Scattered families find a place to call home

Publish Time: 2020-09-15 Author: Shen Wendi in Xining From: China Daily

Children play a game on a soccer field at Amdo Folk Culture Village, a resettlement project for poor families, in Xinghai county, Qinghai province. [Photo by FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY]

School's in

Drolkar, 18, who goes by one name, resettled with her family in Maqen county, Golog Tibetan autonomous prefecture, last year. Moving near a town enabled her to finish high school. After graduation, she became a part-time ranger, a local government job that pays 1,800 yuan a month.

"I'm saving money now. Hopefully I can take my 85-year-old grandpa to Tibet for a pilgrimage. This is his long-cherished wish," she said.

"To me, living such a secure life with my family is moderate prosperity itself."

Dorje Drolma, 16, and her family resettled in a neighborhood named Jiumei, which means "long-lasting happiness", in Maqen county in 2018.

"Before we moved here, one of the biggest problems was going to the toilet. We had to find a place outdoors where no one could see us, which was very inconvenient and embarrassing," she said.

"It's not a problem anymore. We can even take a shower every day, which was unimaginable before. Our new home is much more private and hygienic."

Before, they lived in Dangluo, an extremely poor village in Golog. Dorje Drolma's mother was the family's sole breadwinner and earned 1,000 yuan a month as a cook.

Her younger brother Samtan Tobgyal, 13, said: "Mom rarely smiled. I knew she was unhappy. Affected by her mood, my sister and I were unhappy, too. We performed poorly in our studies. After we moved here, she found a better job in the town. The school here is much better and we have made huge progress. I often hear my mom laugh now."

Samtan Tobgyal said he has realized that the world is a bigger place than he thought, and he must study hard to do well in life. "I'm already among the top students in my class. My ideal university is Tsinghua," he said.

Dorje Drolma said reading and writing are her passions.

"We have great Mandarin teachers at school and I can read a lot more fantastic books than before. I'm reading the Harry Potter series. I hope I can introduce this intriguing story in Tibetan to more kids someday," she said.

Jiumei is the largest resettlement site in Maqen county, housing 716 households by the end of last year.

A scholar from Qinghai Academy of Social Science, who asked to remain anonymous, said resettlement is just the first step. "There is a long way to go to help these families be independent, but the significance of the program is that it offers a better environment for their children to grow up in. These kids have a broader horizon and more possibilities than their elders had. They are the ones who will create Qinghai's future. They can make a difference."

According to Qinghai's Poverty Alleviation Bureau, the province has 1,249 resettlement villages scattered across eight cities and prefectures, helping to lift 52,000 households, or 200,000 people, out of poverty.

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