Rural China’s harvest – it’ll feed these children, be their toys, it’ll even teach them to count (PICS).

In rural China, corn cobs litter backyards, roads and alleyways as they dry in the sun.

For many, they’re the meager harvest from a year’s backbreaking work. This toil is often carried out by grandparents whose own children have left – forsaking farming for the lure of better-paying jobs with city factories.

It’s not just the farms they’ve left behind. Many leave children with exhausted grandparents, already struggling with the demands of rural life. In villages where OneSky works – up to 85% of young adults have left.

OneSky’s Village Model provides these communities with early learning centers and community support aimed at helping vulnerable young children thrive. OneSky trained Family Mentors conduct home visits where skills training encourages time for play and learning. Here maize, peanuts or berries become more than just a source of food and income – they’re toys, counters, even building blocks.

Diana Chiu, Director of Development, Asia said:

“For our work to be effective and sustainable we need to be able to enable villages and families to work with what they have. At this time of year, following the harvest, families live among their produce. What better to use to encourage children to learn and play?”