She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “Exercise my duty when on duty. Serve the people with the power assigned by the people”.
Xuebo Li – China
She works for The People’s Government of Chifeng City.
Since taking up her position as vice mayor of Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, Li Xuebo has developed a strong gender consciousness. She strives to find ways of helping poor women who live on poor land to increase their income. She encourages the women to be independent and self-supporting, and have self-respect. Her work has helped improved their living conditions and has enhanced their status.Li Xuebo of Han nationality is not a member of any political party. She graduated from the Liaoning Institute of Finance and served as an officer and deputy director in the Statistics Bureau, deputy director of the Rural Enterprises Bureau, vice-chairperson of the Political Consultative Committee in Chifeng City. Now she is the vice mayor of the Chifeng City government.
Located in south-east Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Chifeng is an underdeveloped area in which the Han people constitute the majority and the Mongolian people self-govern themselves. The City consists of 12 counties among which 8 fall in the list of poor counties identified by the central Government and 2 in the list of poor autonomous counties at the regional level. The population of the city is 4.6 million, with 512 thousand living below the poverty line. Among them, 342 thousand are women and children. Ever since she was appointed as vice mayor of Chifeng City in October 2001, Li Xuebo has been working hard to alleviate the poverty problem faced by the people and trying by various means to improve the quality of the infertile land.
Besides being the vice mayor of the City, Li is also director of the Women and Children Working Committee of Chifeng. She is whole-heartedly committed to women’s work and alleviating their poverty. She established new work mechanisms to do this, including small credit, exporting labor, soliciting relief fund for victims of natural disasters, establishing “hand-in-hand” groups, helping girl students go back to school, and so on., The mechanisms effectively helped women to alleviate poverty, and improved their living conditions and their status in the family and the society.
Li established an open concept of “making everybody an investment environment” and encouraged new ideas of development, human resources, and marketing. She changed the old attitude of “waiting, depending, asking for” to a new attitude of “finding rice for cooking” and “borrowing a ship for sailing”, which means actively making use of all the opportunities to contact and communicate with related organizations, local or overseas, so as to improve the development of women and children in Chifeng. In 2001, she managed to get the follow-up support for the “Poverty Relief and Women’s Participated Development” program funded by the UN Development and Planning Department. Based on this, she established the “Association for Sustainable Development of Chifeng Zhaowuda Women” and tried to alleviate poverty by means of small credits. This project later got support from the UN Development and Planning Department, the Japanese government, Bengali Rural Bank, and the German Renaissance Bank. By the end of June 2004, small credits with the value of 28.8 million Yuan had been provided to more than 8500 families, or 40 thousand people, and the loan-returning rate has stayed at 100%. It provides opportunities for poor women to participate in the market economy and in social activities. By means of participating in commodity exchange, women’s awareness in participating in family decisions is strengthened and their abilities to fight poverty increased resulting in the improvement of women’s status in family and society.
In order to help the women improve their income level and to activate the transfer of women labor from agricultural sector to non-agricultural sector, Li consults many people and makes concrete plans. She requests officers from different districts to export labor power, train women, and promote an open economic environment as strategic tasks to alleviate women’s poverty. At the same time, she gives full support to these tasks in terms of financial resources and policy setting. From 1999 to 2004, the Women’s Federation of Chifeng has exported labor service of 12,000 persons, who have become an important force in promoting self-development of rural women.
In addition, Li pays special attention to the education of girls. She insists all the areas and related departments help poor girls to go to school and this is considered an important means to implement the Plan for Children’s development in Chifeng City, and to protect the legal rights and interests of women and children. Many times, she participates in the relevant activities in person, stresses the requirement repeatedly, and states that it is the responsibility of the whole society to care about and to support children. In 1994, Chifeng City launched a fund-raising program called the “Spring Bud Plan”. Up to June 2004, a total of 5.3 million Yuan donations have been raised by different levels of the Women’s Federation in Chifeng from local and overseas sources. As a result, more than 9000 girls who had quit school or were about to quit school received subsidy and continued their education. This has not only protected the girls right to education, but also aroused the concern and sense of responsibility for the society at large.
“Concerned with women wholeheartedly, getting rid of poverty with wisdom” can be a summary of what Li wants to pursue in women’s development work. What makes her feel regretful is her neglect of her own family’s needs because she has been too involved in work for a long period of time. In addition to that, her physical health is deteriorating because her life has been so busy and tiring. Several times she fell sick while traveling. However she never regrets taking up this position. Her greatest motivation is to create an environment in which both women and men can develop themselves equally, Whenever she faces difficulties and pressure, she thinks of those women who desperately need her help. She always evaluates the performances of different departments by their achievements in the development of women and children. (1000PeaceWomen).
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