Populous province explores ways to pull disabled people out of poverty

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/3/14 22:47:27

Sickness can mire a whole family in a loop of poverty. This is often the case in China, especially in rural areas.

Nie Keyang has one such story. Nie, 21, is a native of Daluli Town, central China's Henan Province, one of the country's most populous provinces. His father became paralyzed after falling at a construction site three years ago. Nie and his mother have been taking care of him at home ever since.

The family has been struggling to survive, relying on their savings and harvests. It was not until 2016 when a disability care center opened in town that the whole family felt hope again.

"My father is now at the center, while my mother is hired as a carer there. I can finally go out and work. I make 3,500 yuan (553 U.S. dollars) a month and just got married," he said.

The center Nie's father attends is in Shangcai County, which has 68,931 residents living under the poverty line (per capita annual income of 2,300 yuan), and 11.3 percent are people with disabilities. In some areas, the ratio can hit 17.8 percent.

To help them, local authorities started setting up disability care centers in 2016. The first 16 centers were set up that year, housing 257 people with severe disabilities. Another 16 centers were established last year, with services now covering all 26 towns in the county.

The centers mainly serve local residents registered as poor and disabled, who have lost the ability to take care of themselves, or people whose family have difficulties looking after them.

"We have care centers both in towns and villages. Centers in town that were idle wards are renovated. In villages, unused collective-owned construction land or village clinics are taken to build the centers," said local official Wang Hao. "Qualified applicant can choose the nearest ones to stay at."

Building a care center in a town costs 150,000 yuan, and 120,000 in a village. All the projects are funded by government subsidies and donations. The government also pays for medical expenses of the people at the centers and provides a living allowance of at least 30 yuan per person every day.

Nursing workers and chefs at the centers are selected from residents registered as poor. Chen Nyu, 58, has been working as a chef at a care center since May last year. Her husband is mentally ill and their daughter is attending junior high school. She and another chef prepare three meals for 16 patients and eight carers at the center, each making 2,000 yuan a month.

Over the past two years, about 300 households were pulled out of poverty in Shangcai County thanks to the centers, with 249 families with disabled members benefiting.

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