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Area 6 : News & Views


The longest journey starts with a single step .....................................................ancient Chinese proverb

Kathryn Watts reporting worldwide [Article 2] [page 5 of Kathryn's pages]

Childhood is celebrated in China too, and representations abound. The people in some communities in Taiwan regardless of age are often reminded of the significance accorded to children within traditional Chinese culture and modern Taiwanese society. The emphasis is not on making them social but on protecting a natural process and to emphasise certain forms of identification. The children are regarded as becoming persons in part through learning and also through self-cultivation. Various celebrations are made to mark the passage of time since the child's birth. This is generally after twelve days, one month, one hundred days, and one year.

In a community in Java the labour of the Kampung child, particularly that of girls is much utilised. Families of from two to seven form their own kind of community called "cells". These cell associations employ each other's children to run errands, mind possessions and younger children, prepare small salegoods and perform various other chores. The children move freely in and out of the houses within these cells and are never refused snacks when asked for them. A certain amount of sharing of responsibilities by adults and older children goes on. The older members may mind, discipline, medicate and entertain other families children along with their own. These cell child minding arrangements enable many women to earn extra income, have some leisure time and basically to spread the "burden" of childcare. This is yet another example of the kind of "social harmony" that exists between people in such cultures, and appears to be a necessity in order to fulfil everyday affairs. There are vast differences between Javanese and Japanese cultures, but in this respect the similarities in everyday life at this level are remarkable.

Voluntary organisations often provide services for women, extend non-formal training, operate childcare facilities and so on. In 1988 there were 2,200 agencies based in developed countries, involved in this type of work. In Britain, at the time, among the largest charities are those devoted to overseas aid, including Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, Christian Aid and the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

'Education' is in fact an English word from Latin meaning 'to raise' and 'to lead forth'. Education in such societies as I have been talking about probably does not hold the same value as it does in England. This is understandably so, since different priorities are apparent. Opportunities, success, and future prospects have different meanings, and success often is associated with survival. Perhaps though with the expansion of such countries the importance of education will shift in another direction. Indeed in Java a few "rukin warga", neighbourhood units run information and educational sections which help school children with studies, run general education programmes and work to increase literacy levels. Facilities, equipment and experienced teachers are not as readily available to these third world countries which already puts them at a disadvantage to countries such as ours. Nevertheless in the cities universities exist and one often meets people in this country that have come from one of these poorer countries in order to obtain a better form of education. In Taiwan the lives of the children and young people seem to be dominated by universal, mandatory education. This takes place though in clearly set off modern institutions.

..... continued on page 6 page 4

Roving Reporter - Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 return to Latest Site News

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your support is always welcomed for the Children's Charities in the Project HappyChild Directory - just click here for details of more than 80 organizations
Your support is always welcomed for the Children's Charities in the Project HappyChild Directory - just click here for details of 80+ organizations.

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