Feb/Mar 2002

31st March 2002

Support for Education Fees Continues in the Spring

This spring term, we have continued our support for school fees for selected villages. Each year, DORS supports a number of students from particularly poor households in different villages. During this term, there was a total of 258 students supported, 148 of which were females. The total costs for this term was 39,224 RMB (3628.67 GBP). In addition to villages in Hanyuan, we have also extended our support into selected areas of Ganluo County. We would like to thank EPWS and Kadoorie for their support of this project.

DORS News and Information

A new volunteer has arrived to join our team here at DORS. Rita Bonomally, a citizen of Mauritius, has taken on the position of Office Manager/Project Assistant. She obtained a degree in Sociology from the Renmin University in 1999, and has been working in Beijing ever since.

DORS was recently publicised on the 'Ban Bian Tian' (Half the Sky) program on CCTV-1. The program, which featured a collage of various organisations around the country, was in honour of International Women's Day on March 8. Earlier last year, CCTV-1 spent 2 days filming DORS and our work around Hanyuan County.

Banyang 9 Irrigation Water Storage Tanks Completed

This month we completed the construction of irrigation water storage tanks in Banyang Village hamlet 9, part of Shunhe Township. Because we have done social and community forestry in the hamlet, they found that without a close water source it was difficult to maintain the saplings. As such, they requested that we assist them with the construction of storage tanks to collect water during the rainy season, which would be able to be used for irrigating the saplings, as well as for agriculture.

DORS contributed funds toward the purchase of materials, such as cement. A total of an estimated 40 storage tanks were constructed, which will be used by 19 households. In total, 9,793.50 RMB (816.12 GBP) was expended on this project.

Demonstration Internet Training Sessions Started

We have recently completed a demonstration Internet training session for selected villagers. As we have begun exploring ways of building the capacity of local communities, we felt providing an opportunity for villagers to gain more access to resources via the Internet was a small step in that direction.

The first training session, held in a local Internet café, was kept small so that the villagers would be given individual attention. They all found this to be extremely useful, as they were able to look at various web pages related to information on agriculture and fertilisers. Other villagers, after having heard about this demonstration, also expressed keen interest in participating. We hope to organise more training sessions in the future.

Micro-Projects

Last year, we began a small loan project in Chalin Village, hamlet 5 for purchasing bamboo canes to expand the volume of butter beans produced. As a small income generation project, we provided each household with 500 RMB towards the purchase of bamboo canes used to grow beans, which comprises a significant portion of the villagers' annual income. Half of this loan amount was to be repaid after harvest.

After hearing of this project in Chalin, other communities have also approached us in implementing similar projects in their area in the form of small loans. Huodi Village of Nimei Township had already been up to meet with the villagers of Chalin to learn more about this project. After expressing interest in this, DORS agreed to a small loan of 400 RMB per household in 2 hamlets of the village as an experiment. In this village a total of 26 loans were made and 10,400 RMB (866.67 GBP) expended.

Last month, we began a micro-project in Na'er Village of introducing a new breed of bull to improve the current stock. We contributed 3000 RMB (250 GBP) towards the purchase of the bull, which is being promoted by the local Animal Husbandry Bureau. The bull will be used to breed with local cows, and will be implemented in conjunction with the women's micro-credit programme.

New Projects in Wanping Village

This month we have begun two new projects in Wanping Village of Pianma Township. These are part of the Integrated Community Development Programme funded by the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation.

Last year, we began improvements to animal sties in hamlet 6 of Wanping. This year, we continued with this component in hamlets 5, 7 and 14. Animal husbandry makes up a significant portion of both livelihood and income means in these villages and many of the sties are in poor conditions. DORS agreed to contribute 500 RMB per household towards purchasing materials and transport. Most of the households decided to purchase tiles for the roofs. In total, 20,000 RMB (1666.67 GBP) was expended for 40 households in all three hamlets.

Additionally, hamlets 5 and 14 also expressed interest small loans for purchasing bamboo canes in order to increase their butter bean yield. Because they, like the other hamlets, are located at such high altitudes, butter beans are one of the few crops that they are able cultivate. As such, after meeting with all the villagers and discussing this project, we agreed to loan at most 400 RMB to each household. A total of 28 loans were made and 10,800 RMB (900 GBP) expended.

We would like to thank the Kadoorie Charitable Foundations for their support of this project.

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