Kids in need of social protection

Updated: 2014-07-01 07:40

(China Daily)

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The fate of 14-year-old Yang Liujin changed after the media highlighted his plight. On learning from media reports that the boy had been living alone in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region for six years, people from across the social divide donated about 5 million yuan ($800,500) to help Yang lead a normal life. Soon a relative of Yang and local officials announced that they would take care of him, prompting many to suspect that their decisions were influenced by the fact that he had received a huge amount through donations, says an article on Excerpts:

No one can say for sure whether Yang will encounter more problems in the future given that he has received about 5 million yuan. Perhaps the lack of a foolproof social system for the protection of orphaned and abandoned children is to blame for that. Had such a system been in place, children like Yang would not have had to face an uncertain future.

There are about 625,000 children like Yang in China but only a handful of them are even half as fortunate as Yang. Most of them are struggling to survive, not knowing where the next meal is going to come from because they live in areas beyond the eyesight of the media.

Assistance provided by social welfare organizations to such children is, in fact, better than donations because it can help them get the necessary education and vocational training to lead a meaningful life and contribute to the development of society. Had Yang received help through a social welfare organization - with money received through charities which, in turn, get donations from people across society - a normal mechanism could have been established.

Since media reports can help just a few children like Yang, authorities should take urgent measures to establish a foolproof social welfare mechanism to help provide all the necessary help to orphaned and abandoned children. A government-led welfare program would be much better than private or individual efforts for such children, not least because it could cover the entire length and breadth of the country.

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(China Daily 07/01/2014 page9)