NGO started by Shanghai high school student brings soccer to China’s left-behind children

Shelly Huang is a high school student in the Shanghai American School, a well-known international school based in Shanghai. Blessed with a comfortable life in a cosmopolitan city, Shelly felt the need to do something to help some of China’s 61 million left-behind children, youths living mostly in rural areas whose parents work in other parts of China. Often brought up by elderly relatives, they are forced to grow up without their parents by their side, something which is considered to be a serious social issue. Realizing that she was powerless to bring these children and their parents back together again, she decided to focus on giving left-behind children more opportunities for physical activity, in order to make them happier and healthier.

In 2015, Shelly founded Youth Spotlight, an NGO that creates soccer teams for left-behind children in underdeveloped regions, in order to help alleviate their loneliness and boredom and bring them joy and love. Run by a group of students from the Shanghai American School, Youth Spotlight has turned into a network of six high schools around the globe, all working for the same purpose: to improve the lives of left-behind children. The organization has formed a soccer league involving nine elementary schools, and empowering 224 left-behind elementary school children in Qianshan, Anhui province.

You can find out more about Youth Spotlight from their website:


UntitledA phoro of one of the soccer teams founded by the NGO in an Anhui elementary school

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