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Workshops provide localized jobs for villagers in Yongzhou by Jin Ling,February 04, 2019 Adjust font size:

Villagers making clothes in the poverty alleviation workshop in Shixia Village, Jianghua Yao Autonomous County of central China’s Hunan Province. [Photo provided by Yongzhou City]


Located in central China’s Hunan Province, Yongzhou is among the province’s key poverty alleviation target cities. In 2014, more than 670,000 people were living below the national poverty line of 2,300 yuan a year (U.S. $340). By improving villagers’ skills, encouraging their own initiative, and boosting local the economy, in 2018 Yongzhou succeeded in lifting more than 610,000 people, 742 villages and two counties out of poverty.


Jianghua Yao Autonomous County is a poor county in Yongzhou. Many of its young people go to cities in search of better job opportunities, and the county is mainly left with the elderly who generally rely on farming to generate a humble income.


To broaden their prospects, Jianghua attracted more than 400 small and micro companies to move some of their production to poverty alleviation workshops in its villages, providing easy to learn, flexible, localized jobs for more than 10,000 villagers, 30 percent of whom were living in poverty. Those who provide jobs for more than 100 villagers have half of their relocation costs subsidized by the government.


To look after her sick parents and children, Pan Meiying and her husband had to quit their jobs in Shenzhen and return home. After a period spent seeking and failing to find any job opportunities nearby, the family fell into poverty.


Thanks to the poverty alleviation workshop in Dongwei Village, Pan found a job as a leather product inspector. With a monthly income of more than 2,000 yuan (U.S. $300), Pan can now smile with satisfaction.


At the end of 2018, with all its 112 impoverished villages raised out of poverty, Jianghua was removed from the poverty list in China.


Yongzhou encourages all suitable villages and communities to set up poverty alleviation workshops that can host at least 30 workers in unused schools or village buildings. Currently, there are more than 700 such poverty alleviation workshops in Yongzhou, providing employment for more than 32,000 villagers, more than 12,000 of whom were classified as impoverished. These jobs have increased the annual incomes of the villagers by more than 20,000 yuan (U.S. $2,970).


One of the 216 poverty alleviation classrooms in Qiyang County of Yongzhou [Photo provided by Yongzhou City]


Yongzhou has also set up a number of poverty alleviation classrooms across the city, to explain poverty alleviation policies, train different skills, and share success stories to stimulate drive for self-development among the villagers.


These classes are arranged at cultural centers and other public buildings in impoverished villages. More than 900 part time trainers, including villagers who have emerged from poverty, village officials in charge of poverty alleviation work, and technical experts, give lectures and a range of training sessions.

Qiyang, one of the Yongzhou counties that have benefited, succeeded in lifting about 27,000 people and 44 villages out of poverty in 2018.

After being released from prison, Xiao Youhua from Sanjia Village in Qiyang fell into depression and then poverty. With the encouragement of village officials and fellow villagers, he attended poverty alleviation classes and studied specialized farming techniques. In the first half of 2018, he rented more than 8 acres of land to plant watermelons and earned more than 50,000 yuan (U.S. $7,400). Having learnt how to plant chilies, he now works at the poverty alleviation farm and earned more than 80,000 yuan (U.S. $11,900) that year.


Villagers sort vegetables in Dongsheng Village, Xintian County of Yongzhou. [Photo provided by Yongzhou City]


Through developing vegetable businesses, villagers in Dongsheng Village, of Xintian County ended their long-standing poverty and moved into new houses. After sorting, labeling and packaging, their vegetables reach markets in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao just seven hours. Some of them are even sold to Japan, Dubai and southeast Asia.


The poverty alleviation farm in Yongzhou [Photo provided by Yongzhou City]


According to Li Hui, the city Party secretary, Yongzhou regards specialized businesses as the key to help its people out of poverty. The city alone invested 20 million yuan (U.S. $3 million) in business development, and 65% of the national and provincial poverty alleviation budgets were also used to develop this field.

Lianghekou Village has taken on a fresh look after shaking off poverty. [Photo provided by Yongzhou City]

Li explains that the city will continue to boost its local economy, encourage more villagers to take part in poverty alleviation programs, and try its best to make sure villagers don’t fall back into poverty.

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