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School for MigrantsTibetan Orphan School

Volunteer at a Migrant School in China

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The School for Migrants was established to help immigrant children of poor working families in Beijing. The school is a not-for-profit private school that receives no financial support from the government. Immigrant parents send their children to these schools because they cannot afford to send their children to Beijing public schools. Teachers and volunteers utilize the limited resources to make the place as stimulating as possible for young learners.

Teaching a student

Intern, Angelique Thurman, lends a hand

Lotus student Carolyn Campbell teaching English Lotus Intern, Angelique Thurman, lends a hand

Immigrant laborers often work in Beijing without official recognition or support, and their residency status determines the benefits they receive from the municipal and national government. China’s residency and subsequent education systems are very different from those commonly found in Western countries. China’s system is largely dependent upon hukou, or housing registration. Many immigrants come from rural areas and so have a rural hukou, whereas Beijing locals have an urban hukou. Urban status grants residents support in education and health care, so many immigrants are without this essential support. Many of China’s poorest people work in the cities in order to live, but this means limited access to public education.

The Xingwang School for Migrants is one of a number of migrant schools in Beijing that address this problem. Although some migrants have the financial means to pay for “public” education for their children, many do not, and depend upon Xingwang in order to provide a better future.

Potential volunteers at the school are encouraged to have some experience with Mandarin Chinese as the students have little to no English speaking ability. But even if you do not speak Chinese, with an open mind and a friendly personality, you can help improve the prospects for these students. Volunteers with background or a concentration in child education or related fields are encouraged to apply.

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