Rural Chinese Shake Off Poverty Through Self-Development

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) — On a muggy summer day in Xiuning County of central Anhui Province, Wu Fengfeng still chops wood with a five-kilogram carpenter axe in a workshop of the non-profit Desheng Carpentry School.

The 18-year-old boy, who is from a poor rural family in Xiuning, said his only task now is to master the techniques of making the four-sided “immortal eight” table and palace chair — two types of traditional Chinese furniture — so that he can “graduate soon and make money.”

As part of Xiuning’s development-oriented alleviation campaign that started in 2002, the carpentry school aims at improving professional skills through vocational training of people living in the county’s poverty-stricken areas, said an official with the county’s poverty alleviation office.

“My academic performance isn’t good and studying in high school costs too much for my family,” Wu explained with a shy smile, as he persuaded his parents to send him to Desheng Carpentry School, instead of a high school, when he graduated from junior middle school two years ago.

However, studying in the carpentry school doesn’t necessarily mean a bleak future.

Every March, the non-profit school that provides free carpentry training recruits about 30 students from among over 100 candidates of poor rural families, and academic performance isn’t an entry requirement.

Thus far, all 146 graduates of the school have obtained jobs with an annual income of about 40,000 yuan (6,208 U.S. dollars).

“One qualified graduate with vocational training can help the whole family climb out of poverty completely,” said Jin Tao, head of the county government.

Source: Xinhua (link opens in a new window)