Story and Photos by Pan Yujie Lixin | Charity Promotion Association | Project Partner | Heifer China
On March 8, 2013, members of the Wangzhuyuan Women's Self-Help Group (SHG) in Jiangji Town, Lixin County, Chuzhou City, Anhui Province celebrated International Women's Day through a special Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremony. The project aimed to complete the first round of POG within two years, and this group completed it three months early.
Many officials and guests attended the ceremony, including Li Ruilin, the honorary board chairman of Heifer China; Hu Chenggong, former Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) chairman of Chuzhou City; Ma Ying, magistrate of Lixin County; Gao Chuanhai, CPPCC vice-chairman of Lixin County, and other officials and guests from the Anhui Regional Office and Jiangji local government. Mu Ping, planning, monitoring and evaluation manager of Heifer China, came to express her congratulations. Media also covered the event for local TV.
When the project began, 25 members of the women's SHG in Wangzhuyuan held a welcoming party for the guests who distributed Heifer project funds. For the following 21 months, based on the Heifer project concept, they voluntarily organized teams for cleaning, security and patrol, and cultural performance. In addition, they participated in trainings of environmental protection, new rural construction, Heifer's 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, cultivation, and HIV/AIDS prevention. The group also hosted a study tour in June 2011 for 18 American guests led by Heifer China's Anhui Regional Office.
Heifer participants have increased their income through these projects. The farmers' animal-rearing income reached 182,000 Chinese Yuan, or about $30,000, in 2011, and their total income for the past two years exceeds 400,000 Yuan, or about $64,500. Whats more, the investment of civilian capital has been motivated by project funds.
The women's SHG has built 10 new houses, six of which were funded by the government with 10,000-20,000 Yuan, or about $1,600-$3,200, for repairing old houses. The government has also planted trees and started construction on a mile-long concrete road.
Due to the group's outstanding work, the Wangzhuyuan Women's SHG was selected as the "Excellent Mutual-Help Group" during Heifer's annual Anhui regional meeting in January 2013. Zhang Min, the group's leader, was named "Excellent Farmer." In order to promote the Heifer concept and expand its influence, they have registered Lixin Jiangji Wangzhuyuan Haihui (Heifer China) Animal Husbandry Cooperative at the local Administration of Industry and Commerce.
The concept of "not a cup, but a cow" has transformed the project participants' traditional animal-rearing habits, and the project serves as a platform to unite the residents and help the community live harmoniously.