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"My hard work will build a better future for me"

Song Junli may be small in stature, but she has big ambitions and is one of the hardest working students in her childcare class.

"I want to make my life better, with my hardworking hands. I have been working for the past ten years to achieve my goal," explains Junli, a 26 year old young woman from China.

After graduated from high school, Junli's elder brother found her a job in a clothing workshop in Zhejiang Province, almost 2000 km from her hometown in Lezi County, Sichuan Province. However, the small garment shop went out of business a few months after she arrived.

"My wages for months of work was unpaid, and I could not even afford a ticket back to my hometown. If I had known something about the Labour Law, this would not have happened."

I have been working for the past ten years to achieve my goal

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

"I am short and so it made it harder for me to find well paid work," Junli says, "finally I found a job as a night waitress."

She was paid 2200 Yuan per month (about USD 350 dollars), for a 12 hour shift with only two days off per month. Junli found it hard to get enough sleep during the day, and found working at night hard, "I got headaches and finally quit my job."

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

Song Junli studying childcare in her vocational training class
Song Junli studying childcare in her vocational training class

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 to take care of her baby. "I am planning on becoming a confinement nurse, after I get the certificate." ​

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!"

Plan International China works with government partners, institutes and private sectors to provide vocational skill traini​ngs and job opportunities to young rural workers to give young people better prospects in life and end the cycle of poverty.

Learn more about Plan International's work in China.