Founded in 2007, A Bridge for Children International (ABC), operating under the 501(c)(3) Promise Foundation, is a non-profit organization headquartered in Beijing, China, dedicated to serving orphans and migrant children — two of the most vulnerable and at-risk populations in China. Built on the conviction that every child deserves a family and an education, ABC serves underprivileged children in three programmatic areas:
CONNECT(牵手) (CSR and Volunteerism), DREAM (梦想) (Education and Life Skills) and TALENT (才) (Migrant Children Sports, Arts, Music, and teacher training).
ABC programs construct “a bridge for children” to support what is typically a precarious crossing from society’s margins into the greater community. This transition is difficult for these populations characterized by limited education, life skills, and job training.
According to Chinese law, orphaned children become ineligible for adoption when they turn 14. When they age out of institutional care at 18, they face many challenges in securing a bright future. In rare situations, a few may be able to transition to staff positions at their orphanage. Without the love and support of a family, teenage orphans have severely limited options and have little hope of finding a job, a good living environment or a way to improve their livelihood. Our DREAM education program focuses on easing the struggles of teen orphans.
There are currently an estimated 230 million migrant laborers who have moved from the rural countryside to the major cities of China. These migrant laborers face a choice – either uproot their entire family or leave behind their children and sometimes their spouse, in search of livelihood in the cities.
We seek to reach youth who have been impacted by this social phenomenon. Migrant children mostly live outside the city center in surrounding districts and frequently move with their parents to the next job opportunity. These children lack stability due to frequent moving and continue to suffer from limited access to quality education and government services. Many lack a strong parental influence and grow to be disenfranchised and marginalized.
Our TALENT Program is actively working to address and improve the issues facing these children.
In 2005, at the request of a friend, one of our co-founders made a trip to Northeastern China to visit several children who had been abandoned by their parents. After spending time with these children, and witnessing the difficulties they were facing, our co-founder decided to take two orphans into his own care. This experience was life changing, and made us all realize the significant challenges orphans face without the love and support of a family.
After the visit in 2005, the ABC co-founders met to strategize how we could help mitigate inequities and daily difficulties endured by the orphans in China. ABC was our solution then, and remains our solution today.
-Steve Hwang and co-founders
Our programs do not operate separately and distinctly; instead, they work seamlessly together.
First, the migrant children from the TALENT program are taught by volunteers as well as DREAM students. DREAM students also help out at TALENT graduation ceremonies. TALENT students often have service activities with CONNECT volunteers from businesses, such as painting schools.
As CONNECT volunteers work with TALENT students, the CONNECT program also provides job shadowing for DREAM students; for example, DREAM students visit NBA Cares every year for job shadowing experience. This is possible because of the CONNECT program.
This is why our motto is