By Wang Weijian, Xu Liwei
At 9 a.m., Li Ting’e, who had been relocated to a new house in southwest China’s Guizhou province under the country’s poverty alleviation program, arrived in a factory near her home and started to make embroideries. With the movements of her hands, a lifelike peony gradually took shape.
She seemed so skillful and confident that it’s hard to imagine that she had just learned the craft and was struck by polio.
“I can make 50 yuan (about $8) by embroidering such a flower,” Li said, adding that her monthly income, which comprises basic salary and performance-related pay, exceeds 2,000 yuan. “As long as you are diligent, you can earn a living here,” she said.
Sometimes Li still can’t believe her family has moved from the mountains to a tall building in Wangjia community, Wanshan district, Tongren city of Guizhou, a resettlement site for people who used to live in the mountains.
Her hometown, Yangjia’ao Miao and Tujia township, is situated in the remote mountains of Sinan county, Tongren. It took her two hours to get to the county hall from her home, and another two hours to the city.
“Because there was no bus route, my daughters needed to get up before daybreak and walk through the mountain road for over one hour to school, always exhausted from climbing the two mountains,” Li recalled.
What’s worse, Yangjia’ao suffered from severe water shortage. According to Li, the water her family used to wash vegetables and rice would be reused for washing faces and feet, and then watering livestock.
Li’s family moved to Wangjia community in 2019. Her new house is not only equipped with a TV, induction cooker, and other electrical appliances, but guaranteed safe water supply, freeing the family from the predicament in using water.
Her daughters have been enrolled at a public school near their home. It takes them merely several minutes to get to school by bus, which means the major troubles bothering Li in the past have all been resolved.
In 2013, Suzhou city in east China’s Jiangsu province started to help Tongren alleviate poverty under the country’s “pairing assistance” program. Suzhou national high-tech industrial development zone has paired up with Wanshan district of Tongren and rolled out a plan to help the latter improve the income of poor residents through embroidery.
Suzhou national high-tech industrial development zone sends embroidery masters to Wanshan twice every year to teach local residents embroidery skills.
Because of the plan, Li was able to observe Suzhou embroidery closely and was soon enchanted by the craft. She took pictures of the stitches, procedures, and embroideries and studied carefully at home.
She has also watched embroidery videos via her mobile phone whenever she had time and repeatedly watched the patterns of Suzhou embroidery.
Her hard work has paid off. Li has mastered various kinds of stitches, and the peonies she embroiders, with layers of petals and delicate stamens, look as if they would give out scent in the breeze.
Li’s husband is also hardworking. “Before we moved to our new home, he was a migrant worker in a place far away, and only went back home twice or three times every year. He has now gotten a job on a nearby construction site, and our family can have meals together every day,” Li said happily.
Li’s family bid farewell to poverty in 2019, and is now living a more comfortable life in their new house.