After driving for four-and-a-half hours from Rongshui on unpaved mountain roads, one might find themselves in Liangsong Village. Dogs and chickens roam freely on the dirt roads. The women wear traditional Miao clothing – with bright colorful leggings and patterned blouses. The elderly men smoke tobacco out of a long wooden pipe. It is a different world entirely than the economic booming cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The modern economic success of China has yet to reach the 78 families of Liangsong. This village, like many in this area, is made up of farmers. When looking at the vast valley that lies beneath Liangsong there are rice fields as far as the eye can see. However, nowadays the available farmland is quite limited. It is estimated that there is only 320 square meters per person, which yields very low profits. The lack of available land, as well as the isolated geographical location of Liangsong makes it one of the 13 poorest villages in Rongshui autonomous county. The average annual income per individual is between $250 and $300 which is significantly below the poverty line. The ethnicity of Liangsong is Miao which is a minority group in China. The Miao have a distinct appearance, culture and language that is considerably different than that of the Han Chinese.
The problems that the people of Liangsong face are many. One is the immense number of Miao adults that have vacated the village to seek more profitable factory jobs in Guangdong province. Because of this, the majority of the village is made up of children and the elderly. Another major need is education. Many of the families are unable to afford to send their children to school. The government of China actually offers free schooling and three meals a day for
children, however the government does not provide money for transportation. In isolated regions, such as Liangsong village, the nearest school can be up to an hour away by car and three hours by foot and so many children stay at home.
However, the greatest threat to the livelihood of the people is the lack of clean water. The people draw water from a ravine that is 1.2 kilometers away. This water source is clean enough for drinking except during the rainy season where landslides cause the water source to become dirty and discolored. Between the rainy months of March and August, Liangsong is extremely vulnerable to sickness and disease.
The piping system that is currently being used for water is an equivalent health risk as the contaminated ravine. Because of the cold climate during the winter, much of the polyethylene (PE) piping freezes over which causes cracks. In order to reduce the waste of leaking water the people replaced the PE pipes with rubber tubing. These rubber tubes were formerly used for irrigation in the rice fields and are filled with pesticides and cancerous agents. This problem needs to be addressed promptly in order to avoid further harm for the people of Liangsong.
A mountain that is 3.4 kilometers away from Liangsong has a fresh water spring that could be the answer to the water crisis. A reservoir is needed to collect the clean water, along with 3,400 meters of new PE piping. The total cost of this project is $14,600. The people of Liangsong have pooled $3,300 of their own finances together to contribute to the construction of this project. China Care International would need to pay for $11,300 to make clean water a reality. Something as simple as pure water can instantly improve the livelihood and productivity of Liangsong. This project would not only give the people fresh water but also benefit the livelihood, productivity and economic development for generations to come.