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Youth & Economic Empowerment

My Hard Work Will Build a Better Future

Junli's child care class is paving the way to a brighter future.

Song Junli has big ambitions and is one of the hardest working students in her child care class supported by Plan International.

“I want to make my life better with my hardworking hands,” said the 26-year-old woman from China. “I have been working for the past 10 years to achieve my goal.”

After graduating from high school, Junli’s older brother found her a job in a clothing workshop in Zhejiang Province. However, the small garment shop went out of business a few months after she arrived.

“My wages for months of work were unpaid, and I even could not even afford a ticket back to my hometown,” she said. “If I had known something about the Labor Law, this would not have happened.”

Instead of going home, Junli decided to make her way to the capital city of Sichuan Province, Chengdu.

“… it [was] harder for me to find well-paid work,” Junli says, “Finally, I found a job as a night waitress.”

She was paid about $350 a month for a 12-hour shift with only two days off per month. Junli was often unable to get enough sleep during the day and found working at night hard.

“I got headaches and finally quit my job,” she said.

During this time, Junli made up her mind to learn a vocational skill so she could get a more satisfying job. She learned about a child care class through the Internet and enrolled in a training course funded and supported by Plan International and the Chengdu Qing Yang District Government of Sichuan Province.

The project aims to improve access to stable and decent employment for vulnerable young people aged 16-29 in and around Chengdu, directly contributing to the improvement of their economic status and social security.  

Free training is provided on seven subject areas, including the hospitality trade, barista (coffee making), mechanics, Shu embroidery, child care, and nutrition, with training courses lasting for three to eight weeks. The project is funded by AkzoNobel through Plan International Netherlands.

Junli is also gaining practical experience by helping her relative take care of her baby.

“I am planning on becoming a confinement nurse, after I get the certificate,” she said.

When asked about her future, Junli gives a confident smile and talks animatedly.

“With my new knowledge, together with my hard work, my future will be surely better,” she said.

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