Three-year vocational training as shortcut out of poverty for China's rural population

Updated 2018-02-10 14:16:01 Xinhua

Wang Yuanping, a peasant's daughter, was one of China's 43 million rural poor in 2016 with very limited prospects. Now, she is training to become a geriatric nurse in Beijing and expects to start work in 2019.

Working as a geriatric nurse in China's capital would guarantee her a salary of at least 3,000 yuan (474 U.S. dollars) per month, compared to a bare survival in the rural west below the national poverty line of 344 dollars per year.

Such a leap from poverty would take the 18-year-old three years and is quite a shortcut. It is the BN Vocational School that has given Wang this life-changing opportunity of a job in the city and a better life.

"I feel I'm very lucky," Wang said during a class break last December in the school located in the Wangjing area in east Beijing.

GLIMMER OF HOPE

In September 2016, acting upon the advice of a volunteer, Wang sought the help of the BN Vocational School in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. It is a long way from her hometown, a mountainous village in the neighboring province Gansu in western China.

A boarding school totally free of charge, the BN school is a charity and open only to poor youth like Wang.

Wang said that after her father passed away six years ago, the burden fell to her mother to support the family, which included her grandmother and a younger brother.

Wang's mother now gives her 200 yuan (32 dollars) each month. In the campus shop, Wang can also buy articles for daily use, including toiletries with the BN school coupons devised to reward the students' good performance.

"I can't spend all the money," said the rosy-cheeked teen, who was wearing a clean and dark blue BN uniform. "There are not many things I need to buy myself."

During her break after a German lesson, Wang also told Xinhua that she is studying the foreign language very hard. "I wish I could go abroad, mom would then be very proud of me," she said.

Once they have reached a certain language level, as many as four in her class can go to Germany for a half-year internship, said Zhang Li, head of the BN Beijing campus.

There are 18 students in Wang's class, coming from different parts of China. Their specialty, elderly care and nursing, also involves courses on traditional Chinese medicine and common geriatric diseases.

"I like being with old people, they can be very kind to you if you do something to help them," said Wang.

Her mother suffers from congenital heart disease, Wang added. "When mom is old, I will be able to take better care of her."

It is a long way from Chengdu to Beijing. Being among China's 14 million junior school graduates in 2016, Wang was lucky to become one of the 46 newcomers to the BN Chengdu campus. But it was not by chance that her whole class was transferred to the Beijing campus in 2017.

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