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Gift of work means new independence
( 2003-12-30 01:15) (China Daily)

A total of 7,064 women in poverty-stricken areas of western China have received job and life skills, thanks to financial help from Japan, the All-China Women's Federation and the World Bank.

The effort is described in a report called "Empowering Poor Women in the Western Region," which describes the US$950,000 donated by the Japan Social Development Fund as enabling a programme that has helped 145 villages in 35 counties and districts in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in western China during the past two years.

Women at Weicun Village in Pucheng County, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, stand along the roadside to welcome Dingyong Hou, operations officer from the World Bank on a visit to the village.  [Newsphoto.com.cn]
In Shaanxi alone, more than 4,600 women from 1,148 families have received training that has enabled them to acquire skills in planting, aquaculture, arts and crafts, and household work.

"It has helped women in poverty-stricken areas to improve their life through their own efforts," said Zhang Jing, director of the International Liaison Department of the federation.

The project has provided the women in western China an opportunity to gain some basic knowledge and start their own businesses.

"Because of this, it is not a project that is giving away money to these women, but spends every penny to help them acquire basic skills to make a living," said Dingyong Hou, operations officer of the project from the World Bank.

The projects chosen must follow strict rules, with women selected to participate judged on the quality of the ideas they endeavour to achieve, Hou said.

Project implementation in some villages in Shitiaojie Town has brought hope to our economy, said Zhang Xianbin, head of the town.

"The project has enhanced the democratic awareness of rural women and injected vitality to the democratic procedures in the rural areas," the town chief said.

In a letter to the federation, Zhang Yuxiao, who has been aided by projects in Yanjia Village in Qianyang County, Shaanxi Province, said the programme greatly helped her family.

"I used to be at odds with my husband because we didn't have enough money to support the family," she said. "I thought of death sometimes. But now I learnt to make a fortune through the project."

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