BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Welfare activities and projects initiated for children swept across China on Friday, International Children's Day.
A "free lunch for poor pupils" online fund raising scheme led by domestic web search giant Baidu called for netizens to post "blessings" on a forum. With Baidu promising to donate one free lunch in the name of each poster, 360,202 of the messages were collected between 11 a.m. and noon on Friday.
It is estimated that Baidu will spend more than 1 million yuan (157,000 U.S. dollars) on the food.
A netizen named "Jiangjixia" posted, "I was ever a left-behind child, and I can understand them. I hope everyone can show a little love or care, even one penny matters."
The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) also launched a campaign on Children's Day calling on the public to help homeless youngsters, and for charities and social organizations to pay more attention to the group.
A 12-month initiative launched last December by the MCA and seven other ministries including the Education Ministry and the Ministry of Public Security has so far helped more than 11,000 homeless children "find a home," according to MCA figures.
The "blue sky" plan, another MCA project for financing the construction of childhood welfare institutions, will be expanded to offer more services to needy children, promised MCA vice minister Dou Yupei when visiting orphans and disabled children at the Beijing Child Welfare House on Friday.
More than 400 children's welfare centers were built or renovated across China in the 2010-2015 period, realizing the target that each prefecture-level city has at least one such facility, Dou said.
The Chinese government has also kept exploring new ways to guarantee the happy, healthy growth of children affected by earthquakes and other disasters.
In southwest China's Sichuan Province, which was devastated by a massive quake that left more than 80,000 people dead or missing in 2008, 40 "children's friendly homes" have been built to provide services including education, medical care, entertainment and psychological support for more than 330,000 children.
The model has also been duplicated by Yushu, in northwest China's Qinghai Province, after many children were left homeless by a 7.1-magnitude quake in 2010.
By 2020, 90 percent of China's urban and rural communities will have a similar facility, according to a national outline for children's development.