Sharing the caring in China
Backstories

Sharing the caring in China

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    The sharing economy has already transformed the way we travel, dine, fund our businesses and so much more. Now it's even changing the way some people in China raise their children.

    It's Sunday morning and Luo Hui is reading to a group of children near her home in Hangzhou. Each weekend, she runs a class, sometimes reading or creating art indoors, or enjoying outdoor activities on good days.

    Luo quit her job after her second child and decided that if she was going to be a stay-at-home mom she could teach other children too.

    "I believe it means much more if I'm reading, not just for my daughters, but with other children too. And my kids make a lot of friends," she says.

    Community parenting isn't a new idea in China, but the way Luo does it is novel. She uses an app called Moremom to advertise her classes. Many call it the Uber or Airbnb of play dates. Busy parents can log in and search for classes near them.

    Luo Hui cares not just for her own daughter, but also for other children. She advertises via a smartphone app.

    Moremom launched last October and already has about 2,000 home teachers and more than 20,000 registered users.

    Yao Na, founder of Moremom, points out that high educational expenses and childcare costs make it tough to raise children.

    The number of babies born in China last year was a record low at 15.23 million, down by two million from the previous year.

    Yao says, "Working mothers can save money and time, while stay-at-home mothers can get a sense of accomplishment."

    She says she knows parents might worry about handing their kids over to strangers, but says the screening process for teachers is strict.

    Moremom mediates between parents and caregivers.

    Cai Mi used to work for an IT firm, but quit when she had her first child. She says: "It would have cost my entire salary to hire a nanny, so I decided to raise my children myself.

    "As they grew up, I found I had more and more spare time, so I asked myself what I could do. That's when I decided to start offering a childcare service."

    Cai now teaches all kinds of topics from home, charging about two dollars an hour. Parents can see their children making progress. "My child can make friends and have fun here and doesn't just sit in front of the TV," says one mother.

    Cai Mi teaches kids about the importance of looking after their teeth.

    Cai says: "I think what I'm doing is important. I can only do so much by myself, but I want to do something that has an impact on people around me."

    She wants to make her classes even better, so she's studying child psychology and learning to nurture observation skills and critical thinking. Busy parents in her neighborhood will be able to tap into that new expertise thanks to the power of modern technology.

    Watch Video 3:23