Charity, Uncategorized VOLUNTEERING AT A MIGRANT SCHOOL 31 March 2010

Chris and I volunteered at a migrant children’s school over the weekend, doing simple things like teaching them some English, drawing and playing games. Nothing life-changing or anything for these children, but we all had a good time 🙂 The thing that surprised me most was the school’s location. It looked like a bomb site. With Shanghai going through crazy renovations right now (in preparation of the Expo), everything’s being torn apart. In this particular area, almost all the surrounding buildings were reduced to rubble.. so one minute you’re walking in a bustling street market, and the next it’s super dusty and dirty rubble with tractors all over the place. It’s not healthy nor safe for the kids, so it was a bit sad to see that this is where they are most of the day 🙁

The kids are from out of Shanghai. Their parents (called migrant workers) moved from other provinces to find work in Shanghai, but non-Shanghainese children can’t enter the government run schools in Shanghai (this is what I’ve heard, correct me if I’m wrong). I can’t understand why, but that’s just how it is. Fortunately, the federal government steps in by opening these schools that these migrant children can attend.. but the conditions aren’t great. Still, the school that we were at was one of the more fortunate ones – the teacher’s desk even had a computer and the classroom had a projector. However, the kids are crammed into classrooms and I didn’t get the feeling they got quality attention from the teachers, since there are just too many kids in the class.

They’re adorable though. So bright and inquisitive, and SMART!!!!! I don’t interact with many (or rather, any) 10 year old kids.. so I guess I don’t have much of a frame of reference. But I was pretty shocked at how quickly they absorbed knowledge, and how good their English was. Basically, they could speak more words in English, than Chris and I could in Chinese. Impressive, right?!

It was really interesting and fun to be with these kids, and I was just floored at how quickly they learned English words. In fact, they even taught me some Chinese words in return, *LOL*!


Found a wee, meowing kitten in the side streets. I could fit it in the palm of my hand.

*()#%*)#$!!! SO CUTE I COULD FAINT. It also had a (shy) sibling behind it

All snuggled up

OMGGGGGGG *heart melts into a quivery puddle*

Live chickens, ducks and quails! The Chinese get ’em killed/plucked right there,
then take it home to cook. Talk about super fresh…

The migrant school area, looking like we’re in an Afghanistan war zone.
It was SO dirty and dusty, sad to think the kids study/play in this area..

A construction worker takes a break

An old man in a half-torn down house. Where’s he gonna go if/when the pull it down?

Outside the tiny entrance into the school

The classroom with a ton of very boisterous kids!

A very hot English teacher 😉

The boys were so cute, and man their English was good!
They knew more English than we did Chinese..

One of the boys writing/drawing stuff he likes

‘elo!

Pretty girls I was working with

One of the girls’ cute drawing

Me and another volunteer working with them on their drawings

Chris, me, and other volunteers with the kids

Girls playing during break-time

Playing “duck, duck, goose!” outside, with Chris being chased around by a kid 😛

Tag relay game. Can you spot Chris?

A small snack at a dirty ‘ol Chinese shop afterwards. Dumplings and deep-fried pork cutlet!


50 Comments

  • specialagentldy posted on March 31, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Did you keep the kitten? 😀

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 7:23 am

      Noooo… actually we went back after the volunteering, but the kitten was gone 🙁

      Reply
  • somnistra posted on March 31, 2010 at 7:43 am

    That kitten is freaking adoraaable!!!! *squee*

    So nice of you and Chris to always be volunteering!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:07 am

      I knoooow, was so tempted to take it home!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on March 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Hey Beverly! I know you through Laundromatic message board from when you used to post ages ago.. I keep coming back to your journal because I love reading your food posts/etc hehe 🙂

    I’m actually based in Nanjing at the moment (moved here from London almost 3 years ago) and was surprised to find that you’re in Shanghai!

    Anyway, I’m guessing that the reason why the migrant children can’t go to the government-run schools has to do with their ‘hukou’. Every Chinese person has a ‘hukou’ (identity card) and the hukou is from the place where you are from. When a Chinese person moves from their city/area to a different area for work, they have to apply for a permit from the local government, etc. It’s probably really hard for these people to apply for the permits for their children to go a government-run school because of the number of students, etc (and also migrant workers are really second-class citizens here, to be honest) so that’s likely why they have their ‘own’ school.

    🙂

    -Jenny

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Ooo cool, how are you finding Nanjing? Shame you aren’t in SHanghai too!

      Ahh yes I remember the hukou thing, its sad to see these kids not having top priority schooling though:(

      Reply
  • angelnotes posted on March 31, 2010 at 9:57 am

    So sad to see the kids being in such living conditions. 🙁

    If there’s anything that we can do for them over here, pls lemme know!

    p/s: Love that kitty pic too. 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

      yeah.. it was sad to see 🙁 At least the kids looked happy and ok!

      Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:06 am

    So what happened to the kitten? 🙁

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

      One of the stall owners there looks after it fortunately.. and gives em some food and water.. whew

      Reply
      • eviltofu posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

        Good to hear! 🙂

        Reply
  • specialagentldy posted on March 31, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Did you keep the kitten? 😀

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 7:23 am

      Noooo… actually we went back after the volunteering, but the kitten was gone 🙁

      Reply
  • drshree posted on March 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Kudos to both of you! Is this a ad hoc thing or is there like a programme for the volunteers??

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      There are a few groups that do volunteering around Shanghai, and it’s great to meet new people too. I love it 🙂

      Reply
  • somnistra posted on March 31, 2010 at 7:43 am

    That kitten is freaking adoraaable!!!! *squee*

    So nice of you and Chris to always be volunteering!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:07 am

      I knoooow, was so tempted to take it home!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on March 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Hey Beverly! I know you through Laundromatic message board from when you used to post ages ago.. I keep coming back to your journal because I love reading your food posts/etc hehe 🙂

    I’m actually based in Nanjing at the moment (moved here from London almost 3 years ago) and was surprised to find that you’re in Shanghai!

    Anyway, I’m guessing that the reason why the migrant children can’t go to the government-run schools has to do with their ‘hukou’. Every Chinese person has a ‘hukou’ (identity card) and the hukou is from the place where you are from. When a Chinese person moves from their city/area to a different area for work, they have to apply for a permit from the local government, etc. It’s probably really hard for these people to apply for the permits for their children to go a government-run school because of the number of students, etc (and also migrant workers are really second-class citizens here, to be honest) so that’s likely why they have their ‘own’ school.

    🙂

    -Jenny

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Ooo cool, how are you finding Nanjing? Shame you aren’t in SHanghai too!

      Ahh yes I remember the hukou thing, its sad to see these kids not having top priority schooling though:(

      Reply
  • angelnotes posted on March 31, 2010 at 9:57 am

    So sad to see the kids being in such living conditions. 🙁

    If there’s anything that we can do for them over here, pls lemme know!

    p/s: Love that kitty pic too. 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

      yeah.. it was sad to see 🙁 At least the kids looked happy and ok!

      Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:06 am

    So what happened to the kitten? 🙁

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

      One of the stall owners there looks after it fortunately.. and gives em some food and water.. whew

      Reply
      • eviltofu posted on March 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

        Good to hear! 🙂

        Reply
  • drshree posted on March 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Kudos to both of you! Is this a ad hoc thing or is there like a programme for the volunteers??

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      There are a few groups that do volunteering around Shanghai, and it’s great to meet new people too. I love it 🙂

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on April 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

    The kids go to school on a weekend?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 1, 2010 at 2:03 am

      Everyday, 7 days a week.. cos their parents are migrants and work 7 days a week :X

      Reply
  • educatingb posted on April 1, 2010 at 12:57 am

    SQUEEEEEEE! That kitten is THE most adorable thing! Its tail is so tiny, and its head is so big! Just too cute!

    I’m sure you answer this questions a lot, so I’m sorry to ask… What camera do you use? You always have such great shots!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 1, 2010 at 2:04 am

      I know OMGGGG my heart melted into a puddle of goo.

      Panasonic Lumix LX3, tis’ awesome 🙂

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on April 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

    The kids go to school on a weekend?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 1, 2010 at 2:03 am

      Everyday, 7 days a week.. cos their parents are migrants and work 7 days a week :X

      Reply
  • educatingb posted on April 1, 2010 at 12:57 am

    SQUEEEEEEE! That kitten is THE most adorable thing! Its tail is so tiny, and its head is so big! Just too cute!

    I’m sure you answer this questions a lot, so I’m sorry to ask… What camera do you use? You always have such great shots!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 1, 2010 at 2:04 am

      I know OMGGGG my heart melted into a puddle of goo.

      Panasonic Lumix LX3, tis’ awesome 🙂

      Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on April 2, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Aw kitties, So beautiful, I hope they’ll be okay.

    Good to at least see those kids looking pretty happy, but wow, out in the middle of all that!

    That photo of the old man by the house really pulled at me. Wow.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

      Incredibly, that man at the house has a whole (sad) story behind it (linkbelow).. i found out the next day!

      Reply
      • thefragrantelf posted on April 8, 2010 at 2:01 am

        Oh no 🙁 That’s pretty sad. I hope they end up taking the apartment.

        Reply
  • good_lenchik posted on April 2, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Did you see this http://shanghaiist.com/2010/04/01/meet_the_wangs_residents_of_the_don.php I was surprised to see the same photo with the old man sitting by that destroyed house.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 2, 2010 at 5:24 am

      OMG yeah.. i saw that article the next day. Crazy that we took a photo of him not realising the whole background story, I just thought it was odd he was in the middle of nowhere!

      Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on April 2, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Aw kitties, So beautiful, I hope they’ll be okay.

    Good to at least see those kids looking pretty happy, but wow, out in the middle of all that!

    That photo of the old man by the house really pulled at me. Wow.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

      Incredibly, that man at the house has a whole (sad) story behind it (linkbelow).. i found out the next day!

      Reply
      • thefragrantelf posted on April 8, 2010 at 2:01 am

        Oh no 🙁 That’s pretty sad. I hope they end up taking the apartment.

        Reply
  • good_lenchik posted on April 2, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Did you see this http://shanghaiist.com/2010/04/01/meet_the_wangs_residents_of_the_don.php I was surprised to see the same photo with the old man sitting by that destroyed house.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 2, 2010 at 5:24 am

      OMG yeah.. i saw that article the next day. Crazy that we took a photo of him not realising the whole background story, I just thought it was odd he was in the middle of nowhere!

      Reply
  • roslyn posted on April 11, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Adorable kitten! And I loved this post – really interesting photos of a very different side of Shanghai. You guys looked like you were having heaps of fun with the kids and doing something really positive too. Definitely recommend hanging with children (and as a massive bonus, helping them out!) as a way to feel better about the world. 🙂

    PS. How awesome is Hong Kong!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Yeah, it was real eye opening.. nice way to spend a weekend 🙂 There’s also a really inrteresting (and super sad) story about that old man sitting alone outside the house amidst the ruins – i posted a link in one of my replies up above if you’r einterested!

      Reply
      • roslyn posted on April 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

        Wow – your picture is pretty much identical to the one in that story!! I wondered if it was a nail house – pretty brave of the family to stand up to the Chinese government. I hope they’re alright… :/

        Reply
  • roslyn posted on April 11, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Adorable kitten! And I loved this post – really interesting photos of a very different side of Shanghai. You guys looked like you were having heaps of fun with the kids and doing something really positive too. Definitely recommend hanging with children (and as a massive bonus, helping them out!) as a way to feel better about the world. 🙂

    PS. How awesome is Hong Kong!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on April 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Yeah, it was real eye opening.. nice way to spend a weekend 🙂 There’s also a really inrteresting (and super sad) story about that old man sitting alone outside the house amidst the ruins – i posted a link in one of my replies up above if you’r einterested!

      Reply
      • roslyn posted on April 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

        Wow – your picture is pretty much identical to the one in that story!! I wondered if it was a nail house – pretty brave of the family to stand up to the Chinese government. I hope they’re alright… :/

        Reply

    Leave a Reply