Spring Bud Blooms | Jiang helping protect women, children's rights
Jiang Mei, a grassroots civil servant in Southwest China's Yunnan province, has made the protection of women and children's lawful rights and interests the focus of her life's work.
Jiang is a member of the staff of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Committee of Menghai County, in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
"The Spring Bud Project provided me with care and support, so I could continue my studies. Today, I want to pass on the warmth and kindness to more people. I am determined to do more for the public, offer assistance to more children and families in need, and contribute to the protection of the rights and interests of women and children," Jiang says.
Menghai is known for growing and harvesting Pu'er tea and high-quality rice. Jiang is from a mountainous village (with a picturesque natural environment) of the Hani ethnic group.
The locals have shaken off poverty in recent years, and have benefited much from growing rice and developing the local tea and other industries. In the past, however, they led difficult lives. Poverty and isolation, during her childhood, left a deep impression on Jiang.
At that time, both Jiang's family and her neighbors lived hand to mouth, by growing rice and tea. It was difficult for them to grow high-quality rice and tea, and it was hard to sell, due to the lack of convenient transportation infrastructure. Many villagers also preferred having sons over daughters. However, Jiang's parents were not influenced by that outdated belief. They always encouraged Jiang to study hard, and to leave the isolated village and go into the outside world.
Jiang always performed well in school, but her education was a huge financial burden on her family.
As recommended by her primary school teachers, Jiang joined the Spring Bud girls' class in 1996, when she was in fourth grade. The Spring Bud Project covered her schooling expenses.
Access to the project's support became a turning point in Jiang's life; for the young student, studying in the girls' class was a memorable experience.
Shortly before attending the classes, Jiang injured her legs, while celebrating a traditional festival of the Hani people, during her summer holiday.
The injury forced Jiang to walk with crutches for a long period of time. She recalls how her teachers and classmates did their utmost to help her cope with her difficulties, in both her studies and daily life.
"At that time, we lived in dormitories, and returned home during vacations and holidays. We were like a big family. Our teachers cared for us, just like our parents. We also received care and support from women's federation cadres, and from caring people from all walks of life," Jiang says.
The Spring Bud girls' class offered bilingual (local dialect and Mandarin) teaching, and special courses in embroidery, sewing, knitting and dancing, to promote the students' all-round development.
After she finished her studies, Jiang was admitted to college. She chose to return to her hometown and work as a rural teacher after graduation. Later, she passed the civil-servant exam, and became a cadre with the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC Menghai Committee. Strengthening the protection of women and children's lawful rights and interests in her hometown is one of Jiang's priorities.
Jiang has been widely involved in activities to promote the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women and the Law on the Protection of Minors, and has done her part to foster the mediation of marriage and family disputes, provide legal support to victims of domestic violence, assist disadvantaged children, and fight against illicit drugs.
Jiang says she is delighted China has adopted many policies and measures to protect the rights and interests of women and children, and that the nation's social-assistance system has been continuously improved, with the support of all segments of society. Jiang says she will do her utmost to spread love and care to more people in need.
Jiang Mei (second from left) talks with two ethnic-minority women during an activity to raise public legal awareness. [CCTF]
Jiang Mei [CCTF]