Chang Julan and members of the Heifer China self-help group in Fuxing Village help rebuild homes after the Sichuan earthquake.  

by Heifer China 

Chang Julan, with four other family members, lives in Fuxing Village, Longtan Township, Lizhou District, China — one of the Sichuan earthquake disaster areas. In the process of rehabilitation, they reconstructed the family's swine facility and rebuilt their house. The family was in debt. Her husband, Yang Yongguang, did odd jobs to support his family, and that’s the only income the family had. What’s worse, poor health had been a perennial problem for his parents. Poverty hit the family.

After joining a Heifer project, Chang Julan became a part of a self-help group and received four sows and some farming materials. Through the self-help group, Chang participated in activities, and learned Heifer’s concept and 12 Cornerstones. In the meantime, she joined Fuxing Village Pig Breeding Association, in which she acquired skills of pig breeding and upgraded her pig facility through trainings she received. In the past three months, she received 13,000 Yuan income through selling more than 20 piglets. Moreover, by growing seeds provided by Heifer China, she grew corn, rice, peanut, sweet potato on 6 mu land. She made a harvest of 1,000 kg of corn and 2,500 kg of rice in September this year. She also educated children to be self-reliant and sent her care to elders as required by Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones.

With the help of other group members, Chang built a new house in early 2011. In addition, the local agricultural bureau granted allowance to build a biogas unit, and the government funded a drinking water project to solve human and livestock water issue. This Heifer project not only raised her family's income, but also provided her opportunities to take part in the self-help groups' cultural activities. The community is getting more harmonious than before and her family is living a better life. Speaking of the future, Chang wishes her son would study harder and her parents would become healthier. She also looks forward to getting a better harvest, more pigs and income to pass on the gift to other farmers.

In the video below, Chang harvests sweet potatoes, walks us through her upgraded swine facility and demonstrates her new rice milling machine.

Editor's note: This post is part of a new series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. 

Chang Julan in her newly-rebuilt home in Lizhou District, China.
Chang Julan's family worked with a self-help group to build this new swine facility.  

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.