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Supporting Laid-off Women in Beijing

Thanks to the efforts made by the Beijing Women's Federation, foreign grants have been donated to help destitute laid-off women in Beijing increase their chances for re-employment. And financial support has been provided to women who run their own businesses. CRI reporter Zhou Yun talks to some of these former laid-off women and they agree their lives have been greatly improved. 
Bao Biru is a woman in her 40s and she started attended training courses specially designed for unemployed women as soon as the Beijing Women's Federation and the Australian Agency for International Development jointly set up a program to support laid-off women last year.

"I have learned professional skills from the courses and I sell Chinese knots made by myself to wholesale markets and my income has been increased by doing small business."

Another laid-off woman Li Jiying is her "classmate". She says she has learned how to do paper cutting and fabric knitting and even wants to set up her own businesses.

"I think it would have been impossible for me to run a business of my own without attending the courses. I learned a lot of professional skills here and became determined to realize my dream."

The project to support laid-off women in Beijing was created by Beijing Women's Federation and the Australian Agency for International Development with a grant of 50,000 US Dollars in May of last year.

Li jing is an official from Bejing Women's Federation. She says the project not only provides skill training for unemployed women but also provides legal advice through phone hot lines to women in need.

"Some poor women want to protect their legal rights by going to court but have no money for a lawyer. We can provide them with free legal aid, for example we can write petitions for them."

Furthermore, she says workshops and consultations have been held with poor women to increase their awareness of employment policies, marriage and family laws and also training has been conducted to raise women's awareness about the prevention of domestic violence.

By far 4 branches of the Women's Employment Service Center which were established by Beijing Women's Federation have received support from the Australian Agency. And this project will be extended to other districts and counties in Beijing soon. 
(CRI.com August 18, 2004)

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