China | ActionAid UK


Xiaohui Wang, 16, previous pupil of Dayaozishui Primary School in Huai'an, Jiangsu, Eastern China.

ActionAid has been active in China since 1999, establishing a permanent office in 2001.

China 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 the elderly, women, children and disabled people to unknown higher risks. China has a growing rate of HIV infection.

What we do in China

We work with the poorest communities, including farmers in Hebei and Guizhou Provinces and migrants in Beijing.

It is thought than one in every five people in China’s largest cities is a migrant, often from a rural area. 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.

In 2011, we helped women in China become village leaders and promote their rights to freedom from domestic violence.


Pupils at Pidi Primary School, Hengxian, Guangxi, China


Through child sponsorship, ActionAid has been working to improve facilities at Pidi Primary School, in Hengxian, Guangxi. A new school toilet has been installed; it is connected to a bio-gas system; a school playground has been built, providing children with a nicer, safer environment in which to play; and a school library with 2,000 books has been established, providing the children with books for both study and leisure.

Photo: James Murrell/ActionAid

Who we help in China

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. 

ActionAid gave Ma Juying money to rebuild her house before winter came.

“I lost all hope after the earthquake and my husband’s death. We had no place to live and nothing. Now the government and ActionAid are helping us. We will rebuild our house and carry on with our lives again.” Ma Juying

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Photo: James Murrell/ActionAid