From poverty to prosperity: Shibadong's story of targeted poverty relief

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 3, 2020
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New life, new start

Transformative changes have been reflected in the lives of people in the village.

"If I were still living in poverty, no one would want to marry me," said Shi Liujin, who found his significant other at 44.

He was not alone. Before 2013, there were more than 30 single men over 40 years old, because few women would marry into families in the poor village.

"I used to see someone. But after visiting the village and my dilapidated home, she backed down," Shi said. He had previously been a migrant worker for over 20 years.

As the village prospered, he returned to his hometown in 2015 and opened a restaurant while also working as a tour guide. Shortly after, he joined a kiwi fruit cooperative, as the local fruit began to gain popularity. In 2017, as a bottled water business was founded, he became a technician at the factory. 

Shi Liujin gets married on Sept. 24, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

With more income and improved livelihood, Shi became more confident and finally got married in 2018.

He was not the only one who returned to the village after seeing the transformative changes. The 24-year-old Shi Linjiao is a college graduate who majored in music. She quit her job in a big city, and founded a small workshop with two others to introduce the Miao lifestyle and local specialties via short videos and livestreaming.

Shi Linjiao, a 24-year-old, returns to Shibadong after graduating from college. [Photo/Xinhua]

Their videos depict a thriving village with renovated facilities, newly paved roads, untouched scenic beauty, and well-preserved traditions and culture of the Miao people.

Cell phone reception was bad in the past, so it was hard to finish a phone call, she said. "But now, with wireless internet coverage, I can livestream almost anywhere anytime with strong connections."

Her workshop now uses three short video accounts to introduce the Miao lifestyle, natural landscapes, and local cuisine.

Shi Linjiao livestreams on short video platforms to sell local specialties. [Photo/Xinhua]

Since publishing their first video in February, Shi's workshop has attracted over 100,000 followers across web platforms. "I also promote our local specialties via livestreaming, which helps with the sales," she said.

"Shaking off poverty is not the end of the story, but a fresh start for even better lives," said Ma Huihuang, leader of the poverty relief team at Shibadong. He said the village's ultimate goal is to sustain long-term prosperity.

Over the years, the village has arranged lectures and vocational training for people to be better equipped with skills and knowledge to make money on their own terms.

The Chinese government has vowed to continue applying the current poverty alleviation standards, increasing the allocation of resources, and taking stronger steps to implement poverty reduction measures. The aim is to ensure that all of China's remaining poor people are lifted out of poverty by the end of this year.

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