Shashu Village 1998-2002
Shashu is a village designated as one of the 28 poorest villages in this provincially designated 'Poor County’. The population of Shashu was 435 in 102 households in 1997. The yearly average per capita income was only 538 RMB.
The village is situated on a mountainside in the steep gully cut by a tributary of the Dadu River. Located 2400m above sea level, in the south-eastern corner of Hanyuan County, the village is overlooked by huge limestone cliffs and is often blanketed in snow during the winter. It is a three-hour drive from the county town to Shashu along very rough roads.
Only one season of crops is grown each year, maize and potatoes, as other grain crops such as rice or wheat cannot grow in the dry conditions. Access to sources of income such as off-farm employment are limited due to the remoteness of this village and extreme transport difficulties - the nearest shop is over an hours' walk away and the nearest town, Wansheng, over two hours.
The village has an existing water supply from a mountain gully but it is just an open channel that has been polluted by grazing livestock, soil and sand. For clean water the women of Shashu have to walk about 2 km to the water source and carry the water on their backs. During the winter months the channel water freezes.
DORS project aims to solve the drinking water problem of this small village. The existing source is sufficient for their needs. The water will be brought from the gully plastic pipes buried underground to prevent freezing in winter. The water will be piped into two tanks, one for each of the two parts of the village, over distances of 2500 m and 2000 m respectively. From the tanks the villagers will organise their own plastic piping to take the water directly to their houses. DORS will assist in the purchase of construction materials, which consist of 4500 metres of piping, 10 boxes of explosives, and 20 tonnes of cement.
1. A clean drinking water supply will be secured for the 435 people in this village, thus preventing health problems associated with the existing polluted source.
2. Clean water for raising livestock will improve the prospects for animal husbandry.
3. Small electricity generators will be connected to the new pipes enabling the villagers to generate their own electricity in the evenings (mainly used for lighting).
4. Clean drinking water will be available all year round with a reduced risk of winter freezing.
The project was able to proceed in September 1997, after DORS received a donation from Misereor of Germany - the project sponsors.
Social and Community Forestry
DORS have also begun a Social and Community Forestry Project in the hamlets of Shashu Village.
DORS were approached by village hamlet leader Mr Ye Longjun with plans to develop Chinese prickly ash bushes in Shashu village hamlets 1,2 and 3. The seeds of the bush, also known as Sichuan pepper or huajiao, are sold as a cash crop. This pepper is a key ingredient of many Sichuan dishes and one of Hanyuan County’s main exports. Each household wishing to participate was given approximately 300 saplings to plant on their agricultural land. In April a total of 5,000 saplings were planted and a further 6,000 in the autumn. The villagers of Shashu already grew some prickly ash bushes but were very keen to expand production and try new varieties.
Following this in August 1998, Shashu village hamlets 4 and 5 expressed their interest in purchasing pear tree saplings. The villagers already had experience of growing plum and apple trees but wanted to increase their fruit production. A new road to these hamlets is under construction and the villagers hope that by the time it is completed the pears will be ready to harvest. A total of 3,910 saplings were bought for 52 households, and planted in nursery plots in the village ready to be replanted along field boundaries in spring 1999.
Assisting Schoolchildren - DORS Education Project
As part of our integrated approach to tackling the problems in Hanyuan's villages, we provide short-term assistance to children from our project villages who do not have the opportunity to attend primary school because their families can not afford the mere 200 RMB primary school fees. We expect that through our other projects in a particular village, such as drinking water, lasting improvements will be achieved, and in time, families will be in the position where they can afford to pay their children's school fees themselves. However due to the poverty that exists in many of the villages where we have projects many children are forced to drop out of school. DORS provides support to the poorest children in our project villages by paying their school fees.
DORS have been providing education assistance to children in Shashu since February 1998.
To read more about our support of students please visit our Education Project page. To follow the progress of the other projects see our monthly newsletters.