‘Gift goats’ cre­ate in­come for vil­lagers

Ben­e­fits then passed on to oth­ers in need

China Daily (Canada) - - XINJIANG - By CHEN HONG in Kash­gar, Xin­jiang chenhong@chi­nadaily.com.cn By CHEN HONG in Kash­gar, Xin­jiang

Ablimit Tu­dia, a 67-year-old farmer in Kash­gar, Xin­jiang Uyghur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­ports a “gift goat” pro­gram that be­gan in the dis­trict in De­cem­ber 2011.

He and his wife re­ceived a 5,400 yuan ($875) startup loan from the pro­gram that year, which they used to buy five preg­nant goats.

Their num­ber of goats dou­bled at the be­gin­ning of 2012 when five kids were born, and the cou­ple even­tu­ally sold the off­spring for 7,500 yuan.

The orig­i­nal goats have since given birth to another two sets of five kids, which can now be sold for more than 20,000 yuan.

Tudi, who speak only Uyghur, ex­pressed his grat­i­tude through a trans­la­tor.

“He said the pro­gram is very good. His fam­ily need not worry about money mat­ters now,” the trans­la­tor said.

The cou­ple, who live apart from their chil­dren, earned less than 5,000 yuan a year be­fore the pro­gram. Now they can live com­fort­ably on their goat-rais­ing skills.

As a part of the pro­gram, the cou­ple have passed on their startup loan of 5,400 yuan to another poverty-stricken fam­ily in their vil­lage.

Ac­cord­ing to the so­cial work­ers’ sta­tion, which was in­tro­duced by the Shen­zhen gov­ern­ment as an ef­fort to pro­vide pro­fes­sional ser­vices to the Kash­gar com­mu­nity, they jointly ad­min­is­ter the pro­gram with the Sichuan Hai­hui Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Ser­vice Cen­ter and the lo­cal an­i­mal hus­bandry au­thor­ity.

“Sichuan Hai­hui pro­vides their long ex­pe­ri­ence and prac­tice, the lo­cal an­i­mal hus­bandry trains the farm­ers, and we are re­spon­si­ble to im­ple­ment the pro­gram,” said Wu Qi­ulin, chief of the sta­tion.

Sichuan Hai­hui is the sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive in China of Heifer In­ter­na­tional, a global non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion since 1944. The or­ga­ni­za­tion has pro­vided live­stock to more than 15.5 mil­lion poor fam­i­lies in ru­ral ar­eas in more than 125 coun­tries.

The pro­gram funds par­tic­i­pants to raise live­stock and be­come sel­f­re­liant, and the par­tic­i­pants are then asked to pass on the same num­ber of an­i­mals or an equal cash amount to other needy fam­i­lies, thus per­pet­u­at­ing the gift.

In the “gift goat” pro­gram in the ru­ral area of Kash­gar, Sichuan Hai­hui and the Shen­zhen gov­ern­ment helped fi­nance the first group of se­lected 80 fam­i­lies in De­cem­ber 2011.

The par­tic­i­pants can keep the breed­ing goats and their off­spring, but need to pass the startup amount two years later to another needy fam­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to the so­cial work­ers’ sta­tion, most of the fam­i­lies in the ru­ral ar­eas of Kash­gar are poor but can eas­ily tend the live­stock, as the men sel­dom work away from home and the women raise the chil­dren. In ad­di­tion, the lo­cal Uyghurs are will­ing to work hard to bet­ter their lives.

The pro­gram has been well re­ceived among the vil­lagers.

So far, it has ben­e­fited 430 fam­i­lies in six vil­lages of five coun­ties, of which 350 were first re­cip­i­ents and 80 fam­i­lies got the regifted funds, ac­cord­ing to the so­cial work­ers’ sta­tion.

“All 80 fam­i­lies in the first batch passed on the loans. That re­sult is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing,” Wu said.

A survey by so­cial work­ers, who sam­pled 50 house­holds from the first group, showed the in­come of each fam­ily in­creased by at least 12,000 yuan over the first two years.

The pro­gram is ex­pected to ben­e­fit 780 fam­i­lies by the end of this year, Wu said.

The so­cial work­ers also put 20 to 25 fam­i­lies into mu­tual-aid teams, in which the mem­bers are re­quired to con­trib­ute a small amount of money ev­ery month, Wu said.

Fam­i­lies in need can ac­cess the funds, such as to pay wa­ter and elec­tric­ity fees, see doc­tors or buy food.

“It helps to build a car­ing and loving so­ci­ety among the Uyghur vil­lagers,” said Dong Huan, a so­cial worker from Shen­zhen.

In March 2013, Batu Ubli’s 2-yearold son was se­ri­ously scalded by boil­ing wa­ter on his right arm and part of his body.

The fam­ily sold all 10 of their goats, but still needed more money to pay his med­i­cal costs, Batu told re­porters.

The mu­tual-aid team gave 1,000 yuan to the fam­ily, and other vil­lagers also do­nated 800 yuan.

“We all cried when we re­ceived the money. I will work hard and help other vil­lagers in need as well,” Batu said.

Ac­cord­ing to Dong, the pro­gram also af­fects the lo­cal res­i­dents’ per­cep­tion of their fam­i­lies and chil­dren, through train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

“Many fam­i­lies be­lieved that girls don’t need to study much, but now the par­ents want their sons and daugh­ters to go to univer­sity,” Dong said.

Another change is that the par­ents have be­gun en­cour­ag­ing their chil­dren to study Chi­nese and hope the so­cial work­ers will help them im­prove their lis­ten­ing and speak­ing abil­i­ties.

It takes about eight hours to fly from Shen­zhen, an af­flu­ent city bor­der­ing Hong Kong, to Kash­gar in North­west China’s Xin­jiang Uyghur au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

It was the long­est do­mes­tic flight route when Hainan Air­lines started op­er­at­ing it last Oc­to­ber to con­nect China’s old­est spe­cial eco­nomic zone with its youngest, with a stopover at Urumqi, the cap­i­tal city of Xin­jiang.

De­spite the dis­tance of more than 5,000 km be­tween the ci­ties, Shen­zhen was des­ig­nated by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in 2010 to of­fer oneon-one as­sis­tance to the ur­ban area of Kash­gar, and one of its 11 coun­ties — Tushkur­gan — which bor­ders Pak­istan, Afghanistan and Ta­jik­istan.

The south­ern city gov­ern­ment plans to invest about 700 mil­lion yuan ($113.6 mil­lion) this year to support the eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment of Kash­gar and Tushkur­gan, ac­cord­ing to the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice of the Shen­zhen gov­ern­ment in Kash­gar, which is the front­line head­quar­ters.

The fi­nan­cial in­put usu­ally ac­counts for 0.6 per­cent of Shen­zhen’s city-level fis­cal in­come each year. This year, the Shen­zhen gov­ern­ment pro­vided an ex­tra 200 mil­lion yuan to build a com­pre­hen­sive univer­sity in Kash­gar, said Luo Jian­peng, com­mand gen­eral of the front­line head­quar­ters.

The south­ern city has in­vested roughly 2.8 bil­lion yuan in 127 projects since 2010, he added.

“It’s crit­i­cal to de­velop the econ­omy of Kash­gar so that peo­ple can have jobs and make money, which is good for the peace of south­ern Xin­jiang,” said Luo, who also holds the po­si­tion of deputy Party chief of Kash­gar and its sur­round­ing vil­lages.

Kash­gar, the big­gest city in south­ern Xin­jiang, has had a num­ber of ter­ror­ist at­tacks the past few years.

“When peo­ple are poor, with no jobs, they are more in­clined to be per­suaded by ter­ror­ists and take ex­treme ac­tions,” Luo said.

At least half of the an­nual in­vest­ment from Shen­zhen goes to the de­vel­op­ment of an in­dus­trial park and a new city — two projects that can cre­ate jobs and a bet­ter liv­ing stan­dard, Luo said.

The Shen­zhen In­dus­trial Park, cov­er­ing 3.3 sq km, has at­tracted about 10 bil­lion yuan in con­trac­tual cap­i­tal from 23 com­pa­nies, of which 950 mil­lion yuan has been in­vested, gov­ern­ment fig­ures show.

Some of the com­pa­nies are in­volved in the green sec­tors of new en­ergy, new ma­te­ri­als, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and so­lar en­ergy de­vel­op­ment.

“Th­ese com­pa­nies could cre­ate at least 2,000 jobs. We ex­pect such va­can­cies will in­crease fur­ther with a grow­ing num­ber of com­pa­nies mov­ing in,” Luo said.


Shen­zhen City, de­vel­oped by 11 State-owned com­pa­nies from Shen­zhen, will be a new down­town in the east of Kash­gar with sky­scraper of­fice build­ings, a fi­nan­cial dis­trict, en­ter­tain­ment venues and pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties.

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