The Manchu embroidery workshop was established in Baiyinchangyingzi, a village in Fumeng, a county in Fuxin, a city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, in December 2018. To the local villagers, being an worker in the workshop means decent work, stable income and acquisition of skills and knowledge. Since its establishment, women in the village have increased their monthly income by an average of 1,500 yuan (US $217.98) to 2,500 yuan per person.
Rural women who used to do farming and home work are now inheritors of Manchu embroidery, an intangible cultural heritage. They make Manchu embroidery every day, which not only increases their income but also makes their lives more meaningful and harmonious.
The changes to their lives were made by Lin Xue, Deputy Director of the Creative Research Department of the Liaoning Writers Association, who was dispatched to work as an official in the village to help the villagers escape poverty. Lin found that many young people in the village had migrated to cities for work, while the elderly people, women and children are left in the village.
Women have a lot of time to stay at home with nothing to do after they finish their farm work. Thirty-four-year-old Sun Yanmei hoped that young village women like her would be able to find jobs near their home so that they could not only earn some money but also take care of their families.
In September 2018, Lin and a Shenyang-based company Shengjing Manchu Embroidery Group signed a cooperative agreement to set up a Manchu embroidery workshop in the village. Manchu embroidery is one of the imperial embroideries during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and it was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.
The workshop was finally established at the end of 2018. Three villagers were dispatched to Shenyang to attend a 10-day training program, and then they taught the embroidery skills to 27 women in the village.
Before the Spring Festival in 2019, they had completed their first batch of embroidery products and been paid. They were happy that they had meaningful work to realize their individual value and to earn money to alleviate poverty.
Han Guixia's husband suffers from serious illness. The high medical expenses made her family slide into poverty. Thanks to the workshop, Han now earns 1,500 yuan every month to ease the burden on her family.
Not long before, several female villagers taught the skills of the Manchu embroidery to the women villagers in Hadahushao Town, enabling more women to benefit from the skill.
"The Manchu embroidery workshop plays an important role in targeted poverty alleviation. By October, our village will build a 250-square-meter workshop to let more women earn money at home," said Ma Chaocheng, the head of Hadahushao Town.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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