Morning Light is a toy and packaging manufacturer in Dongguan, China. In 2019, the factory established a Child Friendly Space (CFS) within its premises with support from The Centre. Since then, it has continued to run the space to support parent workers in need of childcare and to provide an opportunity for left-behind children to reunite with their parents during the summer. Close to 50 children attend the free space each year, bringing immense relief to parents. The factory has enjoyed numerous business improvements because of this initiative. In the interview below, Morning Light’s Human Resource Manager Huang Man discusses their experiences in detail.
1. What prompted you to take part in the CFS programme in the first place?
To bring convenience to the workers and to pay more attention to left-behind children
2. Can you briefly describe how the CFS works at your factory? (e.g. is it open only during the summer, or is the space used as an after school centre year-round, how many teachers work there, are the kids dropped off and collected by parents? etc.)
It opened in the summer holiday period. We hired four teachers to work at the space and the children were dropped off and collected by their parents each day. We offer an innovative curriculum, which includes etiquette courses (the children greet every “uncle” and “aunt” they see at the factory now), oral English (the children can communicate in simple English), etc.
3. Why did you decide to keep running the programme independently after the first year? What were the challenges and how did you solve it?
We decided to keep running the CFS in the first year we gained the trust and affirmation of parents. We have not encountered any difficulties.
4. Why did you run the CFS in 2020 despite the uncertainty from COVID-19?
We continued running the CFS because our workers have a need for it and in order to support our client.
5. What positive changes has the CFS brought to your actory?
CFS has improved the local reputation of the company and enhanced the cohesion of employees. The parents are very grateful for the factory's contribution to support them, and parents took the initiative to send flowers to thank the general manager and teachers.
6. What impressed you the most from the CFS programme?
Our team dares to challenge and be innovate. During the entire project, from the design of the uniform to the organisation of activities, we strove to present parents and children with something fresh.
The teachers tailor-made their own programme for the children. Every child shone on the stage during the closing ceremony event. Despite being so young, they were very capable.
Our general manager, Mrs. Yang, is very caring, and carefully prepared gifts for the opening of the CFS (schoolbags/snack packs) for the children, and prepared a photo album of the company's activities for the children during the closing activities.
Children know how to be grateful, know how to share, and have become confident, generous and optimistic. (At the parent-teacher meeting, every child expressed their love for their mom and dad and gave them handmade roses. To express their appreciation towards the general manager the children made a drawing of Ms. Yang and gave it to her as a gift.
7. What kind of resources do you have to put into the CFS each year to operate it independently? Does the investment you put into CFS pay off? If yes, how?
The main resources include hiring a team of teachers and a project team. The investment has paid off in terms of enhanced staff cohesion, a stronger team spirit and a greater sense of belonging.
8. What special health & safety measures have you put in place this year in response to COVID-19?
We took temperature checks, used a health card system, disinfected, made sure everyone brings their own cups, and handed out masks for free.
Recruitment for new Child Friendly Spaces for the summer of 2021 is currently in progress. If you or your supplier would like to find out more and get involved, please contact us.
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