Leslie is Wokai's Marketing Director. She's in Beijing, listening to fireworks that have been blasting for more than 24 hours.
My dad just sent me this Associated Press article that describes the mood this Spring Festival in Yilong County, Sichuan. This area is of special interest to us, since we will soon start uploading profiles from our second Field Partner, the Association for the Rural Development of Yilong County.
Migrants find harsh homecomings in China
By ANITA CHANG Associated Press
Jan. 19, 2009, 8:05PM
“The factory just couldn’t move the merchandise. It sat there for three months. They said it was because of the financial crisis,” said Chen, a slight 37-year-old in a navy suit with the trouser legs rolled up to keep the hems out of the mud.
Chen, his wife and
a half-dozen relatives worked at the factory on China’s southern coast.
Now they’re all back in their rural village home earlier than expected
for the country’s biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year, with plenty of
time on their hands.
Particularly interesting to me was this passage, which specifically references Yilong County's demographics:
I think that microfinance provides people with the opportunity to make a living while staying in their rural hometowns. I can't wait to read the stories from our borrowers there. Zhangsheng, Wokai's Director of Partnerships, has told me some incredible stories about his visits with families that live on the tops of mountains, and borrowers that raise rabbits (like Zhuang LiPing pictured below.)
Also, I've found a handful of other New Year's related links that I'd like to pass along:
The Wall Street Journal shares an opinion piece by Lynette Ong from the Far East Economic Review:
The rural financial market in China serves the financial needs of 750 million farmers and a growing number of vibrant small -- and medium -- sized enterprises in a vast area covering 2,800 counties, 40,000 townships, and at least 400,000 villages. While it is traditionally not on the radar of profit-seeking investors, the recent market liberalization introduced by the central government is changing that. Competition is being introduced to the 35,000 rural credit cooperatives (RCCs) that monopolize the sector around the country, even though most of them operate inefficiently and carry huge nonperforming assets.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "In China, out-of-work migrants destablizing"
And Leigh Billings writes on China Crossroads, "2009 is the year of the ox…the hard-working animal that can only ring in an arduous year."
Here's to celebrating the value of hard work in 2009! Happy New Year, everyone!