I was born in Shibadong village, Huayuan county in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture of Hunan in 1996. The village, boasting green mountains and lucid water, once suffered poverty, distancing us from a well-off life.
It was in 2013 that the idea of “targeted poverty alleviation” was raised in our village and spread to the rest of the country, bringing drastic changes to numerous poverty-stricken villages. I’m also one of the beneficiaries.
Back in 2015, when I was about to take the college entrance exam, I hoped to major in art as a child who had always been enthusiastic about singing. However, my father passed away at the critical stage of my exam, which aggravated the economic burden of my poor family.
Fortunately, the targeted poverty alleviation policies enabled my mother to afford the education of me and my siblings. As a result, I had my dream come true – being accepted to Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, and paid the tuition with student loan.
The colorful college life opened a new door for me, a kid from a Miao village in west Hunan. I studied, practiced and opened my mind with great eagerness. After graduating in 2019, I found a job in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. However, I was so concerned about the development of Shibadong village that I always dreamed about it. Therefore, I decided to quit my job and start my own business in my hometown.
Given the increasingly fast internet in the village, which is fully covered by wireless network, as well as the banks and e-commerce service stations established there, I made up my mind to help villagers sell local specialties via livestream marketing.
At first, I felt huge pressure due to the unstable commodity supply, and the lack of capital and experience. Thanks to the guidance offered by the units for pair assistance and work teams for poverty alleviation, I showcased the sceneries, food, custom, architectures, and Miao embroidery of Shibadong village, and shared the stories of local farming. I soon gained popularity on livestreaming platforms and my village became known to more and more people.
I always receive compliments on the sceneries of my village when I’m doing livestream shows, and I have to say that the village indeed changed a lot, in a better way. The per capita income of the village rocketed to 15,000 yuan ($2,293) from less than 1,700 yuan in 2013, and the village also gained over 1.2 million yuan from collective economy projects. Villagers are not only running agritainment facilities, but also enjoying dividends from kiwi fruit orchards and mineral water business. As a resident in the village, I feel very happy and proud.
Today, as more and more young people are returning the village, I feel gladder about my choice back then. Shibadong village is a big stage for me. I believe that thriving countryside will lead to a thriving nation. The people of my generation will definitely inject vitality to Shibadong village, and contribute our own strength on the path to a prosperous life.
(Shi Linjiao is a resident from Shibadong village, Huayuan county in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture of central China’s Hunan province.)