Jan 1, 2016
Mainland China has 61 million “left-behind children”, the rural children left behind by parents who move to the cities for work. It is estimated that over the past eight years a further 2.42 million children have fallen into this category. The impact is huge. The lack of parenting may cause the children to have behaviour problems and emotional disorders, resulting in bullying at school. The Morrison Hall Social Service Group (MSSG) organised a two-week trip to Chongqing earlier this year to provide services to over 300 local left-behind children.
“What the left-behind children need most is ‘software’ rather than ‘hardware’. They already have basic and sufficient learning materials, so it’s essential to provide another kind of support to teachers and left-behind children,” says Sabrina Su 蘇雪冰 (PhD Year 3). In order to demonstrate the application of positive psychology in teaching, MSSG have arranged workshops and sharing sessions for teachers.
“One of the teachers shared with us that there was a left-behind child with emotional issues who set a fire during class. I was so shocked. But then I realised the left-behind children, without much care from their parents, feel hopeless about their future and like to challenge their teachers’ authority.”
Norris Chan 陳政豪 (BSc Year 4) shared the same thoughts as Sabrina, that the service trip offered a first-hand experience in understanding the needs of the left-behind children. “There are around 60-90% left-behind children in the classrooms we visited. Their self-management skills are very poor and they tend to build harmful relationships with others. But at the end of our trip, some children gave us freshly harvested white radishes as a token of thanks!” Another participating organising committee member called Matthew Yip 葉振華 (BSc Year 2) also benefitted from this trip when he found out that his interest lies in teaching.
Sabrina thinks the students will be living examples of MSSG’s other meaning - Meet Someone Special to make you Great. “The motto of MSSG is ‘We enrich life through Service’, and we truly believe this is what we are achieving!” she says.
Throughout the past decade, MSSG has been providing various services to different groups of the needy, youth and elderly, the mentally challenged, as well as environmental projects. Morrisonian alumni (see more here) have always been their main financial supporters.
“MSSG shall continue to focus on the diversity of the service, and the sustainability of both the service and our group leaders. One of our recent environmental projects is “To Leave is to Keep (捨得)”, an example of a sharing economy. Morrisonians share and exchange their unwanted belongings with other hallmates when they leave the hall and everybody benefits.”