A second home for Anxiang
A little girl is playing in the Child Friendly Space (CFS) in Hengxi, Sichuan Province. In 2008 UNICEF and the National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) set up a network of 40 CFS in Sichuan to provide special care and support for children affected by the Wenchuan earthquake.
Fourteen year old Anxiang (right) is one of China’s 55 million children ‘left behind’ in the countryside while their parents become migrant workers in the cities. Anxiang’s mother departed shortly after she was born, and she tends to be shy. Taking part in activities at the CFS over the last three years, Anxiang found her best friend.
Anxiang has her lunch on her own every day. She lives with her grandparents who are very busy working during the day.
Anxiang leaves for school after her lunch break at home.
Anxiang comes to the CFS almost every day after school. There are about 10 children there on this particular afternoon. Today they all help each other finish their homework.
CFS volunteer Xiaomei (left) helps Anxiang with her homework.
Since the creation of the Child Friendly Space project four years ago, this play area has become a favorite meeting point for the 800 children in Hengxi Village. The CFS concept, pioneered by UNICEF and NWCCW following the Wenchuan earthquake, has been recognized as a powerful model of providing community based services for the most vulnerable children.
Adolescents in Hengxi village takes life skills training.
Young participants in the life skills session break up into small groups to share ideas and discuss their findings.
After returning from the Child Friendly Space, Anxiang picks home-grown vegetables which she will prepare for her household’s evening meal.
Anxiang cooks dinner as her grandfather returns from the corn field. Each day she cooks dinner for her grandparents. Children affected by migration face a range of challenges. They are more at risk of abuse and exploitation and they face a higher risk of accidents and injuries.
Child Friendly Space volunteer Yu Yanyong (right) has written a song for the Hengxi CFS. He has formed a small choir and they enjoy performing regularly. The children and youth who benefit from CFS services and activities feel a strong sense of unity and friendship.