Yue Jufang is 52 years old. Her husband suffers from mental illness. Lacking money for tuition, her elder daughter dropped out of school and began working. Her younger daughter enrolled at a vocational school last year and needs 7,000 yuan (US$1112.3) in tuition every year.
Education Is Hope
Li Jin, 9, lives on the Loess Plateau, lingered with drought and not suitable for human survival as per the World Food Program. Li and other children could seldom clean their faces or wash clothes. But through her often-muddied face, her clear eyes sparkle, reflecting a heart pure and hopeful for a bright future.
A Hui family has built a brick house next to the mud house they once lived in.
Every flower has the right to fully blossom. However, in poverty-stricken mountainous areas in Ningxia, many children have lost their opportunities.
On the Slopes of Tongxin
On the barren Loess Plateau, children can hardly break away from drought, poverty and backwardness. Though they feel happy sometimes, they still have a long way to go to change their destiny.
Children of Loess Plateau
Pocket Money
Mu Yifang is of the Hui ethnicity from Tongxin County, Ningxia Autonomous Region. She received loans from Yinongdai to shake off poverty by breeding cattle and sheep.
Wealth Begins with a Signature
Many farmers' hands are hurt because medlar trees are full of pricks that hide the small fruits behind them. Although 1 kg of medlar is worth less than 2 yuan, they are the most important economic resources for local farming women.
Drying Medlar
Wang Liping's uncle opened a shop selling ethnic minority products in town. Hui caps for men and embroidered scarves for women are the most popular among locals and tourists. After graduating from middle school, she began assisting her uncle at the shop as the sales clerk. She is eager to open her own shop with micro credits.
Aspirations for Her Own Shop
The eight Hui women standing in front of a mosque are clients of Yinongdai platforms. They set up a joint credit group as warrantors for each other. Yang Hui hua (M), the eldest, was elected group leader. Every month, they gather in Yang's home to meet, learn to read and farming technologies. Sometimes they sing songs and chat.
Hand in Hand
Wang Hui pursues her dreams just as her sunflowers chase after sunshine. Born in 1986, she is a mother of three. She planted 10 mu oil sunflowers to support her family, and she has plans to sell her harvest to repay her debt. Wang can then apply for another 5,000 yuan (US$794.5) loan to raise more cattle and sheep.
Chasing Sunshine
He Songlin has transformed his home to an office since he was hired as the credit clerk for a Xixiang County women's association. His wall is plastered with client information, supporting policies for poor families and children and lists of good credit client.
Village Soho
Long Xiuping owns the biggest shop selling school materials in Shahe Town. It's also children's favorite place. Long once worked in factories and ran small businesses in Zhejiang, Hebei and Guangdong provinces. Last year, she decided to return home and start her own business.
Joy for the Children
Mang Zhong (Grain in Ear, usually around June 5) is the most exciting day in the year for Tan Guiping, as it is the best time to plant rice seedlings. To provide for her son's college tuition, Tan applied for a 1,000 yuan (US$ 158.9) micro loan in 2007 and turned to cultivating tree mushrooms – a more profitable produce.
Mushrooms in Ear
It is a great day for Huang Cuiping: Her entire 200-ton stock of black tea is sold out, and the county officials have sent her a silk banner to recognize her good work. Since 2008, with the help of three batches of loans from Yinongdai, her tea processing business has expanded to a comfortable scale. Now, her wish is to establish her own brand of tea.
Tea Farmer Aims for Owning a Brand
Zhang Chengcun is from Xiangyangbao Village of Qiaotou Town in Datong County. Zhang received a 3,000 yuan (US$476.7) loan from the Yinongdai website and began to plant greenhouse vegetables in 2010. She earned about 20,000 yuan (US$3,178) that year.
Hope Endures with Dream for Better Life
Li Hailian is a farmer from Ximen Village in Datong County, Qinghai Province. Skilled at making cloth shoes, she used to sell them to earn family allowance. In order to pay tuition for her two kids, she received a 2,000 yuan (US$ 317.8) loan and began mending tires with her husband.
From Shoes Making to Tire Mending
Unlucky Couple Becomes Their Own Boss
Time is a cruel but fair graver. It carves on people's face without hesitation. It is time that has shaped this elderly man to become mild and content with life.
The Elderly in Xixiang
Tibetan Jide Jincuo lives in Lishun Village of Qingshan Town in Qinghai Datong County. Farmers in Qinghai used to paste yak dung on walls to dry and use as firewood. More yak dung on the wall means more yaks breeding owned by that household.
Caterpillar Keeper
This year, Ma Xinglan's wheat crops grow short, few and scattered due to drought. A poor yield is almost inevitable. To make a living, she insists to plant 30 mu of wheat. Her daughter Ma Ji has applied for a doctorate program in Beijing. If successful, she will be the first doctoral student in town. Ma said her daughter was her highest pride in her life.
A Harvest Away from Home
These children are accustomed to drought in Northwestern China. The containers are not for water but for picking medlar and earning pocket money.
On the Way to Nowhere
A boy is reading text full-mouthed in a rural primary school in Ningxia. His exaggerated mouth and amber eyes reveals his brimming energy.
Out Loud
Li Cuiying is 84 years old. Her husband died 10 years ago and her only daughter married far from home. To make a living, she chops firewood and plant crops every day. Without electricity, the only thing accompanying her in her home aside from the floor-full of potatoes is a coffin made for herself.
Granny and Her Coffin
Empty bowl in hand, the Xixiang woman beamed for the camera and said happiness was not necessarily resulted from material possessions.
Reasons to Be Happy
Li Jin, 9, lives on the Loess Plateau, lingered with drought and not suitable for human survival as per the World Food Program. Li and other children could seldom clean their faces or wash clothes. But through her often-muddied face, her clear eyes sparkle, reflecting a heart pure and hopeful for a bright future.
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