From the People's Daily App.
This is Story in the Story.
Danzhai county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, one of the poorest areas in China, eradicated poverty by developing tourism and promoting local culture.
Many Miao women including the elderly have earned their first company salaries with the help of the poverty alleviation project.
For many women of the Miao ethnic group in Danzhai county, selling local cultural heritage products such as textiles, paper and Miao embroidery has enabled them to escape poverty.
Since 2014, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has built a vocational college and tourist village and established a fund in Danzhai to help address poverty in the region. The group has invested 2.1 billion yuan ($310 million) so far.
Today’s Story in the Story looks at how the Danzhai model doesn't lift people from poverty by just giving them money, but by providing them with jobs.
Two women dressed in traditional Miao clothing look at a cellphone in Danzhai Wanda Village, a tourist village in Southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Photo: Global Times)
Dressed in traditional Miao clothes, 66-year-old Ahua picked tea leaves in the Danzhai Poverty Alleviation Tea Garden. The tea garden has helped local tea growers increase their incomes and expand market channels, while also providing training and jobs to locals.
Originally from Pu'an, Sandu Shuizu Autonomous county where she was a farmer, Ahua moved to Danzhai, nearly 40 kilometers away, so her grandson could go to school there.
During peak season, she can earn more than 200 yuan per day, which is far more than what she could make farming at home.
"I feel happier picking tea leaves here, since I can chat with my friends and sisters instead of farming alone at home," she said, noting that many villagers migrated to Danzhai after the poverty alleviation project was launched there.
In the tourist village at Danzhai sits a shop called Village Story. Dark blue clothing and bags decorated with various patterns in white are on display in the shop.
Wang Jianqi, 30 years old, was busy using a tiny axe-shaped knife to draw various designs in beeswax on a canvas bag that she would later sell for 99 yuan. Wang was dressed in traditional clothing she made herself using an ancient Miao wax-resist dyeing technique.
Originating from as early as the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220), this type of wax-resist dyeing of cloth is an integral part of the Miao people's ancient culture and history.
The founder of Village Story, Yu Ying, has witnessed tremendous changes in the village since she first came to explore the local culture a decade ago.
"I remember 10 years ago, when I visited the villages for the first time, most of the people who welcomed me were men. I could feel their disdain and arrogance," Yu said.
Young women dressed in Miao clothing walk through the Danzhai Wanda Village. (Photo: Global Times)
Attracted by the beauty of the local culture, she decided to launch training projects to teach Miao women about marketing and exporting their cultural products to other parts of China, even abroad, so that the culture could thrive and continue to be passed on.
One of the problems in poverty-stricken areas in China are so-called "left-behind children" - children left in the care of family members while their parents head off to big cities in search of work.
Some of Yu's staff used to have to leave their kids behind, but with this new source of income they are now able to stay at home with their children.
"Allowing mothers to stay means having the men stay. It also means that the children and local culture can stay. No matter what methods we use, such as embroidery or developing tourism, as long as we retain mothers we can bring hope to others," said Yu.
Danzhai's poverty alleviation project has attracted attention from US researchers. Antonio M. Bento, a professor and director of the Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Southern California (USC), is one of them.
"In my own work as a researcher, when we think about poverty alleviation, we often think of projects related to poverty alleviation being primarily led by the government, and often by the government alone.
“So, I think what Wanda brings to the table is what I would call 'private solutions to poverty alleviation,' because one way to create a robust poverty alleviation model is by believing in the power of the economy and markets," he said.
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Global Times.)