With the support of TFish, this project aims to support housewives from a poverty-stricken village in Huining county, Gansu province by providing microloans. It will promote income and provide development opportunities to women in the villages.
This lady's name is Ma Yuying. She is 48 and has 3 children. Her son is in Lanzhou Communication University and her 2 daughters have gotten married. Ma Yuying says she bought 2 sheep with the 2,000 RMB ($300 USD) loan. The two sheep gave birth to lambs and she sold them for 1,500 RMB ($225 USD). She used the money and her savings to open a little store that sells daily necessities. This is the store they built with about 20,000 RMB ($3,000 USD). It has been in operation for 2 weeks. When we asked about prices, she said they sell things cheaper than in the city, which benefits the villagers.
We also conducted group interviews of the women. Some of the men also came. The women gave their seats to the men, which is a long-established custom in the village. However, we insisted that the women should sit on the chairs while the men sat on the ground.
Group Interviews outside the store
It is the less-busy season for farmers in Lucha village. Women stay at home and do stitch work. Ma Yuying showed us her work, which was beautiful. Nowadays not as many people do stitching.
Ma Lanhua is one of the older interviewees. She said she bought 3 sheep with the loans and now has 3 lambs. When we asked about her future plans, she told us she hoped the sheep would be sold for good prices. She is getting older, so she would like to raise cattle.
Ma Kemei is 42, and she said her 2 sheep have given birth to 2 lambs. We asked what else they would like to learn. What about stitching or poultry raising?
As for stitching, the women were afraid they would not have the required skills or marketing ability. As for chicken raising, they said they would like to try. The area around their houses could be farms for the chickens, but we would need to provide necessary training. We got some valuable information from the interviews. We hope to promote chicken farming among the women after Chinese New Year.
Hearing us talk about the livestock, a 70-year-old man named Ma Zhongxiu told us how he was bullied by a goat. When he fed the goat one day, it pushed him with head. He smiled as he told the story. We could feel his pleasure in feeding the goat. The men said they would support the women in developing these skills, which in return could benefit themselves as well.
Winter in the village seemed bleak, but the earth is nursing hope. We hope the women living in the village harvest more in the coning year.
Original article written by Cunjun Ma, translated by Maggie Li, and edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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