By Huang Xian, Wang Xiufang, People’s Daily
Guizhou, a province located in southwest China, is surrounded by mountain ranges and stony deserts. It was once deeply troubled by poverty due to the poor geographical condition.
About 92.5 percent of the area in the province is covered by mountains and hills, and 73 percent is made up of karst landscape. Guizhou is the only province in China without a plain.
At the end of 2015, Guizhou kicked off a large relocation program for poverty alleviation. At that time, the province was home to 9,000 impoverished villages and 4.93 million impoverished residents. It used to be a provincial-level region with the largest population of poor people in China.
In the following five years, 1.92 million impoverished people in the province moved into modern residential complexes from the mountains, and thus ushered in a new chapter of life.
“I had to walk more than an hour to go to school in town in the past, and now it takes only around 10 minutes. At school, we have bright classrooms and fun activities, and we like them very much,” said Li Tongtong, a student at a primary school in Qianxi, Guizhou.
In 2018, Li moved from Jinlan village in Qianxi to the city’s largest poverty-alleviation resettlement site with her family. The relocation not only offers Li’s family a big and safe apartment, but also enables Li to go to a school in the community that was built with the pairing assistance from Huadu district, Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province.
Education has always been a major concern of relocated residents. Guizhou, taking education for the children of school age as a priority, has equipped all poverty-alleviation relocation sites with education facilities. It has put an end to the history when children had to cross mountains and rivers to go to school by providing them with fairer and better educational resources.
The province has invested over 18 billion yuan ($2.66 billion) to build or reconstruct 669 schools. More than 30,000 teachers are currently assigned at the schools at poverty-alleviation resettlement sites, which ensures nearby enrollment for all children from relocated families.
In the Yucai community, the largest poverty-alleviation resettlement site in Songtao county, Guizhou’s Tongren, there is a special factory, which is run by a toy manufacturer in the economic development zone of Songtao county and only hires local middle-aged and senior residents aged over 50. So far, 38 people have secured a stable job at the factory,
“I stitch around 500 toys a day, which earns me 40 yuan,” said Zhang Guiying, a 52-year-old worker in the factory.
At large- and medium-sized resettlement sites, Guizhou province has built workshops, launched labor transfer activities, and developed featured industries as a way to support employment and entrepreneurship, optimize industrial structure and enhance skill training. Based on the sizes and locations of the resettlement sites, as well as the age distribution and labor skills of the relocated residents, the province tailored different development and employment plans.
As of the end of this June, nearly 930,000 people from 414,500 households had been employed, which means that at least one family member with working capabilities has a job.
To ensure that relocated residents enjoy basic public and health services, Guizhou has built and expanded 411 standard medical institutions and newly equipped 759 medical institutions with facilities and medical workers. Public health services have covered all of the province’s 949 resettlement sites during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), ensuring that all relocated residents have access to healthcare.