Stepping Stones’ beneficiaries are children and youth who are disadvantaged in terms of access to quality education and resources in China. Our main beneficiaries are as follows:
- Migrant children & youth
- Rural children & youth, including many left-behind children
- Children and youth from low-income families in Shanghai
- Children and youth with special needs
- English teachers from rural and migrant schools
While we serve a wide range of disadvantaged children and youth from different locations and backgrounds , the majority of them have been negatively impacted by rural-urban migration in China. Some of these children have moved with their parents to cities where they do not have access to regular public schools due to residence issues, and are enrolled in schools for the children of migrant workers, whose educational standards fall behind the urban public schools. Others are enrolled in public schools, but need extra help with their schoolwork, which their parents are often unable to provide.
Other migrant workers’ children are unable to go with their parents to the cities, and are left behind in rural boarding schools or living with other family members. The educational standards in rural schools lag significantly behind urban schools, and in addition to the disadvantages faced by rural children, these “left-behind” children also lack parental support.
Most of our students are primary-school age, but we also have middle-school, high school and vocational school students. We increase the impact on these students by providing professional and language training to English teachers. As the number of migrant children decreases in Shanghai, and the educational provision improves for those who remain, we have been approached by local social work organizations to provide educational assistance to other local disadvantaged communities, in particular low-income families and children with special educational needs.