Dandelion School, China

Of the 1.3 billion people in China, 130 million, or about one in ten, is either a migrant worker or the child of a migrant worker. Among this migrant population, over 20 million are school age children, about 40% of whom are living under the poverty line.

While migrant workers are increasingly becoming an indispensable work force in urban development, their children, however, are facing the threat of illiteracy and perpetually being deprived of equal opportunities available to other children of their age. More serious social problems are looming as these migrant children grow up.

The Dandelion School, established in August 2005, provides high quality and affordable education to migrant childrenand by nurturing the child’s character makes the world a better place.

Currently there are about 700 students and the school has developed courses to meet the special needs of migrant children.

Dandelion students come mostly from the poorest of the poor migrant families
Many of the children, although living locally, board at the school as many of the temporary makeshift homes of their migrant parents are unsuitable as a learning environment.

It is the first and only middle school established specifically for children from low-income migrant families in Beijing.

The school has been trying very hard to waive the fees for as many students as possible each semester. Currently, there are over 200 students receiving financial aid.

The school depends heavily on donations to keep it running, to retain good teachers, to assure the quality of education and to improve the hardware environment of learning.

Although the government subsidises textbooks for the schoolchildren in rural areas and cities, children from poor migrant families qualify for neither benefit since they belong neither to the countryside nor to the cities.

The Dandelion has announced to the students that they will not now need to pay for their textbooks as ChallengeAid (was Schoolchildren for Children) has undertaken to subsidise the textbooks as well as supporting  some tuition fees, and boarding costs.

ChallengeAid is working in partnership with China Children & Teenagers’ Fund, for more information click here.