To spend time with their parents, get hugs and share the events of their day are things that all children ought to be able to take for granted, but the fact is that many children only meet their parents once a year. Here you can read about how we started a summer school in China that makes it possible for the children of factory workers to spend the summer with their parents.
Children live without their parents
In China, it’s customary for the production of goods to be concentrated in certain areas, while the workforce often comes from other parts of the country. This means that many parents have no choice but to leave their homes for the sake of their jobs. The solution for these families is for the children to stay behind in their home town or village and live with their grandparents – but without their parents.
Our philosophy is based on a child’s need for closeness.
The same is true for our suppliers in China, where working parents have to live far away from their children. This is painful for us because it goes against our philosophy that a child needs closeness in order to feel safe. This is why we’re trying to influence and improve the situation for these families by staying in one place instead of moving our production somewhere else.
Good relationships essential for change
We’ve been working with the same factory in China for 17 years, and in that long time we’ve been able to create good relationships and improve working conditions for the factory employees. Some sewing workers have been employed at the factory for over 10 years and we see that as proof that change is heading in the right direction. It’s incredibly important to us that the workers at the factory are happy and want to keep working there, since we want our products to be sewn by experienced and skilled employees.
Summer school reunites families
We started a project in 2017 to find out what specific measures we could implement to improve the lives of the factory workers and their children. After talking to the people working in the factory, it became clear that they wanted to be closer to their children, but that they neither had the time nor the money to travel home to their families, apart from during the Chinese New Year.
The children get to play, do arts and crafts, play sports and learn English.
As the children attend school in their home towns and villages, they can only visit their parents during the summer holidays, but often it’s impossible for their parents to receive them. So the solution was a summer school close by the factory, where the children get to play, do arts and crafts, play sports and learn English during the days. In the evenings and at weekends, they can spend time with their parents. BabyBjörn and our Chinese supplier jointly fund the summer school – everything from travel and accommodation to food and school supplies. The first summer school was held in 2018 and we’ll be sharing the experiences just as soon as we’ve put them together.
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