During December 20-23 Shasha Wang, a consultant for VPP, visited all four bathhouses to assess their current condition and impact on the villages. Her input will be part of the annual report drafted by Matthew Li outlining the financial and social performance of each bathhouse in 2011.
Shasha Wang in Sanquan.
Engineer Cheng Guang of Kohler visited the bathhouses at Xifeng and Sanquan to inspect the water quality and supply. He reported on water usage, restrictions, specifications, and the different kinds of Kohler showerheads suitable for the VPP bathhouses. His visit is part of Kohler’s corporate social responsibility activity.
Cheng Guang of Kohler (on the left), Matthew Li, and Shasha Wang (on the right), visit Sanquan.
On December 22nd the hot water supply was successfully tested at the fourth VPP bathhouse currently under construction in the village of Sunjiacun. Zhu Pingyu, operator of the first VPP bathhouse in Maojiazhuang, came by to instruct how to operate the water system. Zhang Qinyan and Li Baosen are the operators of the Sunjiacun bathhouse, and will be trained by the other operators of the VPP bathhouses on management, maintenance, and services.
The trial opening of the Sunjiacun bathhouse is planned for Chinese New Year (January 23, 2012) with the official opening in the Spring 2012.
Li Baosen and Zhu Pingyu.
Sunjiacun landscape and village residents.
The 4th VPP bathhouse in Sunjiacun starts to look familiar.
In December 2011 Duan Jun and Zhang Yuchang of the architecture firm Deshin (located in Shanghai) visited the village of Shijiezi in Gansu province. For this village, which houses 40 families or so, the local water supply is a network of cellars that collect rainwater, along with a small hot spring at the bottom of the valley.
VPP and Deshin are looking into the possibility of constructing a mini-bathhouse while making the most efficient use of the areas natural resources. Water samples were collected by Deshin in order to test the quality of the water and a possible location for the mini-bathhouse was found in the village. Deshin will design a mini-bathhouse concept based on the local conditions.
Shijiezi is the hometown of the artist Jin Le who’s sculptures are installed in the village making it into an open air museum. Nearby is a daoist temple that is frequently visited by tourists.
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From Women to Women – The Role of Women in Developing Communities
Held at the UNICEF center in Beijing, the purpose of this event was for people from different backgrounds to share their experiences regarding enhancing women’s roles in their own communities. Marieke Reichwein addressed issues concerning the Village People Project’s Malidoulaixi Bathhouses, local entrepreneurship, and the lives of rural women.
Zhang Yanli, Program Officer, UNICEF
Xu Rong, Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women
Slide text: Suicide Prevention and Training Rural Women
Every year about 170,000 women in rural areas commit suicide. Nationwide about 287,000 people commit suicide. People attempting suicide amount up to 2 million. Suicide is ranking 5th in causes of death in China. The project partners in suicide prevention are Zhengding Township, Xindong City, Qinglong Township and Haixing Township.
H.E Kristin A Árnardóttir, Icelandic Ambassador to the Republic of China
Matthew Li with Alia Malik and Safi Malik, Co-founders and Directors of Shangrila Farms
Matthew Li and Marieke Reichwein met with Alia Malik, Co-Founder and Director, and Safi Malike, Co-founder and Director, of the social enterprise Shangrila Farms in Beijing. Shangrila Farms provides superior natural products while working to develop rural economies in China. We are looking into the possibility of having Shangrila Farms market and distribute organic products such as soap, essential oils and honey made in the villages where VPP is building bathhouses. www.shangrilafarms.com
Ms. Wu Qing of Rural Women invited VPP Co-founder and Director Marieke Reichwein to speak
at the Practical Skills Training Center for Rural Women. Along with Matthew Li, Marieke gave
a class on the social enterprise concept of the Malidoulaixi Bathhouse Project. The students were
two groups of 50 women from Jiangxi, Inner-Mongolia and Guangxi who were taking a course
on entrepreneurship especially customized for women from rural areas.
VPP is currently discussing the possibility of a joint effort with Rural Women for training women entrepreneurs from the areas where VPP is building bathhouses.
Rural women and entrepreneurship
Marieke Reichwein speaking at the Practical Skills Training Center for Rural Women
Chinese women participating in the Practical Skills Training Center for Rural Women