130 million people, about one tenth of the entire Chinese population, are either migrant workers or children of migrant workers. According to the 2000 China census, nearly 20 percent of the total migrant population are children; most school aged. Migrating with their parents means children potentially have more opportunities, but migration also means lack of parental care as parents shoulder long working hours. Migrants also face discrimination and instability. Still worse, because of the hukou (household registration) system, migrant children and their parents are ineligible for many benefits and rights of a normal resident. Migrant children are seldom allowed to attend public schools, which are free. Instead, parents have to look for private schools requiring tuition fees, where quality of education is often a concern. In general, there is a lack of middle schools for migrant youth, as most private investment is done in elementary migrant schools.
The Dandelion School was established in 2005 as a non-profit educational institution. It is the first and the only middle school established specifically for children from low-income migrant families in Greater Beijing. The school ensures that migrant youth can enroll and finish middle school (grades 7 to 9), part of the nine-year compulsory education in China. The original classrooms were transformed from an abandoned factory building; Dandelion is building a new school campus. The founders and staff of the school have the vision that education is nurturing a child’s character, through which the world will be made better. The school complies with the State Compulsory Education Law. In addition to state-mandated curricula, it has developed courses to meet the needs of migrant children, such as a “Character Education” program seeking to seamlessly integrate life skills education and education on decision making and citizenship into day-to-day teaching. The Dandelion School was co-founded by Ms. Zheng Hong who is still its principal.
EMpower’s 4th grant to the Dandelion School enables young migrants 12 to 17 years old to gain basic job readiness knowledge and skills, as well as learn and practice crosscutting life skills and qualities needed in the professional world.
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.