After meeting the team at Collective Responsibility, I was able to talk to another intern about the upcoming hackathon that Collective Responsibility was hosting with Target. Through this conversation, I felt like I was able to gain a greater appreciation for the work that Collective does to promote urban sustainability.
Target approached Collective to create a way to help the family dynamics of their factory workers. Many of these factory workers are migrants who have left their children in their rural hometowns, since they cannot afford to have the children in the city with them. This has created a population of 61 million “left-behind children” in China who are either taken care of by their relatives or left to fend for themselves. Because migrant parents are unable to see or take care of their children often, there can be tension in the family. Most migrants go home once a year for Chinese New Year, so there is usually not enough time to care for their children beyond asking how they are doing in school.
Through this hackathon, we hope to improve the situation of migrant families using an app. I learned that many inhabitants of rural China have access to smartphones, so there is huge potential to connect migrant parents to their families at home using technology.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a multinational like Target was willing to invest time and money into a project like this. It was only after this conversation that I realized how far-reaching the impacts were of an ever-growing migrant population. This re-emphasized the importance of my own project, which is related to the objective of this hackathon, to me.