“Every child deserves the opportunity to live in a family”; this is the message from Robert Glover, a former footballer, who moved to Shanghai with his wife and six young children in 1998 to introduce the first foster care system in China.
Robert Glover first visited China in 1996 as a UK social worker to research how he could use his professional training to support disadvantaged children. In 1998 Robert and Elizabeth founded ‘Care for Children’ and moved to Shanghai with their family of eight, to work in partnership with the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
To acknowledge the unprecedented success of the pilot project, in 2002, Robert was awarded the White Magnolia award by the Mayor of Shanghai for outstanding services to the city.
Robert and Elizabeth were then asked by the Beijing government to move to Beijing to act as an advisor to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and to roll out foster care across China .
In 2005 Robert was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London, for his work for Care for Children.
In 2012 Care for Children was invited to begin a pilot project in Thailand, 2014, a third project was launched in Vietnam.
In the documentary “Children of Shanghai” began development, charting the Glover’s journey to China, and showing the huge impact of their work in the lives of thousands of vulnerable children. The documentary, due for release in 2020, connects with five of the first
Glover fostered five out of over a million children that were placed in foster families, and shares their experiences in Children of Shanghai. This documentary is narrated by Bear Grylls and follows through their life experiences while teaching about this new concept that challenges social convention in a country with a one-child policy.
Glover shares his story and how he had to face the decision to change his life and move to another country and culture. With plenty of professional and cultural challenges that he and his family had to overcome, food gave them the chance to have a cultural exchange and the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with the Chinese government. On his way to empower and encourage himself to make a better life for children, many obstacles needed to be overcome – including an element of resistance from older generations while interest was being shown by younger generations when playing football. This changed the impression about him and his goals in China with those around him.
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