ActionAid has been active in China since 1999, establishing a permanent office in 2001.
After flourishing economically and culturally for thousands of years, China experienced decline and stagnation in the 20th century. Now, thanks to market reforms, it has the world's fastest-growing economy. Although overall poverty is declining, there is a large number of poor people, mainly in the interior western provinces.
Meanwhile, changes to the state-run social security system have exposed vulnerable people, such as the elderly, women, children and disabled people, to unknown higher risks.
Equality and relief in China
We work with the poorest communities, including farmers in Hebei and Guizhou Provinces and migrants in Beijing.
An estimated 100-150 million people have moved from the countryside to the cities, and this trend is expected to intensify.
Yet migrants often experience poverty and social exclusion. We work to strengthen and develop the skills of networks and organisations working with minorities on education, cultural, forest and land issues.
Promoting women's rights is a core priority. We aim to build self-confidence in women and create space for them to become active in local public life.
ActionAid-funded activity centres in Beijing provide a space for migrant women to meet and form informal support groups, and to talk to experts on parenting and health issues. They also offer educational and play activities for children.
Ma Juying's ActionAid story
In May 2008 an earthquake registering 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan province, killing 87,000 people.
Ma Juying's home was seriously damaged in the quake. Her family were entirely dependent on a small plot of land, but the crops were frequently destroyed.
When Ma Juying's husband couldn't provide for his family he tragically killed himself, leaving her to support two children alone.
“I lost all hope after the earthquake and my husband’s death. We had no place to live and nothing."
ActionAid gave Ma Juying money to rebuild her house before winter came.
"Now government and Actionaid is helping us. We will rebuild our house and carry on with our lives again.”
photo : ©ActionAid.