Changing China: The Miao People's Dreams of Prosperity

Whilst China’s intense urbanisation led to the rapid, seemingly exponential growth of cities, development in the country’s rural areas remained stagnant, increasing the economic gap and creating a wider societal divide.

Mutual responsibility is the underlying essence of a fully sustainable and prosperous society. Thus China’s poverty alleviation strategies have been centred around the idea of shared development, whereby the benefits of modern progress can, should and will be felt by all.

These strategies are twofold - on a local level, urban areas are refocusing initiatives towards helping rural areas; on a national level, entire regions are cooperating, guiding and supporting one another.

Hunan is as diverse a region as any other, but it is home to several prefectures and villages that are shining examples of the potential outcomes from ‘shared’ thinking.

The combination of government support, independent organisations and volunteer schemes have established the foundations of prosperity for many of Hunan’s villages. But mutuality is a crucial concept in these strategies, transcending beyond the passive acceptance and expectation of help into a driven taking of responsibility by each individual within their own community.

Maximising each area’s unique resources supports the capacity for a stable industry, creating new jobs for villagers and their families, and, in turn, generating local income. A cyclical system of ‘reaping what you sow’ leads to a sustainable environment for further growth, in which communities continue the opportunities introduced and supported by organisations with their own hands.