Golden Cup is a printing factory located in China’s manufacturing heartland Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Since 2017, the factory has been running a Child Friendly Space (CFS) to accommodate the children of workers during the summer holidays – an initiative the factory embraced after realising that a significant number of their workers were migrant parents in need of a childcare service during the summer months.
In the first year of the programme, Golden Cup received support and training and The Centre helped to open and operate the space. Since the factory had gained the expertise to run the space, in their second year, the factory received a gift sponsorship to the children and necessary help to support Golden Cup when they needed. Even during the tumultuous year of COVID-19, Golden Cup continued to run the centre, providing relief to parents while giving children the chance to spend more time with their parents in a fun environment.
We were curious to find out their motivations for investing in the space and running it long-term, and what impacts it has had on their business. In this interview, we talk to Daisy Dai, programme supervisor at Golden Cup.
1. What prompted you to take part in the CFS programme in the first place?
At the beginning, it was Ms. Yeung's idea. Ms. Yeung is the mother of two children and knows the importance of parents being by their children’s side as they grow up all too well. At the very beginning we started out by organising a one-day family day, then in 2016 we hosted a 3-day “Little Bird” event for parents and children, in 2017 we joined the Child Friendly Spaces programme (also known as Family Friendly Spaces programme) with 63 children taking part. In 2018, there were 85 children, in 2019 95 children and in 2020 we had 50 children attend.
2. Can you briefly describe how the CFS works at your factory?
The CFS opens for one month during each summer holiday. When CFS ends, the large classroom gets used for homework tutoring from 16:30. The small classroom is used as a dancing room, for factory employees to practice dancing, yoga and other activities.
3. Why did you decide to keep running the programme independently after the first year?
Because we don’t want to disappoint children’s wish to come here for the summer holiday. The company can take on the cost of its operation and we’re looking forward to innovating our courses.
4. Why are you running the CFS this year despite the uncertainty from COVID-19?
The COVID-19 situation has been brought under control in China, and our company has been strictly implementing COVID-19 prevention measures throughout. The pandemic can’t get in the way of our love for children.
5. Can you tell us a bit more about the special health & safety measures have you put in place this year in response to COVID-19?
COVID-19 tests are given to those from high-risk areas and everyone has health cards. We also check everyone’s temperature, disinfect thoroughly, number cups, and we gave out free masks to children on the first day.
6. What positive changes has the CFS brought to your factory?
Workers are very happy at work, and feel full of energy. They have a high enthusiasm for work and increased trust in the company. Our retention rata has also increased rate (the turnover rate of parents who participated in the summer CFS was 4%, and last year’s company overall turnover rate was 6.8%).
7. What impressed you the most about the CFS programme?
The change in the children: their change from being reserved to lively, open and cheerful. They learned a lot of things and made this their other home. When they returned to their hometowns, they’d sometimes miss the CFS.
After spending a summer together, parents and children were naturally reluctant to part ways again. Eight children who attended CFS this summer decided to stay on permanently, and so went from being “left-behind children” to “migrant children”.
8. What kind of resources do you have to put into the CFS each year to operate it independently? Does the investment pay off? If yes, how?
Our company invests money, a classroom, teacher, an admin manager and a cleaner. It has contributed to social responsibility, and brings people closer together so that parents who miss their children but can’t take any actions have a worry-free platform. They can take their children to Guangdong to be with them and at their place of work and at the same time cultivate children’s cheerful, confident character. And that’s a good start.