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Married Migrant Women to Get Free Training
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Shanghai has budgeted 5 million yuan (US$617,283) this year to subsidize free vocational training programs for migrant women married to local men - a group that often has trouble finding jobs in the city.


The training programs, which were set up by the Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau and the Shanghai Charity Foundation, cover 19 jobs, including domestic helper, supermarket cashier, shop assistant and waitress.


"The training was specially tailored to help the underprivileged migrant women master some skills," said Zhou Huijin, the program's director.


The city is home to about 115,000 migrant women who have married local men. Most of them come from rural areas in the countryside.


Many local men are reluctant to marry someone from the countryside, but migrant women often end up tying the knot with local men who have a small income, are elderly or come from a poor family.


An earlier survey of 1,599 married migrant women living in the city suggested that 21 percent of them live under the city's poverty line. Nearly 48 percent were out of work and said they lack vocational skills.


The women can only acquire a Shanghai Residence Permit after eight to 15 years of marriage, meaning they have fewer training opportunities than their native counterparts.


"I wish to learn some skills to find a job, but I can not afford the tuition," said Wang Haizhen, a woman from Anhui Province who married a local bus mechanic.


Wang, her husband and their 2-year-old son currently live on an income of just 1,500 yuan a month.


(Shanghai Daily February 9, 2006)

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