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Training Program Helps Rural Women Find Jobs

Ma Lixia attended a year-long computer studies program in Beijing in 2003 which was offered free of charge.

The training changed the life of the poor rural woman from Tianshui in northwest China's Gansu Province. Due to economic difficulties, Ma originally stopped going to school after attending junior middle school.

"I have learnt new skills and am able to make a living for myself," said 19-year-old Ma, who now works at a hotel in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, and earns more than 500 yuan (US$60) a month.

Ma sends part of her salary back home to her father in the hope it will help improve the old man's life.

Although she is now employed, Ma has not stopped learning. In her spare time she continues to learn more about computers, and studies English by herself.

"I'm confident that my future will be better and better," she said.

From today, 34 young women like Ma will attend a three-month computer course at the Beijing-based Practical Skills Training School for Rural Women, according to the head of the school, Luo Zhaohong.

The women are from poor areas in provinces like Hebei, Gansu and Qinghai. Their expenses, including train tickets to Beijing and accommodation, are all covered by the school.

More training courses are under way to help poor rural women, she added.

Luo's school was established in 1998. By the end of last year, more than 3,600 young women from poor areas had benefited from training ranging from computer studies to hairdressing.

The women were picked by local women's unions, which then recommended them to the school.

Two-thirds of the women found jobs afterwards in cities.

The rest went home and tried to start their own businesses, Luo said.

"Our program aims to give women the skills that can help them find employment," Luo said. "Most trainees will be offered a job if they wants one after training."

She said most of those who were offered jobs went to big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Qingdao.

As the program is not profit-orientated, it costs the trainees either nothing or a very small sum, she said. The school is financially supported by donations from both home and abroad, and by government aid.

Some women, after studying at the school and getting a job, even give some money back to the school so that more women can be helped, Luo said.

(China Daily March 8, 2005)

Rural Women Sample State Affairs
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