VietNamNet Bridge – The question has been left unanswered for the last 20 years, since the first industrial zone (IZ) was set up in HCM City.
There are 14 operational IZ and export processing zones (EPZ) in HCM City, where 65 percent of the total workers come from other provinces. In the last 20 years, the workers have been struggling hard to live in the big city and find the places to keep their children.
Workers stay off work to take care for children
It was very hot in the rental rooms in Linh Trung ward of Thu Duc district in HCM City. Two thirds of the residents in the ward are immigrant workers, who are working in the Linh Trung 1 and Linh Trung 2 EPZ.
Nguyen Thi Mo, a young mother, held the one year old son to the alley to avoid the heat in the room. Mo said that she is from Binh Dinh province and has been living in HCM City for four years. Mo married a man who was also a worker in the EPZ, and then gave birth to a son.
After the maternity leave, Mo had to choose either to ask her parents to come to HCM City to help take care for the child, or to stay off work to take care for the child herself. Finally, Mo decided to choose the second solution, because she cannot feel secure if leaving the child with others.
According to Mo, there were 35 workers for a production line in her enterprise, while 20 workers have small children. In the same residential quarter, where there are 9 rent rooms, five children need to go to nursery school.
Mo is not alone. There are many other workers who cannot go to work because they have to spend time to take care for children. In general, a female worker can earn 3 million dong a month, while they have to spend 1 million dong on the room rental. Meanwhile, the enterprises in the IZ do not offer any financial support packages to the female workers with small children.
The young mothers here nearly cannot find seats at state owned schools for their children, because there are very few schools in the area. In fact, leaving children at state owned schools is not a good choice at all, because the schools only work in office hours, while parents work in production shifts.
There are many private schools and household run schools in the area, but parents do not dare to bring their children to the classes, after they heard about so many child abuse cases.
Binh Chieu ward in Thu Duc district is also full of immigrant workers, who are working in the Linh Trung 2 EPZ and Song Than IZ in Binh Duong province. Le Thi Hang Nga, a worker from Ha Tinh province, also has to stay at home with the small child. In a house with 17 rent rooms on Ngo Chi Quoc road, there are three other workers facing the same problem as Nga’s.
According to Nga, if bringing her 2 year old child to a state owned school, she would have to pay 1 million dong, while she would feel insecure to bring the child to private schools.
According to the Thu Duc district’s education and training sub-department, in Linh Trung ward, there are 1500 children at the preschool age, but there is only one state owned school, four private schools and 21 household run classes. Inh Linh Xuan ward, there are 1830 children, but there is only one state owned schools, three private schools and 34 household run classes.
The household run class in Linh Trung ward is located in a 10 square meter room, where there were four children under two years old. A mother here said that she has to pay 650,000 dong a month to leave the child here. The parents are asked to strictly follow the rules set up by the owner of the house. They have to feed the children in the morning themselves, bring milk to the class for the children’s lunches, and they have to pick the children prior to 5 pm.