China Hubei Water and Animal Husbandry Project

Yunxi county is one of the national designated poor counties in Hubei province. Lack of accessible clean drinking water is a general problem which has led to poor sanitation and poor health. It also directly hinders the labour force and livelihood since obtaining water on foot consumes much of their time and energy. Meanwhile, some of the poorer households express an interest in animal raising but they need capital to start it off.

CEDAR helps installing a water supply system and conducting health training in one of the villages. CEDAR also provides subsidies for 70 poorer households selected from 3 villages to develop animal husbandry, aiming at increasing villagers’ income as well as raising their living standard. The subsidies are mainly used for restoring animal pens and purchasing animals.

China Hubei Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Project

Wufeng is deemed as one of the poorest counties in Hubei province. In one of the villages there is a slope where neither plant nor protection measure exists. Heavy rains could trigger mudslides that jeopardise nearby villagers.

CEDAR assists villagers to manage this slope by planting tea trees, thus reducing the risk of mudslide and protecting about 210 households in that village who use the road running along at the foot of the slope frequently. The project includes disaster risk reduction training for local villagers, helping them to be better prepared to respond to possible disasters hitting their region.

With its long and intertwining root system which has good soil reinforcement property, tea tree is effective for mudslide prevention.. CEDAR provides organic farming training to encourage villagers to plant tea trees in organic way. Organic tea planting not only generates more profit but also facilitates environmental conservation. Starting from the third year the tea leaves can be harvested for sale. The plants can produce tea leaves for decades, providing villagers a secure source of income.

China Sichuan Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Project

When earthquake hit Wenchuan in 2008, many teachers and students died while they were in classes. The poor quality of construction which made the buildings vulnerable to earthquakes was undoubtedly one of the reasons of the casualties; another would be the lack of knowledge in disaster prevention and emergency evacuation skills amongst teachers and students. The government has demanded all schools to conduct disaster prevention classes to pass on the knowledge of disaster prevention and response to students. Without proper training, teachers found it difficult to teach even with teaching material provided. In addition, some schools are very dilapidated and lack basic safety facilities like emergency lighting system or basic fire prevention equipment. Though the principals and teachers worry about the safety of their students, they do not know what they can do.

From 2011, CEDAR started to work with schools in Xuanhan county of Sichuan province to organize disaster prevention and basic health and sanitation workshop and training. It is aimed to assist the teachers to identify risks in their schools and communities, plan  emergency evacuation drills and effectively pass on the disaster prevention knowledge. The project also subsidizes a number of schools to improve their safety facilities. CEDAR plans to promote training to 10 more schools in the next 2 years.

Teachers were inspired by the workshop. One of the teachers shared that she has learnt to pass on the message of disaster prevention through real life scenarios, ‘The water level in the river rises in the rainy days, which becomes a risk to the students. I would ask the students to discuss what they need to be aware of before they go home. In this case, the students can remember clearly and know how to apply the knowledge!’ Moreover, her school has started regular emergency evacuation drills after the workshop. Because of such drills, the students know what to do when disaster comes!

China Gansu Integrated Community Development Project

Yongdeng is one of the poorest counties inLanzhou,Gansu, CEDAR has been partnering with Lanzhou City Christian Church to implement the Integrated Community Development Project (ICD) in four villages in Yongdeng since2007 in order to improve the livelihood of villagers and bring about a sustainable development.  Partner promotes the application of organic fertilisers and high quality potato seeds among the farmers. These techniques enrich the soil quality and structure, increase the yield and are eco-friendly. The project staff also encourage villagers to change their methods of animal grazing, using pens to keep the sheep, and choosing sheep breeds that can adapt to the local climate, which will benefit both the environment and the economy.

Another aspect of the project is that through the formation of a women’s handcraft group, in which the women make use of their spare time after farming to produce small handcrafted products, the women could receive sufficient income without having to leave their homes. Hence, women’s significance in the family and the community are recognised. The project also works on promoting micro-credit programmes and assisting women to establishing legal cooperative organisations to support greater productivity gains.

Wei Zhan-xiu lives in Huo Jia Wan village, located in a poverty stricken area in a mountainous region.  Throughout generations, villagers make their living by farming, relying on nature’s provisions to feed themselves and their families.  She has two sons who are now grown up and have a family of their own. Her eldest son and daughter- in- law live and work away from home.  She is left to live with her two young grandchildren. Although the couple work labouriously on their 20 mu of farm land, apart from basic food, they do not have any other source of income. Her husband Guo Shi-jun, who is over 60, has attempted to find employment elsewhere but his efforts were futile. Even though her grandchild has reached 2 years old now, they have still not paid back the loan they borrowed for the youngest son’s wedding banquet.

In 2010, Wei Zhan-xiu joined the handicraft programme in the village. Simply by looking at her handcrafted products, it is hard to believe that she is an amateur in using the sewing machine. In just four months of training, her technique has become superior by far amongst the women in the village! At one time during the women’s discussion, whilst exploring the art of handcrafting, she said: ‘I work slowly, but every bag I make, I won’t let any bag be remade.’ When her husband saw her enthusiasm towards her handicraft work, he willingly took up some domestic duties to ease her burden.

She even told CEDAR’s staff emotionally: ‘The help this project has provided our family is too great! This year, I already returned RMB400 that I borrowed from my son’s two aunties for his wedding! Now, my husband treats my sewing machine with particular care. When he hears that there is a slight problem with the sewing machine, he would rush over to repair, just like taking care of a child!’

China Yunnan HIV/AIDS Prevention and Church Mobilisation

Yunnan province of China is an area that contains a high number of HIV/AIDS cases. In the past years, CEDAR has mobilized many local church leaders to recognize the importance of integral mission. They became more aware of their responsibility to care for the poor in the community, including those living with HIV/AIDS and their families. CEDAR works with the local church so that the church leaders, seminary students and Christians will not only learn about integral mission, but also understand more about HIV/AIDS, enabling them to be able to express and demonstrate their love for the poor and needy in the community. In addition, the project includes opportunities to work with HIV/AIDS victims and their families in income generation activities, in hope they would escape from the bonds of poverty through increasing their income.

A widow and her two children live in a village in Yunnan. When the villagers discovered that her husband had died from AIDS, they began trying to force the family to move out of the village. After receiving news about this particular case, the local church pastor, who had taken part in CEDAR’s integral mission and HIV/AIDS training, visited the widow and her children with a few other brothers and sisters from the church. Their visit brought great joy to the family. Afterwards, the pastors not only corrected the villagers’ inadequate knowledge of the ways of HIV/AIDS transmission, but also, along with the church body, put their preaching into practice, paying frequent visits to that family – eating with them, helping them farm their land – and overall creating a wonderful testimony. As a result, the villagers gradually accepted the widow and her children. In addition, the pastors also assisted the family in seeking help from the local women group, receiving monthly subsistent funding to relieve them from poverty, and most importantly, allowing them to carry on living in the village with dignity.