As happened in many rural areas in China, young and middle-aged couples in Guanshan Village in Yaojia Town of Hengfeng County in Jiangxi Province leave home to seek jobs elsewhere, leaving only left-behind children and the empty-nest elderly in the village. This is exactly the case of Fan Julan’s family. With no suitable jobs locally, Fan Julan and her husband had to go to Zhejiang to work to make ends meet. Thus, the couple was unable to take care of their parents. Their children, long separated from parents, became rebellious and academically poor. Fan was deeply annoyed by this problem while working away from the hometown.

 

In 2016, CNPC launched a charity project to help mothers to return to hometown for work, providing a solution to this problem. Under this project, CNPC invested in building a seedling cultivation cooperative, creating intensive light-labor job opportunities for women locally. Female employees were allowed to come to work one hour later and leave work one hour earlier for the convenience of taking care of their children and seniors in their families.

“Thanks to CNPC’s project, now I can earn more than RMB 10,000 every year by working in my hometown. My house, which was not even painted before, now was renovated with two additional floors. More happily, my two kids were honored as merit students. I am so satisfied with my life.” ——Fan Julan

Women in poverty-stricken areas present the most important potential in poverty alleviation and rural development. In order to address the specific needs of those women, CNPC provides them with proper skills training and access to more jobs and helps them balance their work and family life.

Families in some rural areas still hold conservative concept that they would rather suffer poverty than allow women to go out to work. In Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County, Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, CNPC found that the Talanchi Food Factory was suitable for women’s employment. Hence we donated food processing equipment to this factory from 2014 to expand its production so that more jobs could be created for female workers.

 

With the help of CNPC, Talanchi Food Factory emerged as the largest processing company of moon cakes and other food in Yili region. Bahetiguli, an ordinary female worker in the factory who learned to make cakes and repair equipment and who was the first female employee in the factory to use a computer, became the director of the factory. Now, she is paid RMB 4,500 per month. Her parents-in-law, who used to wait for her to get home to cook every day, now cook and wait for her to have dinner. Her husband, who used to prevent her from working outside by all means, now drives her to and from work and does the housework. She now enjoys an unprecedented sense of respect and happiness. Beyond a stable income and a more dignified life, Bahetiguli also helped more and more local women change their role from a traditional housewife to a professional woman. Economic independence has not only boosted their independence and confidence, but also promoted family harmony and social stability.

“Thanks to CNPC’s efforts to alleviate poverty by promoting industrial development, I have secured a reliable source of income and enhanced my family status. When people around me saw how good my life is today, they asked me to find jobs for them, for they were also thirsty for being financially independent.” ——Bahetiguli

Wang Mei is from Xingmin Town, Xishui County in Guizhou Province. In the past, her town was economically backward. Girls, just like their mothers, mostly ended up leaving home for jobs elsewhere or getting married early being locked into house chores soon after dropping out of school. After targeting Xishui County in Guizhou Province for poverty alleviation, CNPC built “Longma Road” and cultural square etc., having greatly improved the infrastructure of Xingmin Town. In an effort to promote the inheritance and development of the local Hongmiao culture, CNPC helped establish a cooperative to develop the tourism and cultural industry. Wang Mei hence was able to join a dancing team to perform traditional Miao dance.

 

This has completely changed her mental state and life trajectory. Her income has almost doubled compared with that from work as a migrant worker. Her “dancing career” has inspired her enthusiasm and improved her ability. Today, as the captain of the dancing team, she and other members showcase the intangible cultural heritage of Miao dance to tourists from all over the country, promote the local culture and play a part in local economic and social development. At home, she has time to take good care of her children and parents, witness the children’s learning progress and growth, and protect her family well.

“Performing Miao dance enabled me to find my interest and value. I am especially proud to introduce the traditional culture of Hongmiao in my hometown to tourists and friends from all over the world while I can also accompany and take good care of my family members!” —— Wang Mei

Many women from poor families are less educated and less skilled, making it hard for them to seek employment. Yuan Wenfang was one of them. Her father was injured in an accident and went through two operations which costed nearly RMB 200,000, leaving a large debt and plunging the family into poverty.

 

Given that maternity matrons are in huge demand in China and that the job asks for no complicated skills with relatively high payment, CNPC initiated the “Maternity Matrons” project in 2017 in Xishui County to help local women receive nursery skills to gain employment opportunities. Yuan Wenfang became one of the first to receive training on housekeeping and newborn nursing. Two years has passed. Yuan Wenfang is living a happy life as she not only paid off debts, but also got higher salary.

China National Petroleum Corporation