|CHANGSHA, Mar. 28, 2018 -- Long Shunjin, 37, has been filled with happiness recently, as she is close to her daughter again after working away from home since the now two-year-old was just a baby.
Long lives in Paiwu Village in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in central China's Hunan Province. Tucked away in remote mountains, residents do not have enough arable land and many live in poverty. For decades, young people have migrated to cities for work to support their families.
Long left to work as a caregiver for new mothers and newborns in Jishou, the nearest city, when her second child was just eight months old. She made 3,000 yuan (470 U.S. dollars) a month, not as much as others who went further away to larger cities, but she was able to take four days off every month to visit her children.
"The oldest child was better and often video chatted with me. But the second one was just too young. I barely had any time around her. She backed away every time I tried to hug her," the mother said.
Official data shows that over 9 million children were left behind in rural areas while their parents worked in cities in 2016. More than 90 percent live in the central and western provinces. Hunan is home to about 700,000 left-behind children.
Last July, Long learned about a Miao embroidery training course in her hometown. Local women are eligible to sign up to learn the intangible cultural heritage.