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Villagers' startup goat loans improve their lives

By Cheng Hong | China Daily | Updated: 2014-12-16 07:44

Ablimit Tudi, a 67-year-old farmer in Kashgar, the Xinjiang Uygur 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 ($872) startup loan that year, which they used to buy five pregnant goats.

Their livestock doubled at the beginning of 2012 when five kids were born, which the couple sold at the end of 2012 for 7,500 yuan. The original goats have since given birth to another 10 kids, which can be sold for more than 20,000 yuan.

Tudi, who can only speak Uygur, 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, but can now live comfortably on their goat-raising skills.

As a part of the program, the couple have passed on their startup loan to another needy family in their village.

The program is jointly administered by a social workers' station, which was introduced by the Shenzhen government to provide services to the Kashgar community, the Sichuan Haihui Poverty Alleviation Service Center and the local animal husbandry authority.

"Sichuan Haihui provides its long experience and practice, the local husbandry authority trains the farmers and we are responsible for implementing the program," said Wu Qiulin, chief of the station.

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

Rather than a simple donation, the program funds participants to raise livestock and become self-reliant, and the participants are asked to pass on the same number of animals or an equal cash amount to other needy families.

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

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

The program has been well received by the villagers.

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