It’s been more than five years now, we Indians are waiting for our ‘acche din’. The story of the last five years are full of expectations and dashed hopes. But it seems our neighbouring country, China has got their ‘acche din’ and thanks to yoga. Read on to know the story of Yugouliang – a village in China which has adopted ‘yoga’ as a novel approach to fight poverty.
Yugouliang is situated in Northern China’s Hebei province, around 300 km northwest of Beijing. The village is home to less than 100 residents, mostly senior citizens, elderly and handicapped as the younger generation has left to cities for work. The main source of income here is farming. The lack of natural resources and low groundwater level, the village did not see any investment projects. And most of the money they earned would be spent on healthcare.
According to Inkstone News, the villagers grew potatoes and buckwheat as their main source of food, but a good harvest largely depends on the weather. Income used to partly come from herding, but the government limited the practice more than a decade ago to protect the receding grasslands.
52-year-old Lu Wenzhen was appointed by the Communist Party in 2016 to study poverty factors in the village and find the way for the villager’s financial growth. According to The Travel, Wenzhen once observed a woman in her sixties sitting cross-legged for about half an hour on a kang – a stone bed in the Northern Chinese countryside. And this was a eureka moment for him and thus he came up with the idea to introduce yoga to farmers. He convinced them that it will help them to improve their health and as a result cut down on their medical bills. He took the help of online tutorials and later took yoga classes for villagers. To entice the villagers, he bought yoga mats and gloves and also painted figures doing yoga asanas along with slogans on the walls all around the village. He also gave freebies to those who participated in the sessions. He also helped them to turn the village into a rural getaway town. To generate a source of income, he helped them to grow and sell organic food such as quinoa.
According to Inkstone News, by 2020, China is determined to build a society free of extreme poverty. In the past three decades, the country has already lifted an estimated 70 million people out of poverty by way of urbanisation and industrialisation.