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Tibet’s poor build brighter future in new village

LHASA, March 1 (Xinhua) — Sanyou is not a traditional Tibetan village name. Translated as “three haves,” the name is shortened from “have health, house and jobs.”
The new village is along a plateau river in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. Its name reflects the heartfelt hopes of some of the poorest people living on the Tibetan Plateau.
Sanyou village is the first settlement for 712 people living below the poverty line in Tibet. They moved here last year from infertile land to seek jobs that will keep them out of poverty.
In 2006, the Lhasa government spent about 40 million yuan (about 5.7 million U.S. dollars) to build 184 houses on what used to be rocky land. Now the village is administered by Dagar township of Qushui county in Lhasa.
NyimaTsering is one of the members of the Party branch of the village. He takes charge of a dairy farm in the new settlement.
As the youngest son of a farmer, NyimaTsering used to live in a cramped house with his parents, sisters and their families. In 2000, he dropped out of high school when his oldest sister died, in order to take care of her sons.
“Disease cost my family a huge fortune. I’m a man, and it is my job to take care of them,” he said. Both of NyimaTsering’s parents are in poor health.
“I worked in the fields during farming season, and took odd jobs in the city, but no matter how hard I worked, the money I earned today would be used up tomorrow,” he said.
When an intense anti-poverty campaign started last year, the city government rolled out relocation solutions for poor families like NyimaTsering’s.
Sanyou’s residents came from 10 villages in Qushui county.
“Some people wanted to move into new houses, but many were hesitant at first,” said Mao Xin, head of Dagar township.
In order to dispell their doubts, many of the farmers were hired as workers to build the new settlement. “We let people build their homes, so they could be more emotionally involved,” said Mao.
NyimaTsering also participated in building the new houses and his dedication won the hearts of his fellow villagers and got him elected to the villagers committee.
Houses in Sanyou mostly have two floors with white walls, golden-lacquered doors, and a yard. The most spacious is 165 square meters and the smallest is 108 meters.
TashiDoje, 61, lives in one of the bigger houses with six family members. In almost all the houses, there is a buddha altar on the second floor.
TashiDoje sold his old house in his hometown and rented out his pasture land to a rich farmer. His family earned about 98,904 yuan (about 14,333 U.S. dollars) last year from farming and working at dairy and chicken farms in the village.
“Leaving the old home was not easy, but I didn’t have to spend a cent for my new house, and my children can go to better schools in the town,” said Tashi.
A clinic and a kindergarten have also been built in the new settlement.
Last year, about 130,000 people were lifted out of poverty in Tibet. More than 460,000 people are still living below the poverty line in the region.
NyimaTsering’s son was born at the end of last year at their new home. “I decided to call him TserePhurza, meaning intelligence and auspiciousness,” he said.
“We had five or six babies born in the new village last year, and I hope they will never have to experience poverty,” he said.

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