In order to break the cycle of poverty, there must be access to education and employment. Far too often, though, women living rural areas have access to neither. The reason for this is twofold. First, a lack of natural resources impedes economic development, particularly in the agricultural sector. It’s especially hard for local women to be provided with enough opportunities for work or chances to change their lives. Second, low-income rural women have little or no education or vocational training, leaving them ill equipped for employment in urban areas where opportunities are plentiful.
We’ve created an enterprise, pioneered an industry, initiated policies to ensure Employment with Dignity, and facilitated significant social changes.
(1) The First Step : A Sustainable Social Enterprise
The first step we took was in 2002, when we created the Beijing Fuping Vocational Training School. Catering to the burgeoning demand for domestic workers in cities and the corresponding job opportunties, the school offers free training to rural women from low-income areas. We further explores a way directly connected to the job market – a job replacement agency was born to directly find job placement for graduates from Fuping School. As a social enterprise, Fuping Vocational Training School broke even in 2005, gain the ability to be financially independent, and became sustainable since then.
(2) Within 14 Years, Helped 30,000 Rural Women Work with Dignity
Over the past 14 years, Fuping Vocational Training School has gradually evolved from a non-profit organization to a sustainable social enterprise. It has trained more than 35,000 women from low-income rural areas and helped them secure employment with dignity in the cities. The school’s success is the product of thoughtful planning, patient capital, and the spirit of innovation.
The 14-year Journey of Fuping Vocational Training School
Poverty Alleviation: Bridging the Gap of Opportunity
Fuping Vocational Training School operates on the simple but transformative principle that opportunity alleviates poverty. Our objective, therefore, is to empower rural women—through training and job placement—to take advantage of the myriad opportunities for employment that exist in urban households. In this manner, our graduates are able to improve the financial condition of their families and escape poverty through their own determined efforts.
Public-Private Partnership: An Initiation of Policy Advocacy
In meeting the challenges faced by China’s rural poor, Fuping Vocational Training School pioneered a new business model: private-sector enterprise supported by the government, also known as the public-private partnership. In practice, local governments recruit rural women from low-income families, provide them with subsidies and send them to Fuping Vocational Training School for training and job placement. This type of government and private sector cooperation has since been dubbed the Fuping Model.
The Fuping Model has had a powerful impact on the “housekeeping industry” and has served as a guide for policy implementation. In 2008, at the behest of Fuping Vocational Training School, the State Council launched the Housekeeping Service Project, which provided some 600 million RMB in annual subsidies.
Employment with Dignity: Leading Industrial Development
raining and job placement is only part of the process of improving the lives of China’s low-income rural women. It is equally important that they have a satisfactory work environment in which their safety is ensured and their rights upheld. Employment with Dignity is a phrase coined by Fuping Vocational Training School to highlight their efforts to foster favorable working conditions, including 63 days of paid leave, double pay for overtime and adequate insurance coverage. Active campaigning for both industry and government support has prompted Beijing’s registered domestic-services companies to honor the standards promoted by Fuping Vocational Training School, thereby engendering Employment with Dignity, and a healthy ecosystem for the industry.
Catering to the Urban Demand: Free Urban Women from Housework
As China has become more open since 1978, there have been fundamental changes in the way people live and work, particularly in urban areas. Incomes have risen, and there has been a corresponding rise in the demand for domestic workers. By helping low-income rural women satisfy this demand, Fuping Vocational Training School also makes it easier for urban woman—free from traditional household responsibilities—to fulfil their own employment aspirations. Fuping not only provided professional service to over 35,000 households in Beijing and continues to bring great, qualified service to more Chinese households, but also initiated policies change, led the housekeeping industry to a more mature development.
An Online Education Platform for Housekeeping Industry:
In the Digital Age, Enable the Underprivileged to Benefit from the Internet
An Online Education Platform for Housekeeping Industry:
he advent of the digital age has impacted almost every aspect of modern life. One of the most exciting changes is the ability to create highly effective communication channels that can be accessed by virtually anyone, which coincides with our goal to scale up the social impact. As a social enterprise with a future mindset and advancing thinking, Fuping seized the opportunities brought by the Internet age to enable more population to gain access to education and job opportunities at a lower cost. In late 2014, Fuping Vocational Training School launched an online education platform dedicated to the housekeeping industry.
addition to training courses, the platform offers employment guidance and vocational competence assessment, as well as links to employment agencies for domestic workers. Approximately 100 mini-courses are now available via Tencent’s online education service platform and Netease Cloud Class. The Fuping Vocational Training School platform further provides a forum on which domestic workers can communicate and share information. It strives to support the domestic workers to be immersed into urban life, and aims to drive the professionalism of the domestic industry. It is also home to an interactive learning community—Domestic Skills Gained Easy—that has more than 30,000 registered users. Looking forward, Fuping will join hands with industry associations and government authorities to promote this model nationwide.
Copyright 2017 Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation
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