Target: Li Xueju, Minister of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
Goal: Find a solution for the numerous homeless children in China
Five boys under the age of 13 recently died of carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to keep warm in a dumpster. The boys, all from the same extended family, took refuge in the dumpster to escape the rain and plummeting temperatures. They suffocated from the fumes of the charcoal they had burned. The bodies were found the next morning by a garbage collector.
The boys had been missing for three weeks before they were eventually found dead. Their fathers, all brothers, were in different cities for work. The boys were left in the care of their elderly, blind grandmother who could hardly care for herself. The children often ran out to play for days at a time leaving no message of where they were. Neighbors reported seeing them wandering the streets.
The boys had dropped out of school, their fathers claiming they were getting poor grades and disliked learning. Numerous attempts to force them back into school only resulted in them running away. One of the fathers was going to make a last attempt to force his child to go back to school once he returned home, but his efforts came too late.
Eight Chinese officials have been fired or suspended pending an investigation; the principals of two local schools and four government officials in charge of education and civil affairs have lost their jobs, and two deputy heads were suspended. This brings justice for the deaths of these boys, but does little to solve the larger problem.
In 2011, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs launched a nationwide campaign to return homeless children to their homes or place them in the care of government-run shelters if their guardians could not be found. This program has had little success and is barely making a dent in the numbers of homeless children. There needs to be a bigger effort of both the government and the people of China in order for programs like these to succeed.
This tragedy serves as a wake-up call to the immensity of the problem of homeless children in China. These children have no shelter, food, or education. The nation needs to work together to help these children return home or find a safe place to live. These children can not keep slipping through the cracks. Sign the petition to demand China create shelters for the countless homeless children wandering the streets of China.
Dear Li Xueju,
The number of homeless children wandering the streets of China is startling. These children go hungry and cold and have no shelter from the elements. Five boys were found dead in a dumpster trying to keep warm. These deaths could have been avoided if anyone had noticed them missing. These children fell through the cracks of the education system, their families, and the government.
Homeless children need a place they can go when there is nowhere else. They need shelter and some guidance. If their guardians can not be found, there needs to be a shelter for them to go to. Children should also be encouraged to stay in school, whether or not they want to. They are the future of the world and deserve every chance to succeed in it. Please create shelters where the numerous homeless children wandering the streets of China can find shelter.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fusty Box via Flickr