help and oftentimes develop inadequately without the love and support of their parents, leading to emotional instability during the most crucial years. The Cho Group steps in to assist these deprived children during their challenging times.
The History behind Abandoned Children
Many people feel that a major issue behind the plight of the abandoned children is China’s household registration system, referred to as hukou. Due to this system, children of parents who migrate for work are not eligible for education and health benefits, so many parents are forced to leave them behind.
Unfortunately, the chances of a left behind child reuniting with their parents are minimal:
- 60% of children are unaware of their parents’ occupations
- Only 30% are able to meet their parents once or twice throughout the year
- 15% are unable to arrange even a single visit
- 25% are contacted by their parents three times or less a year
Roughly 61 million children in China were categorized as “left-behind”, which accounts for a staggering 21% of all children in the country. Some of these children come from more developed parts of the country as well.
The south-western and north-western regions tend to be the most affected in all of China.
Up until the end of 2015, China enforced a one-child policy, which prevented families from raising multiple children. This policy was dismissed, and a new two-child policy went into effect on January 1, 2016.
Due to the patriarchal structured society, girls were unfortunately left behind more often than their male counterparts. External sources of pressure from family and society also contributed to the disproportionate abandonment rate between boys and girls.
Scars Beneath the Surface
Some left behind children do receive free access to education, sponsored by their local government. They tend to keep up with fellow classmates and are provided with equal opportunities to succeed.
These children are also more prone to violent and socially unacceptable behaviors, as many lacked a proper family infrastructure to guide and discipline them. There have even been cases where children were incognizant of the consequences of their crimes, and the rising percentage of juvenile infractions are cause for concern.
Of equal or greater concern is their impaired mental health. Without emotional support, many children aren’t equipped with the mental strength to fend for themselves. They tend to be the targets of bullying and crime, as they simply don’t have a support structure to rely on.
Tragically, this leads to large numbers of children simply giving up, feeling completely hopeless.
Research revealed some alarming statistics:
- 37% of left behind children ages 14-16 have contemplated suicide
- 12% planned to commit suicide
- 6.3% have made an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide
- Overall, left behind children exhibit over a 60% chance of having suicidal motives
In 2015, four children swallowed pesticide, unable to cope with their abandonment by their migrant parents. A discovered suicide note revealed their last words: “Thanks for your kindness. I know you mean well for us, but we should go now.”
Your Contributions Count
The Wall Street Journal compiled a feature on a day in the life of 11 year old Yang Tianmei and 10 year old Yang Hailian. Starting her day at 5am, Yang would complete her homework in the early hours of daybreak,then walk an hour to school, excited at the prospect of going to school as it was her only chance to “be a child”.
The majority of migrant adults had left the region, one of China’s most impoverished, in order to find jobs. Yang revealed that she didn’t even know the whereabout of her mother at the time.
At the age of 6, Yang and her siblings began to provide for themselves, learning how to cook and being responsible for doing homework. As her grandfather was in poor health and illiterate, Yang was forced to take on a heavy burden from a very early age.
When asked if she missed her parents, she quickly denied it, trying in vain to suppress the tears streaming down her cheeks.
Though her parents took the road down the mountain in search of desperately needed work, Yang heads up the mountain to find a bit of solace and a temporary, but fleeting moment of content.
You can make a difference in the lives of abandoned children like Yang Tianmei and Yang Hailian. Donations will ensure that children receive adequate care and education, providing them with an optimal chance of a long and fulfilling life.