Children have a special place in the hearts of Yum China’s management and staff. At the core of its programs, the company seeks to foster happy and healthy childhoods and improve the future prospects of children. Yum China’s funds and programs focus predominantly on supporting underprivileged children living in remote areas and children who migrated with their parents to cities.
Over the past four decades, China has been experiencing the largest internal migration in human history as rural populations have moved to cities to satisfy China’s growing labor demand. According to China’s 2020 population census, China’s migrant children, including left-behind children, had reached 130 million. The lack of parental affection and care often exposes them to psychological and educational development issues.
Eager to help left-behind and migrant children, in 2016 KFC China set up the KFC “Little Migratory Birds Fund” together with the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund (CCTF). The fund sponsors a series of reading, sports and arts activities across the country to support and promote children’s physical and mental growth. KFC has also provided employment opportunities for working parents of left-behind children so that they can work nearer to their hometown and spend more time with their children.
A Special Experience with Parents
KFC restaurants across the country have organized different year-round initiatives such as sports and arts activities to help migrant and left-behind children to grow up with confidence.
This year, KFC organized a nature exploration program for migrant children and their parents at the KFC Green Pioneer Store in Hangzhou. This program was designed to use various activities to provide children with knowledge about environmental protection.
Twins, Tao and Yan, and their parents were among the migrant families participating in the event. Their parents came from Sichuan province and worked as sanitation workers in Hangzhou. Through interactive activities, the twins and their parents learned together how to recycle coffee grounds and use them to make potted plants. “Today is a special day for us. I rarely have the opportunity to participate in this type of activity with my parents. We love the potted plant that we created together, and we are very happy to spend this time with our parents,” said Tao and Yan.
From the Book Corner to a Bigger World
In 2021, the KFC Little Migratory Birds Fund established 11 book corners in Tonghua City, Jilin province. Teachers from different schools and volunteers from Tonghua Women’s Federation regularly organize reading clubs for children. On weekends and holidays, there are special reading activities for left-behind children to help them develop a positive attitude toward reading.
Zhang, a second-grade student, said happily, “I shared a book called Kiki’s Room during reading club today and learned a lot from the story. As a primary school student, I must learn to clean up my room by myself instead of asking my parents to help me.” Ma, a second-grade student, said, “It is so nice that I can learn about nature from books. Now I know the structure of birds and plants, as well as more about marine life.”
Liu, a library corner manager, said, “Through the KFC Little Migratory Birds reading activities, children begin to love reading and become more attracted to books while forgetting about their mobile phones or video games. We are glad to see that this program is helping children improve their cognitive development and cultivate a lifelong love for reading.”
At the end of 2021, the KFC Little Migratory Birds Fund had donated over RMB 24 million, benefiting 4 million left-behind and migrant children. The fund had also established 2,000 book corners, donated 700,000 books, and held more than 30,000 reading sessions for children, covering schools and communities in 29 provinces. KFC organized over 800 storytelling sessions and other theme activities and contributed over 40,000 hours of volunteer time, providing companionship and care.
Offering Working Opportunities to Migrant Workers in Their Hometown
Returning to my hometown and working here is the best decision I have ever made.
——Mei, a Mom Restaurants for Little Migratory Birds employee
In 2017, Yum China piloted the first Mom Restaurants for Little Migratory Birds in Chongqing, a bustling city in southeast China, to provide employment for female migrant workers and allow them to be closer to their children. The restaurant pursued a hiring policy targeting long-distance migrant mothers who want the opportunity to be close to their children and work within a commutable distance from home. The job offer also includes various other benefits and a flexible working schedule that supports working mothers to balance work and family obligations.
Juan, a working mother from Anhui province, migrated to Zhejiang province to support her family. During a visit home in March 2021, she discovered that her daughter was addicted to video games and didn’t perform well at school. After a long conversation with her daughter, Juan realized that the little girl desperately needed her company. Upon hearing about the Mom Restaurants for Little Migratory Birds program, Juan immediately applied for it. After half a year, Juan noticed that her presence was having a significant positive impact on her daughter’s academic performance and disposition.
By the end of 2021, the Mom Restaurants for Little Migratory Birds program had been expanded to over 760 KFC restaurants across five provinces, helping mothers like Mei and Juan return to their hometowns and reunite with their children. Yum China believes this program will serve as a driving force behind family reunification and the healthy development of children in China.
Source: 3BL Media