The Beautiful Villages Literacy Association visited the Miao village of Lisichong to help effectively increase the literacy rate for women in the village, to increase the value placed on literacy in each home, and to encourage children to focus on education and literacy. In addition to this, the association aimed to increase literacy and the perception of the value of education in the village in order to help reduce the gap that exists between students who receive a rural versus urban education, to help better the prospects that exist for the futures of the villagers, and overall to increase the culture of the people within the village.
The Miao Village of Lisichong is located in Ban Xiao He Community, Songhua Street, Panlong District, Kunming, and it is just more than 40 kilometers from the urban city. Despite there being such a short distance separating Lisichong Village from the city of Kunming, however, there are currently no college students in the village, and parents in the village are growing more and more worried about this issue; although they want to help their children, the village’s parents do not know where to begin tackling Lisichong’s education problem. In order to help provide a solution to this issue, Eco-Women joined together with the Panlong District’s Women’s Federation, the Yunnan Housewives’ Association, and the Songhua Street Women’s Association in order to hold an event for the villagers of Lisichong. It was hoped that this event would be beneficial to the people in the village by helping the children there to recognize the importance of learning, by inspiring the parents in the village to find ways to help their children live happy and healthy lives, and by encouraging the villagers to attach value once again to traditional Miao farming culture practices.
Writer Ning Yu Hua
The first guest from the Beautiful Villages Literacy Association’s to join the event was distinguished writer Ning Yu Hua. Ms. Ning participated in various event activities and shared some insight with the villagers. Her main message was focused on what kind of culture rural women should have in their lives. As she shared her experiences, Ms. Ning stated, “The head of the household is like an original and the children like copies,” thus, each person must conduct him or herself in a way that encourages the children to develop healthy study habits. Over time, the children will naturally be positively influenced by such a learning environment.” As support for this effort in increasing a focus on learning within the home, Ms. Ning recommended a book written by Taiwanese author Long Ying Tai: Kids, Come Slowly.
Luo Ji Tang and his great grandson read Kids, Come Slowly
Deng Qiong, chief editor of the Department of Education’s Newspaper Society
The second guest from the Beautiful Villages Literacy Association to participate in the event was Deng Zhu Bian. Ms. Deng mainly spoke on the subjects of childhood education and parent-child literacy efforts. Deng Zhu Bian explained that education at home and at school compliment one another; a solid study model at home will help children to feel happy when studying, and it can even lead them to want to study more on their own. It is only natural then that, if a family does not attach importance to an education, the opposite will occur. This led to the question of what kind of household education system is suitable for children. In response to this question, Ms. Deng stated, “First of all, you should think of you and your child as equals; don’t force your children to do things that even you don’t like to do. Second of all, you must learn how to become qualified parents; within the course of our lives, we are each naturally inclined to become parents, but we must understand how to do this in the best way for the benefit of our children.”
A mother and daughter reading together
Qing Dao Old House Renovations’ Designer Cheng Jiang
In Lisichong Village, one can see mud houses wherever he looks, and one can hear the people in the village talk about how, while all wealthy people now live in brick houses, they still live in seemingly run-down mud houses. Hearing these types of statements, Eco-Women worried that the villagers in Lisichong believed that their traditional homes are of no value. Thus, the third distinguished guest that was invited to this event was Qing Dao Old House Renovations’ Designer Cheng Jiang; Cheng Jiang aimed to encourage the promotion of the aesthetic of old homes and shared practices with the villagers for renovating old homes and displaying their meaningful objects in stylish ways.
After Qing Dao Old House Renovations’ Designer Cheng Jiang finished sharing various practices with the villagers, Cheng went with the villagers to the site of one of the homes in Lisichong Village and offered suggestions for how to renovate the home. Once the villagers listened to Cheng’s advice, the villagers felt more confident about their mud houses, and they believed that they could adapt their homes to be full of both beauty and comfort.
Mud houses within the village were not the only thing troubling the minds of the people of Lisichong. Each time that Eco-Women would bring up the subjects of growing hemp, weaving hemp, and other process related to the use of hemp, the women in Lisichong would, from time to time, say a few words of complaint: “Now, growing, peeling, and weaving hemp is too troublesome. Besides this, in this modern age, there aren’t many people who still wear this old style of clothing.” After the Beautiful Villages Literacy Association finished their visit to Lisichong, however, the villagers felt more confident and could see more value in their traditions. In particular, Long Xiu Fang stated that before, she believed that her skills had become obsolete, and she did not realize the value of her abilities. Now however, she has the strength and confidence to continue using them.
Written by Long Haiyan
Translated by Elizabeth Tong, a student from Princeton University interning at Eco-Women