The world’s most populous country spreads over large parts of the Asian continent. In recent years, the country has opened its borders to the west and since then has had great economic success. But not without consequences. Intensive levels of production and extraction of oil and gas have led to China having some of the world’s most polluted cities.
The People’s Republic of China has made progress when it comes to children’s rights in recent years. Between 1991 and 2009, child mortality, among other things, decreased drastically and 96 percent of children now complete their nine-year primary school education. One tenth of the country’s population – 128 million people – live in poverty at the same time. Large differences in the availability of, and the quality of, social community services mainly put children in rural areas, ethnic minority groups in the western provinces and children of unemployed parents in the cities in a vulnerable situation.
Some results from the past year
Over the past year, the Chinese government has taken steps to increase the protection of rural children who have remained when their parents moved to the city to find work. A national survey of these children has been carried out with initiatives at ministerial level, which signals success in prioritizing children’s rights.
Over the past year, Plan International has organized activities and training on children’s right to protection for 22,053 children and 3,336 teachers in 163 schools. We have also increased the knowledge about newborns and childhood diseases in 283 people in the care and nursing professions.
To have the opportunity to take control of their own future
I learned that by making as many interpretations as possible of your problem, you will probably find the best solution.
Lian, participant in a workshop and children in a minority group
Lian is one of many children who have been left behind in the countryside when their parents went into town to find work. To strengthen the young people’s skills and knowledge so that they can cope with the transition between school and work later in life, Plan International is arranging a two-day workshop on personal finance and happiness. In the past year, 11,000 young people learned more about and discuss various aspects of issues such as spending, saving, happiness, gender equality, self-awareness and self-defense.
Disaster protection and assistance
Ready when disaster strikes
Small rocks often fall from the mountain when I go to school. It is very dangerous! When it rains a lot, there is so much mud on the roof that there is a risk that it will fall into our heads.
Zhuan Z, 11, schoolboy
Natural disasters are more common now than in the past in Shaanxi Province. Floods and landslides triggered by storms affect human health, the environment and livelihoods. Plan International distributed 1,000 hygiene and school packages to children and families affected by natural disasters during the year. We also work to establish emergency networks in schools and in the communities where we work to reduce the effects of a disaster.
Reading is often said to be the basis of all learning. That is why we are investing in more children discovering the joy that books can bring. In China, it is the students who run the library and it has made the children read more.
The Chinese government has a national plan for all children to learn to read and prioritizes children living in hard-to-reach areas in rural areas, children of migrants and children in poor families. Plan International has conducted a statistical survey that included 350 children from rural areas and it shows that only 32 percent of children read books in their free time. Many school libraries have old books and outdated teaching materials and it turned out that the schools did not have staff with the knowledge to run a library. Therefore, Plan International started a project together with a local organization where the children themselves can learn to take care of the libraries. Vulnerable children and not least girls are encouraged to become volunteers. Hui is one of 36 students from the ethnic minority Yi who learned more about how to use the computer to manage lending.
– It is absolutely incredible that I can scan the book and then the date and the book are entered into the computer. Check this out! My volunteer job is so cool, I feel much more important now, says Hui.
Together with the teachers and Plan International, the students make guidelines for how the libraries should be managed. Activities to increase reading are also done and reading opportunities have been added to the schedule.
– I think technology is very important, this knowledge will be helpful to get a job in the future. I can type 60 characters per minute now and I know how to search the internet for solutions if I encounter problems, says Hui.
It is noticeable that the students have increased their knowledge also in other subjects since the project started and when they graduate, they now get a list of all the books they read during their time at school.
– I’ve never been to a college library, but I’ve seen one on TV. When I grow up, I want to become a librarian at one of these and help people read more, says Fang, another volunteer at the library.
Facts about China
Population: 1,378 million
Life expectancy: 75 years
Infant mortality rate: 9 per 1,000 births
Proportion of children starting school: 86.9%
Proportion of women in parliament: 24.2%