The city of Kaifeng is situated in Henan province. Its historic sites attract many visitors, and the local government is hoping for an increase in tourism. Other sources of income and employment are agriculture, industry and commerce. When compared to other regions, Henan, however, remains relatively impoverished. In contrast, neighbouring provinces on the coast are flourishing, and many people from Henan are moving there in search of a better life.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kaifeng.
People living in the rural areas of the country often face particularly hard living conditions, but there is also urban poverty in cities like Kaifeng. Households where the adults have a lower level of education, and are either unemployed or underemployed are most likely to face hardships.
A record number of young people are graduating high school and competing for university admissions across China. Even with a master’s degree, many young people struggle to find employment. In 2022, youth unemployment reached its highest level at 19.3%, leaving millions of young people uncertain about their future prospects.
Migration is often hardest on children: a 2015 UNICEF study estimates that close to 100 million children had experienced prolonged separation from at least one parent. Parents migrate to cities for work, often taking their children with them. Some 36 million children migrate with their parents, but due to the household registration system they have restricted access to education and healthcare services in their new homes. Another 70 million children are left with relatives back home who cannot care for them properly. Away from the protection of their parents, these children struggle to receive emotional, physical, and academic support.