You are here:   Top News/

Mongolian villagers in Qinghai exit poverty by producing ethnic carvings by Liu Yizhou,July 31, 2020 Adjust font size:

A village referred to as “Iklaer” by the local Mongolian population, meaning “behind the mountains,” can be found in Xuji township, Delingha city in Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province. It is located in Delingha’s Beishan region, which lies southwest of Mount Dangjin and Mount Qilian and north of Mount Kagetu and Mount Zongwulong hundreds of kilometers north of the city’s central urban area.

Ikla village used to be impoverished as a result of its singular industrial structure; its residents only engaged in animal husbandry until recently. A total of 227 people live in 88 households in and around the village in Beishan, nearly 20 of whom have disabilities and 34 of whom are more than 60 years old. The Ikla residents led difficult lives, and a lot of work needed to be done.

How could the land behind the mountains develop a profitable characteristic industry?

“We tried to implement various collective animal and crop farming projects in the past, but none of them succeeded,” First Party Secretary of Ikla Yang Xuejing mentioned. “They either went bankrupt, or people gave up before they even started. The village’s residents lost their confidence.” 

In 2015, Qi Mingfu, an official working in Ikla, noticed that none of the shops in Delingha sold traditional Mongolian carvings. He thought to himself: “Old projects didn’t work out, so why not pursue ethnic arts and crafts in addition to raising sheep and cattle? If you want to do something new, you need to follow a path that others haven’t!”

Ikla’s residents are Mongolian, but few of them knew how to make the ethnic group’s traditional carvings. They needed to study traditional techniques and learn more about the artform in order to develop the industry in their village.

“In the beginning, the officials working in the village taught themselves various skills and eventually studied with a master of carving,” Ikla’s Party Branch Secretary Cairen Dongdebu recounted. “Many residents were still discouraged by the shadow cast by the failed collective economic projects that we pursued in the past and were not interested in the planned carving workshop. Fortunately, we persevered.” The secretary was a recent graduate at the time, and felt that the undertaking would be a great opportunity to help people get out of poverty. He immediately became part of the project when he returned to his hometown.

Ikla eventually received 500,000 yuan (US$70,600) of poverty reduction funding and used it to pay for the majority of a Mongolian ethnic carving workshop. Some of the village’s residents were convinced by the village officials to become shareholders in the collective and contributed an additional 300,000 yuan (US$42,360), which made it possible for the workshop to open in the summer of 2016.

Ikla residents had herded animals their whole lives and were still a little skeptical when they saw the completed facility and its new sign, however, and wondered: “Can we really make money by carving and painting pieces of wood? We don’t want to lose our life savings.”

“We didn’t think that we would profit so quickly,” the workshop’s employees and shareholders later stated. Its first batch of completed carvings were sold in August of 2016, and demand was good. Residents of Ikla soon ceased to worry about their futures.

The undertaking proceeded rapidly as a result of the comprehensive preparations made by the village officials during its initial stages.

They traveled through every corner of Delingha and determined that the Mongolian families living in the area have great demand for their ethnic group’s characteristic carvings.

As a Chinese proverb goes, “When you plant a parasol tree, a phoenix will definitely appear.” Cairen was put in charge of launching the carving workshop due to his familiarity with computer-aided carving.

“I learned various techniques at the Subei carving workshop in Gansu province, such as how to blend pigment and paint carvings when they are nearing completion,” Cairen mentioned. “Then I came back to Ikla and taught what I learned to our workshop’s employees.” He was carrying forward his forebearers’ dream of leaving the poverty that existed in the deep mountains behind and did not dare to rest. A steady stream of carvings were sold, which resulted in more than 90,000 yuan (US$12,708) of profit in 2016. Beishan’s young people gained stable employment and became absorbed in the inheritance of their ethnic culture.

Cairen and the shareholders of the village’s collective eventually began using the internet to market and sell the products that the workshop produces. They created a WeChat official account and their own e-commerce platform, which increased awareness of their carvings and resulted in more sales.

Business is currently booming as a result of the efforts that Cairen and the workshop’s shareholders have made. The organization currently brings in 100,000 yuan (US$14,120) of annual income, has created new jobs in the area, and issues nearly 20,000 yuan (US$2,824) of dividends to 27 impoverished households in Xuji township every year.

“We received 500,000 yuan (US$70,600) of support funding from our prefecture in 2019, and our village collective is expected to be able to issue 40,000 yuan (US$5,648) of dividends at the end of 2020,” Cairen stated confidently.

Ikla’s herders used to live separate lives, but the small ethnic carving workshop that the village founded has increased its residents’ incomes and brought people closer together.

From engaging in traditional forms of animal husbandry to producing ethnic Mongolian carvings, from stumbling at the beginning to increasing their incomes together, Ikla’s residents have harnessed their industriousness to forge a path out of the deep mountainous area.


About Us | Site Map | Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000  
京ICP证 040089号 网络传播视听节目许可证号:0105123 京公网安备110108006329号 京网文[2011]0252-085号