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Relocated rural children embrace new life out of mountains

Xinhua, June 13, 2022 Adjust font size:

Zhu Yu attends a dancing class in southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 26, 2022. (Xinhua/Zheng Minghong)

Yao Dunyi's piano lesson in school began at 4:40 p.m., after regular academic classes finished.

Yao, a third-grade student at No. 4 Primary School in Guzhou Township under Rongjiang County in southwest China's Guizhou, the province that once had the largest impoverished population in China, sat in front of a piano and began to practice under the guidance of a teacher.

Just three years ago, she was still crammed into a small classroom with other students from various grades back in her home village of Gantian.

"At that time, there were only about 10 students and one teacher, who only taught Chinese and math, in my class," she said.

In 2019, her family was relocated to a settlement on the outskirts of Rongjiang County under the poverty relief policy. Her family of six moved into a new home of 120 square meters.

Long Anbo, the headmaster of the No. 4 Primary School, said the school was built for the convenience of the relocated children in the settlement, and began its operation in the autumn of 2020. Currently, there are over 2,700 students.

The local government has set up a special bus line, making it only 10 minutes for students to commute from the settlement to the school. Before the relocation, however, students had to walk for at least an hour every day to reach their former schools.

While Yao was practicing piano, Zhu Yu, some 480 km away, was learning to dance with her schoolmates.

The 14-year-old used to live in Wuli Village in the county of Hezhang, where the barren land had forced villagers to become migrant workers. She and her grandmother were left behind.

She became interested in dancing at five when she accidentally watched a dancing competition on TV. With no one to teach her, she had to imitate dance moves in front of the TV.

In 2018, her family was relocated to Hezhang County seat. She had more opportunities to practice dancing with professional guidance. She has even participated in government-organized performances in 22 once poverty-stricken villages.

For Zhu and Yao, moving out of the mountains not only improves their living environment but also gives them opportunities to see the outside world and experience more.

According to data released by the education department of Guizhou, the province has invested more than 18 billion yuan (2.69 billion U.S. dollars) since 2016 to ensure that relocated school-age children enjoy the same educational resources as their urban peers. ■

Aerial photo taken on May 19, 2022 shows the No. 4 Primary School in Guzhou Township under Rongjiang County, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Zheng Minghong)

Students of No. 4 Primary School in Guzhou Township under Rongjiang County attend class in southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 19, 2022. (Xinhua/Zheng Minghong)