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Focusing on special groups and helping them secure their livelihoods by Liu Yizhou,May 08, 2020 Adjust font size:


Editors Notes: Fifty-two of China’s counties and 2,707 of its villages currently remain in poverty. The country’s poverty-stricken population is much smaller than it was in the past, but the people in this group are some of the poorest of the poor and are not easy to help out of poverty. Senior citizens, people with illnesses, and people with disabilities constitute 45.7 percent of the nation’s impoverished citizens at present, which can make poverty alleviation more difficult. What is the current annual plan for China’s impoverished counties? How can poverty reduction industries develop and consolidate? How can the problem of students dropping out of school be addressed? How can better social insurance be provided to impoverished people? How can cleaner water and safer housing be made available in rural areas? How can people with disabilities be better cared for? China's Poverty Reduction Online website publishes the stories of five officials who are currently engaged in poverty alleviation work in various impoverished counties in order to answer these questions and elucidate the process. The following is the second story in the series from Aze Erbu, director of civil affairs in Meigu county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province.

Before Spring Festival, I went to visit people with disabilities who led difficult lives. I met a young man who was paralyzed and looked worried. I saw that he was in tears when we made eye contact. He became crippled when he was employed as a migrant worker and fell off a building in an urban area. The man has a child who is seven or eight years old and had been in the care of his relatives. I told him about various social security programs that have been designed to help people like him. The family could receive 180 yuan (US$25) for living expenses and subsidies for the disabled per month and 350 yuan (US$49) of minimum livelihood guarantee payments for impoverished people in rural areas, which would be enough to support them. The man’s child could also apply for allowance for de facto orphans, which would result in an additional 900 yuan (US$127) each month, and the two would have enough income to survive. I also helped them apply for a 5,000-yuan (US$705) charity grant, and they received it.

There are 50,519 households that have been identified as bringing in low amounts of income in Meigu county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, which is over 20,000 more than there were two years ago. The latter figure includes most of the population in the area that experiences special difficulties. People who have disabilities can receive a nursing allowance and a 100-yuan (US$14.08) per month living allowance in addition to the minimum subsidy for rural impoverished people.

Helping people with mental disabilities becomes the most urgent task at this point. I visited the local health insurance director a few days ago, and we talked about how we can help people with mental disabilities beyond providing medical insurance coverage. The temporary assistance provided by the civil affairs department seems to be an effective approach for the time being. A hospital that treats people with mental disabilities in the county receives annual funding that makes it possible for more than 50 people to live there, which is an important undertaking.

A few days ago, I also visited senior citizens living at the Daqiao nursing home again. The government makes it possible for 41 people to reside there. Staff cook and do the laundry, and the residents receive 500-yuan (US$70) living allowances every month. The arrangement meets most all of their needs. There are also 864 seniors living across the county who receive other types of aid. They all have moved into new housing with a secure life.

One of our priority tasks this year is to compile complete and accurate information about de facto orphans. According to the Chinese policy adopted last year, de facto orphans refer to children whose parents are seriously sick, disabled or have been declared missing, and children with both parents serving prison terms, undergoing drug rehabilitation or subject to other personal freedom restriction measures, or who have lost contact with their parents in other ways. They are the future of Meigu!

There is also more work to be done to improve the dynamic management of special vulnerable groups and ensure that everyone who needs social insurance coverage is able to get it. We need to accurately identify people who develop major diseases and provide them with a minimum of 30,000 yuan (US$4,227) of temporary assistance as well.

There are currently about 32,000 impoverished people, almost 1,000 orphans and minors who do not have guardians who are able to take care of them, and more than 4,000 people with disabilities who still need aid in Meigu. I believe that the social security system and our efforts will result in adequate assistance for them so they do not have to worry about things like food and clothing.



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