On February 3, 2018, The Centre (formerly CCR CSR) ventured out to Concord Pottery in Dongguan to attend the factory’s Spring Festival gala and 20thanniversary events. We were delighted to have a backstage pass to all the action and to see the excited faces of the day-care centre’s little performers as they proudly sung and danced on a glitzy stage for the hundreds of workers. We were also happy to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with some of the parent workers about how the day-care and after-school centre at Concord has impacted their lives. In this post, we sat down with Ms. Yu, a mother of a five-year-old girl from Dali, Yunnan.
“My husband stayed at home for 3 years”
Ms. Yu’s daughter was born in Yunnan and was taken to Dongguan when she was eight months old. However, when they arrived in Dongguan they found themselves out of childcare options. Concord’s day-care centre had not yet opened and their parents could not help take of their daughter. When the centre did open in 2014, they had to wait until she was three years old to be eligible to attend. “One of us had to stay at home to look after her so my husband quit his job and agreed to being the primary caretaker until she could attend the factory day-care centre,” Ms. Yu recalls. Until then, the family of three solely relied on Ms. Yu’s salary (about 3700 RMB a month).
“We have more income now”
Now that Ms. Yu’s daughter goes to kindergarten and Concord’s day-care centre, Ms. Yu’s husband took on a job as a security guard at another nearby factory. His hours are more flexible, so he can send their daughter to the kindergarten in the morning, pick her up in the afternoon, and drop her off at Concord’s day-care centre. After Ms. Yu finishes work, she has dinner with her daughter at the factory canteen and brings the child home.
Ms. Yu’s family now have more money at their disposal as her husband no longer needs to stay at home fulltime to take care of their daughter and contributes to the family’s budget. They can now both take on jobs and have more flexibility when it comes to work shift arrangements.
“I would be very sad if I left my daughter with her grandparents”
Ms. Yu’s parents and parents-in-law could not take care of her daughter. But she said even if they could, she would be very reluctant to leave her daughter behind. A single journey by train from the factory to her hometown takes two days and the tickets are expensive. If she left her kid at home, she would miss most of her daughter’s childhood and she would not want that.
“She likes her life here”
Her daughter loves Concord’s day-care centre. At the day-care centre, she has a lot of peers to play with, several caretakers who are very attentive to their needs, and a variety of activities to take part in (dancing, playing group games, going to the zoo/park in holidays).
Ms. Yu trusts the factory for their track record of taking good care of workers’ children and she appreciates the relief and convenience the day-care centre has given her and her family.
Asked about her plans for her daughter when she finishes kindergarten Ms. Yu replies: “We would rather send her to a local primary school here and pay more money than send her back to the hometown where she can avail of free education. Being together as a family means everything.”
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