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Village Intellectual Leads Local Women to Progress in Life, Business
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2018-12-6-
Title: Village Intellectual Leads Local Women to Progress in Life, Business
Author: Xie Wen
Source: China Women's News
Release Date: 2018/12/4
Keyword: Village Intellectual, Local Women, Progress, Business

A community leader in a village in the city of Xingtai, north China's Hebei province, has been motivating locals to enrich their cultural and spiritual lives and contributing to local construction in recent years.

Fang Hongxia is a native of Beiyongan Village, where she is founder of the local Women's Home service center. She had a high school education and attended a technical school upon graduation.

She always liked reading from a young age and started to subscribe to newspapers and magazines in her youth.

In 2006, she was first exposed to the magazine Female Farmers and read many of its inspiring stories about rural women. She then recommended it to her neighbors.

Later that year, Fang spent 4,700 yuan, a large amount of money at the time, on her first computer, which was also the very first one in the village. Apart from breeding chicken, she spent most of her time on writing blogs and browsing online.

Under her influence, some women in the village also purchased their own PCs.

Because of her hobby of reading, Fang cleared out her living-room and established a female farmers’ book club after receiving the support from a nonprofit organization in 2009.

Women in the village would often come here to read or engaged themselves in instructive activities such as games, one-day tours, cooking competitions and debates.

Thanks to the book club, the local women were able to gain a wide range of  "first time" experiences in life, including trips on high-speed trains, flown on planes, visited Beijing and Yunnan, and went to study in Guangzhou, which has overthrown their previous thinking,  broadened their minds, and helped them accept the many ideas of public service.

In 2015, Fang was granted resources as part of a public welfare project called Family Bookshelves. In order to distribute the results in a fair and just manner, she organized villagers to register and participate in selection through messaging app WeChat.

In the end, eight families were singled out and each family was equipped with 100 books based on their age and the cultural level of their family members.

To better serve the community, Fang registered and established the Women's Home in June 2015. She has since engaged in applying for projects from foundations and public welfare organizations in the country to make practical actions for villagers.

Before long, she applied for aid from a women's reproductive health project which provided comprehensive free reproductive health checkups for 60 women of childbearing age in the village, and invited gynecologists to conduct free consultation and offer lectures.

She also participated in the organization of several training sessions on child safety and gave keynote speeches on domestic violence, as well as helping underprivileged families with donations of over 6,000 yuan.

During the past eight years, Fang has organized over 40 events, involving over 2,000 people to participate. The daily activities have covered five neighboring villages.

Moreover, Fang and other women have also contributed to the construction of rural revitalization. They printed sanitation improvement proposals and distributed them to each household; and decorated a 15-meter-long "environmental wall" to promote sanitation knowledge.

To help local housewives increase their incomes, Fang also invited experts who specialized in sprouting vegetables in Beijing to visit the village and impart planting techniques.

As the leader of the public services organization, Fang has tried every possible means to help local women obtain opportunities for training and learning tours. Through the study and training, women have greatly enhanced their abilities and actively participated in community construction.

Volunteer and member of the book club Yan Lifang has participated in training and various essay competitions. In March 2017, she was as appointed as a member of the County Poetry Association. She also organized a composition tutoring class to help children in the village learn to write.

Fang recently also went to Yunnan with several companions to participate in a four-day activity to learn about commercial product design, entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and rural revitalization.

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)
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