Parents of kidnapped and missing children trying to find their kids.
There has been uproar in both English and Chinese language media this week after the bodies of five young boys were found inside a rubbish dumpster in Bijie. The boys most likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning after they lit a small fire inside the dumpster to keep warm in the near-zero temperatures.
Note: there is a photo which purports to be of the five boys doing the rounds on social media. It is impossible at this stage to confirm that the subjects are indeed the boys and nevertheless the photo is incredibly morbid to the point of ghoulishness. This is not a judgement on blogs who have chosen to post this photo in any way (it is definitely newsworthy), just an explanation of why you will not see it here.
I reached out to Charlie Custer, director of upcoming documentary Living With Dead Hearts (previously), for advice on what Shanghaiist readers can do to help homeless street children.
宝贝回家 (bǎobèi huí jiā, Baby Come Home)
Baby Come Home (previously) have been helping parents reunite with missing and kidnapped children since 2007, with numerous success stories.
Chinese speakers can volunteer their time to help Baby Come Home track down missing children and reunite them with their parents. Baby Come Home is supported by the One Foundation, their donation page is here.
Baoji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids (ASK)
Founded in 2006 by former Medicin sans Frontieres (MSF) staff, ASK are the first Chinese NGO established for the express purpose of providing aid for homeless children. The Xinxing Centre provides 24 accommodation for up to 60 children, accepting homeless kids from all over China. Children in the centre are provided with trauma counselling, medical care, and help to reunite with their families.
Donate to ASK here.
SOS Children in China
SOS is an international charity which provides orphaned children in China with a new mother, a family and a home where they can stay until they are ready for independent life (each family house can give a home to up to 12 children). SOS has numerous centres across the country providing homes and food to street children.
Sponsor an SOS child here.
Other ways to help
If you see children begging on the street, they may be kidnap victims or runaways, in either situation you can help their families find them by taking a photo of them and uploading them to the following sites:
Professor Yu Jianrong’s Weibo (previously)
Baidu’s Missing Children Service
Baby Come Home Street Children Reporting Service
On giving money to beggars in China
Personally I am of the opinion that in a country with no (or a very minimal) social safety net, one should give money to homeless beggars, be they adults or children. Whilst there is a sickeningly large ‘industry’ of using kidnapped children to beg for money which of course no-one wants to help perpetuate, this is a criminal matter. Refusing on principle to give money to any child beggars ignores the fact that many of them are not kidnap victims, but destitute and homeless children for whom your money might be the difference between whether or not they get a decent meal that day.
If in doubt, err on the side of giving money, but be sure to take the child’s photo and upload it to the services mentioned above.
If anyone knows of any other charities / ways to help that they feel should be added to this list, please comment below or email me at [email protected]