On August 9, 2019, Former Residence of Soong’s Family on North Shaanxi Road, Shanghai welcomed 18 children with special identity. With the financial support of SSCLF-Sunshine Children’s Legal Rights Safeguard Fund, they participated in the “Sunshine Warming Children August 8 Shanghai One-Day Tour” activity.
These 18 children have a common name: de facto orphans. It refers to a child whose parents both meet one of the following conditions: severe disability, serious illness, imprisonment and detention, compulsory isolation and detoxification, other measures to restrict personal freedom or a child has lost contact with their parents; or the child with one parent meeting the above conditions and the other dead or missing.
Parents make mistakes, but children are innocent. Parents’ fault should not affect children’s life and growth. As there is no one to support them, many juveniles have gone to the road of dropping out of school, wandering, begging and even committing crimes, thereby triggering a series of social problems. That makes it imperative to strengthen social care and bring social warmth to these children. This July, twelve departments including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Finance, etc., have jointly issued “Opinion on Further Strengthen the Work of Safeguarding Unattended Children”, which clearly includes de facto orphans into the scope of protection.
The SSCLF-Sunshine Children’s Legal Rights Safeguard Fund is a special fund with the characteristics and mission of legal publicity and assistance for children’s rights and interests. The fund has been working to help children subjected to violence and sexual abuse, including de facto orphans. This time, the special fund, together with the Shanghai NGO Sun-Village Children’s Education Consulting Centre, jointly held the activity of “Sunshine Warming Children One-Day Tour” to care for the growth of unsupported children with practical actions. For more than 10 years, Sun-Village has been raising and educating de facto orphans for free, with rich experience accumulated meanwhile. Through special education, psychological counseling, rights protection and vocational training services, these children can grow up healthily in a relatively stable and loving big family.
On the morning of the activity, volunteers from the special fund and teachers from Sun-village guided the children to visit the former residence of Soong’s family, whose long-lasting history and far-reaching culture deeply infected the children. And then Mr. Chen Naiwei, the founder of Sunshine Children’s Legal Rights Safeguard Fund, introduced the fund’s basic information to the children. Mr. Hu from “Protecting Doudou” caring organization made an impassioned speech on children’s prevention of sexual abuse, hoping to enhance their ability of prevention, response and self-protection against physical violence.
In the afternoon, the children also went to Lujiazui in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. The AllBright Law Offices located in Shanghai Tower, Lujiazui, is co-founded by Mr. Chen Naiwei, the sponsor of the special fund. Several lawyers of the office, with their passion for public welfare legal services, work as volunteers of the fund. Lawyer Qiu Suo and Liu Minxuan, senior partners of the office and participants of the special funds, shared their stories of helping de facto orphans with their professional knowledge and practical experience. After that, Zhang Tianlei, secretary-general of Hubei Ruruo Women’s Development Studies Centre, and Songjing, R&D supervisor of Muguang Project, taught the children a wonderful lesson on anti-bullying.
The children also went to the landmark of Shanghai — the Oriental Pearl Tower, and took a bird’s eye view from the commanding heights to appreciate the charm of the international metropolis.
This meaningful activity passes on love to the de facto orphans through touring and teaching lessons, so that children can feel the warmth of society and regain their confidence about life. May they grow up with more sunshine and less haze.