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Poverty Alleviation
From Being Helped to Being a Helper
 NO. 49 DEVEMBER 3, 2015


Yang Yuanwang (FILE)

Confidence was written on the face of Yang Yuanwang, a resident with disabilities in Datang Village in central China's Hunan Province. This confidence stemmed from his transformation as someone who needed others' help to someone who helps others.

Years ago, a workplace injury left Yang with a disabled left hand and he experienced severe depression as a result. But his life was changed after participating in a free training session on livestock breeding techniques offered by Hongjiang City's Disabled Persons' Federation, where he learned to raise chicken, ducks and pigs. He later traveled out of town with the federation in order to learn how to feed swans.

In 2009, with help from the federation, Yang founded an animal husbandry cooperative together with fellow villagers. They leased a reservoir to raise fish and set up a farm on nearby land to grow poultry, goats, pigs and swans. With discounted loans for persons with disabilities, their business has gradually expanded. Today, more than 50 people are working in the cooperative, including several individuals with disabilities.

Since 2011, people with disabilities like Yang who have been able to move out of poverty have numbered 5.06 million in China, according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF). In the same period, 9.13 million persons with disabilities have received government and private assistance in production and employment. The dilapidated houses of 438,000 impoverished persons with disabilities have been renovated, and 3.36 million such individuals have received training on vocational skills.

After the government released the Outline for Development-Oriented Poverty Reduction for China's Rural Areas (2011-20) in 2012, more than 6.8 million rural residents with disabilities have received support.


The Chinese Government recently announced its goal to lift the 70 million plus people living below the country's current poverty standard out of privation in the next five years, which includes millions of citizens with disabilities.

Statistics from the CDPF show that, of China's 85 million people with disabilities, more than 70 percent reside in rural areas. One out of five rural persons with disabilities is living below China's current poverty line, which suggests that the indigence rate among this group is more than twice the national average.

Worse still, close to 60 percent of rural persons with disabilities do not live in contiguous poverty-stricken areas or counties listed in the national poverty reduction program, and hence cannot benefit directly from national funds aimed at relieving the issue in the areas.

On October 17, China's second National Poverty Relief Day, CDPF Chairwoman Zhang Haidi said that alleviating the impoverishment for rural persons with disabilities is directly related to the effectiveness of development-oriented poverty mitigation on a national level.

Now, China is paying special attention to targeted poverty abatement.

In addition to raising social security benefits to meet the basic needs of impoverished people with disabilities, efforts have been made to increase the supply of basic public services such as medical and rehabilitation services, special education and housing, especially those for rural residents with disabilities.

In line with new policies rolled out earlier this year by the State Council, China's cabinet, financially troubled persons with disabilities will receive living allowances and persons with severe disabilities will receive a nursing subsidy starting from January 1, 2016.

Assistance measures specific to the needs of persons with disabilities have been included in the national development-oriented poverty alleviation program. The government has promised to verify the status of indigent people with disabilities, and designate persons to help each relevant household.

The government will also provide vocational training and mortgage-and-interest-free micro loans to persons with disabilities, boost their employment by developing industrial bases, and enable persons with disabilities who have lost their working ability to reap the benefits of government poverty reduction programs through share allotment so as to provide them with steady incomes.

Additionally, the private sector is encouraged to help meet the needs of impoverished people with disabilities.

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