Geng Liufen(China)

Geng came from a poor family in a village in Yunnan Province and had gone to work in Kunming soon after junior high school. There she met a man from Guizhou Province and married him despite his frank admission about the remoteness of his home. At first she would leave home to work in the cities but then had settled down after a few years. Then she decided she would to make a difference to the place little by little. The first task she did was to teach the village women to read and to do arithmetic. With her education level, she was also able to help the village take advantage of Oxfam Hong Kong’s poverty alleviation program, helping peasants to prepare micro-financing applications.

Yet the village men were against her for giving training to their wives. Her in-laws were also against her taking neuter surgery after the second child. When she became pregnant with the third child and went for an abortion, they were extremely upset. It was in her miserable state that she had come across the “Peasant Girl” magazine and she wrote a letter to the magazine with her story. The magazine then invited her to go to Beijing and joined the free 10-day training program for village women to operate businesses. After going back to the village, she had a fresh outlook to life and was more determined to make a difference. She also encouraged other young people to go see the outside world.

One major hindrance to development of the village was the lack of a proper road. With her determination and effort, she was able to appeal to the county leadership to put that on the agenda. By 2008 the road was built.

In 2010 she won the National Model Worker prize, one of only 3 rural women among the 3,000 award winners. She aimed to use the prize money to train the villagers on new farming and breeding techniques.

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