Her grandmother was a abuse victim, her mother has a shady job, and her younger sister suffers from AIDS. This child comes from a rehabilitated family. Dramas that take place only in TV soap operas are a part of her real, daily life.
The hard life of this child
First grader Xiao-Jie is a child raised by her grandmother; her body is often smelly, and the way she shies away from direct eye contact betrays her insecurity and fear.
Xiao-Jie comes from a complex, rehabilitated family, her main caregiver is her grandmother. Her grandmother was a domestic abuse victim when younger, and had been away from her family for many years. Xiao-Jie’s mom is in the illicit trades; she has a criminal record for assault, and has been jailed for drug possession. Xiao-Jie’s uncle is also serving time for robbery, possession of firearm, and assault, while her younger sister from another father is an AIDS baby. Even Xiao-Jie herself had suffered from sexual abuse at a very young age.
Dramas that take place only in TV soap operas are a part of Xiao-Jie’s real, daily life.
Xiao-Jie does not like to wash her hair or bath, she is often smelly, and she stands out like a sore thumb. Her classmates stare at her and watch her every move, and they report everything she does to the teachers; her interpersonal relationships are extremely poor. Once, Xiao-Jie did not feel like doing homework and lied that she had lost her textbook. When her lie was exposed by her teacher and classmates, she was liked even less by her class.
Her neighbor A-Fu told Xiao-Jie’s grandmother, “Let Xiao-Jie go to the H Foundation, they give out meals there and help with homework, the teachers there are very nice!”
First provide “care and companionship”, then proceed with “character education”. Through a referral from school, Xiao-Jie came to the H Foundation. The teacher from the Foundation learned about her situation and took advantage of the short walk everyday from school to the Foundation to have a warm and friendly chat with her. The teacher would listen to Xiao-Jie to understand how she was feeling, to give, accept, as well as demonstrate empathy, and would help Xiao-Jie understand that certain behaviors and attitudes are wrong, and could affect her own sense of confidence and her interpersonal interactions. At the same time, Xiao-Jie’s grandmother was also contacted to devise a plan for helping Xiao-Jie change her deviant behavior and thinking. It is not enough to rely only on the teachers; cooperation from the parents or main caregiver must be given for there to be results.
“I think it’s quite nice to go to jail! My mom and uncle are both in jail, at least they don’t have to work hard and will get food to eat and don’t have to worry about being hungry. I don’t miss my mom, I hardly see her. I hate my mom, I don’t want to be friends with my mom…
But, why don’t my classmates like me…
I like coming to the H Foundation, here people spend time with me…
The teachers here chat with me properly…
I want to become someone that everybody likes…”
It makes your heart bleed hearing these words coming from the mouth of a young girl like Xiao-Jie.
If people can intervene during the growing process of children from dysfunctional families and provide them with long-term companionship, then perhaps these kids will not continue down the path of darkness. Rather than providing sympathy to help a child regain his footing, give them proper care and education instead.
“The government spends NT$1.5 billion on remedial teaching, not on schoolwork, but to understand the families’ situation and background”. The social problems caused by dysfunctional families could only worsen with each passing year; only by becoming a part of the children’s family and school life can there be a chance to help them shake free of social stigmas. Children are not born with a dislike for bathing or propensity for being anti-social.
Xiao-Jie is now in fifth grade. She now knows to take care of personal hygiene and how to interact with people, and has shown considerable progress when compared to her initial arrival at the H Foundation. But there are still many challenges waiting for her.
With empathy and companionship, the child will feel your love for her. This is the perfect place to begin!
Author / H Foundation