There are an estimated 6.44 million ‘left behind children’ in China. (These are children that often live with grandparents or other relatives while their parents work in urban areas.)
Parents of left behind children may see each their children only once or twice a year, and the prolonged separation disrupts parent–child attachment and can have a significant impact on a child’s development as well as parents’ wellbeing.
The Ethical Tea Partnership along with its member, DAVIDsTEA and producer, Zhejiang Kainon Trading have identified the need to bring children and parents together through a safe educational space in a tea community in Zhejiang Province.
The pilot is running for one year, and children all have the opportunity to learn and play in a secure and safe environment, near their parents. The children are provided with a hot meal, and have the opportunity to learn about sciences and technology as well as mental health awareness and improved wellbeing.
There are also optional courses for their primary caregivers (parents) to learn about child and parent relationships, nutrition, maternal health and improved literacy and life skills.
The pilot will reach between 30 to 50 children and their families across the tea community. This initiative is implemented and monitored through a partnership with The Centre for Child Rights and Business, (a social enterprise specialised in providing services to support families, children, and youth throughout workplace supply chains).
The opening ceremony for this pilot took place on July 11 2022 at the Zhejiang Kainong Trading Co. facility. The ceremony was attended by ETP's regional team, as well as government officials, the local women’s committee and UNICEF China.
The pilot will reach between 30 to 50 children and their families across the tea community.
Dr. Xing Ma, Regional Director (East Asia) for the Ethical Tea Partnership comments
“While China has made big strides to reach the Sustainable Development Goals to improve overall quality education (SDG4) and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), there is much more work that needs to be done on child rights and protection, especially when we refer to those 6 million left behind children.
“We know that providing a nurturing and secure environment to encourage parent and child bonding will have positive outcomes. We are interested in utilising the findings from this pilot to see how we can develop other projects and programmes that put families at their core.”
Sarah Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Brand Officer of DAVIDsTEA adds
“The wellbeing of our tea community is a priority for us at DAVIDsTEA. Together with our partners, C.A.M.P. (Child-friendly Areas for Meaningful Positivitea) will provide a safe and nurturing educational environment where children of communities from which we source our tea, can bond with their families.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Ethical Tea Partnership and Zhejiang Kainon Trading to address these issues and bring this project to life.”