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Thriving home services empower women

By ZHANG YANGFEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-05-27 09:27
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Nurela Usman (left) discusses nursing skills with fellow household management workers in Artux, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. CHINA DAILY

Nurela Usman, a woman in her 50s who runs a home services company in Artux, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, said she has "very, very big goals".

She established her company, Wanshan Zhizhou, in April 2020 hoping to engage more local women in working and boosting their family incomes. The company now has 69 women offering more than 20 services including housekeeping, babysitting, cleaning, maternity and elderly care and nursing, covering thousands of households within the city.

These placements have greatly increased female employees' incomes, which can range from 1,000 to 10,000 yuan ($150 to $1,500) a month.

Nurela's business idea was prompted after working in social welfare homes for a dozen years. During that time, she looked after patients and mediated family conflicts, and she realized that the market potential was huge.

"In the past, women here had nothing else to do but cooking and taking care of children at home. Every time I mediated a family dispute, I found that the cause revolved around money. They couldn't earn enough," she said.

After doing lots of market research, she discovered the demand for home services was growing rapidly in Artux.

In order to open up the market, Nurela led a group of women to start a basic cleaning service and rolled up her sleeves to work alongside her employees. "Only by doing it myself could I better manage the team and serve customers," she said.

To increase the quality of the services, the company cooperated with a vocational school in Artux.

The company employees can receive professional training at the school while the students can gain work experience at the company. Nurela even visited Jinan, capital of Shandong province, twice for senior care management training.

"Everyone has been very supportive. The vocational school, social welfare homes at all levels, the Party and the government," she said, adding that she received business startup funds of 150,000 yuan and social insurance subsidies of 18,000 yuan from the government.

Nurela has even bigger plans. With the company running smoothly, she wants to offer more support for local children and women by opening a kindergarten and a premarital school that gives training to young couples before marriage.

"In my work at social welfare homes, I found lots of young people resorted to divorce whenever a problem came up. They didn't know how to take care of children and the elderly or how to manage a family. They need more knowledge," she said.

As an orphan who grew up in an orphanage, Nurela said it was thanks to government support that she managed to get educated from primary level to university, and she wanted to return the favor by helping more women laborers find jobs.

"My thoughts are simple, just to help more rural women find jobs that are close to their homes, increase their incomes and improve their standards of living," she said.

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