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[Poverty Alleviation Through a Lens] Climbing Out of Poverty, April 6, 2017 Adjust font size:

[Photo by Chen Jie]

Alarming photos that emerged last May, of 15 Chinese schoolchildren forced to scale an 800-meter rock face on unsecured rattan ladders on their journey to and from school, drew international attention to problems of poverty in Atuler cliff-top village, which is located in Zhaojue County, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan Province in southwest China. Tourism, together with eco-tourism and ethical tourism will help boost the local economy and lift the population out of poverty.

The rattan structure, a chain of 17 smaller ladders tied together without any railings, used to be the shortest possible way for locals to access the outside world. After weighing the options of installing a ropeway, repairing roads, and relocation, the local government promised to have the makeshift rattan ladders replaced by metal ones with an angle of no more than 60 degrees. Now, climbers can reduce the length of a round trip by more than an hour. In addition, the newl- built ladder is expected to have a service life of between 10 and 20 years. This allows villagers to make grander plans to open up the economy, and to look for opportunities in tourism.

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