Ai You Comfort Life—Rescue and Protection Program for Children Living in Difficulty
According to the sixth national census, 610 thousand children are not under guardianship. If other types of difficulties are taken into account, there are millions of children living in difficulties in China according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In 2016, Guidelines on Strengthening the Assistance for Children Living in Difficulties issued by the State Council pointed out that the CPC Central Committee and the government pay much attention to protecting children’s rights and interests. The legal framework in this regard is improved, protection stepped up and the environment becomes more favorable for the development and thriving of children with the care from their family, government and society. Meanwhile, there are still some children who face difficulties in survival, development and security because of poverty, disability and lack of guardianship.
In 2016, Ai You Foundation initiated the “Ai You Comfort Life Program” - Rescue and Protection Program for Children Living in Difficulty. Through system and capacity building, we explore standards of providing urgently needed services for rural children living in difficulties to help them live a secure and stable life.
Goals of the Program
The program aims at making sure that rural children in remote and poor areas have access to basic welfare services and children living in difficulties can access special services. We will set up a system to monitor the implementation of programs and collect feedback. This system should be readily accessible and economical. Specific goals are as follow:
1. Building a system to provide urgently needed welfare services for rural children in areas where pilot programs are carried out;
2. Building a team to enhance professionalism in delivering welfare services for rural children;
3. Exploring standards of these services to improve the livelihood of rural children;
4. Exploring new approaches in building a system to deliver such services and providing suggestions for policymakers.
Through the achievement of these goals, children living in difficulties can enjoy better life, education, medical services and mental health. We try to instill values like loving one’s country, hometown and life in children receiving help so that they can not only be lifted out of physical and emotional pain caused by those difficulties but also stay positive in their lives. We can improve the livelihood of several generations by making a difference for these children.
Ai You set up a platform coordinating effort of government, social organizations and donors to deliver children’s welfare services and rights protection. We aim at achieving the following five goals using this platform:
1. Exploring a model that can provide welfare services to rural children in an efficient, economical and scientific way;
2. Defining the standard for welfare services for children living in difficulties;
3. Nurturing professional talents dedicated to providing children welfare services at community level;
4. Introduce advanced technology of international children’s welfare services, improve the professional level of domestic institutions;
5. Building capacity of social organizations focusing on children’s wellbeing in China. Through research and practice on this platform, we hope to improve children’s welfare in China and help policymaking and implementation.
Orphans de Facto, left-behind children, migrant children and other children facing special difficulties
Two hundred villages in thirteen counties in six provinces, namely Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Qinghai are the first to see the program implemented. According to local conditions, Ai You chooses 10-40 administrative villages in each county to carry out the program.
It has been decided that 20 villages of Zhenxiong County, Zhaotong City, Yunnan; 10 villages of Yudu County, Ganzhou City, Jiangxi; 10 villages of Wannian County, Shangrao City, Jiangxi; 10 villages of Taihu County, Anqing City, Anhui; 10 villages of Huaiyuan County, Bengbu City, Anhui; 40 villages of Yuexi County, Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan; 20 villages of Jiulong County Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan; 20 villages of Litang County, Sichuan; 10 villages of Zhijin County, Bijie City, Guizhou; 10 villages of Zheng’an County, Zunyi City, Guizhou; 10 villages of Tongzi County, Guizhou; 10 villages of Suiyang County, Guizhou and 20 villages from several counties of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai will be included in the program.
The program is implemented in communities where children living in difficulties concentrate. We will build a service network for them, explore the model and mechanism to provide aid and protection for them, nip problems they face in survival, education and development in the bud to promote protection of children’s rights and interests.
1. We will build a service network with a children’s welfare guiding counselor as its core.
We will send a full-time employee to each village and hold training on children welfare, rights, social work methods and basic skills by leveraging expertise of professional groups. An expert panel is responsible for guiding consultation. In this way, we can train local villagers willing to contribute to children welfare to become guiding counselors with professional knowledge to ensure that the welfare network with them as the core can cover the whole area.
2. We will build Ai You House to provide necessary facilities.
Ai You House is a shelter for children seeking help and comforting. It also serves as an office for guiding counselors and a facility for children to play games in and access welfare services. Each village in the program will be equipped with a newly-built or adapted children’s home with necessary facilities. This multi-functional service center can help enhance emotional, cognitive and social ability of children in these villages.
3. Social protection for children with special needs
The program also provides cash support, medical aid, reference services, temporary shelter and professional mental health consultation for children with special needs to ensure that they can overcome survival and development difficulties as soon as possible.