A Fengniao photographer recently posted this striking series of photos depicting the lives of migrant workers’ children. The following is his account of what he saw, translated by CDT:
It took me almost two years to take these pictures of the migrants’ children (from August 2005 till now; in Haining city of Zhejiang Province). I just happened to run into these workers with their kids. That first day, I saw a group of migrant workers digging and loading earth while their children played around under the hot sun. I was shocked that their lives were so different from those who live in the cities: pregnant women working with dirt; infants laid in the shade on the bare ground; two- and three-year-olds playing without pants on, all of them were dirty-faced.
The other day, I went to the work site again. It was scorching hot but they couldn’t even afford the half a yuan price of an ice cream bar for their kids, so I bought some for them instead.
Afterwards I learned they were from a mountainous area of Weijing district in Guizhou. They have been working like this for two years. Their daily job is to dig earth and ship it in loads to a brick kiln nearby. After one day’s harsh work, a couple may save about 20 Yuan (3 dollars). They feel satisfied with it. They say that the money is better than what they can earn in their hometown. Here is also a blind spot for China’s “One Child Policy””each family has two or three kids.
The parents didn’t leave their kids inside. They told me a young girl was once scalded with boiling water while she was at home alone. So they have to let the kids stay around them at work. There are a couple of kids who’ve already reached school age but their parents cannot afford tuition.
A few months later, I went back to that workshop yet again but couldn’t find the workers. I was told the local government cracked down on the brick making industry and the kiln had been closed. The workers never came back. Sometimes when I see these pictures, I miss them and wonder whether they are living a good life now.